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Husband has been insanely busy, and so my half broken website is still half broken. I can't manage the sidebars or back end and updating is a massive chore. It's totally not his fault, but it is reality.

Hopefully it will get fixed in the near future but in the meantime I'll give an update. On the weight front there wasn't a ton of progress, mostly due to the normal discipline issues, travel, poor choices, stress, and the fact that what takes weight off most people doesn't work great on me. No big deal though, because I've pretty much hit equilibrium on the weight, while regaining my diet mojo to try again. Yay! This is only complicated by one thing - I'm actually 17 weeks pregnant with baby #6. Double yay! So I'm eating well this pregnancy and my weight gain has been around ten pounds from pre pregnancy, give or take a few pounds depending on the day I weigh.

On the activity front I've been struggling like I have since my adrenal issues began. The good news is that my body HAS been healing. With bedrest, sleep, eating plenty and not really dieting hard, plus keeping lifestyle stress triggers low, I've been handling this pregnancy much better than the last and haven't had my body crash. I'm still not well and it will be many years before I am, but I'm not making things worse. One of these days I'll talk about my baby thoughts and where we are at on future pregnancies, if there will be any, but I'm not debilitated in a way that precludes the possibility which is one of the things we were trying to determine this time around. I may be done for completely different lifestyle reasons but I'm SO grateful my body is holding up and I am managing despite being a whole lot fatter and sleepier than is ideal.

In my credit, I got on my bike again for a ride this summer, and did my first full ttap workout in two years, since all this began. I need to do many more to gain back some strength for giving birth but it's another step in the right direction.

Weight and diet discussions I will save for another day when this blog is repaired. But I am doing VERY well and am happy, despite not being back down to where I'd like to be. We are super busy with some work issues for my husband and the activities for the kids, but it's all good things, just very time consuming. So if and when this blog goes dark for a time and finally gets repaired it WILL be back up, and I have not gone missing due to problems with my weight or health (contrary to a comment or two from the peanut gallery ;) ). When this is functional again I look forward to deeper discussions and recording of my progress during pregnancy and beyond. I am very proud of myself and what I have achieved over the last eight years, and you haven't heard the last from me.

Until then!

taryl | General | 3 August, 6:14am | 38 comments

On spinning my wheels:

On November 26th I was 234.4.

On January 26th I'm still 234.4.

How ironic.

I didn't spend all this time standing still, I bounced down to 232 and back up to 240. Some weight has definitely stayed gone, so real fat has been lost, but my progress is weak at best. I'd love to fault the diet like I did a few nights ago in a huff, bu truthfully I departed from plan on Thanksgiving and Christmas, had a few small cheats around New Year, and many days where I think my calories may have just been too high despite my very low carb. It's depressing to have to eat super low carb AND keep my calories down in the 1800 range but that's how I lose. I don't lose when I don't do that.

Two months of spinning my wheels because I wasn't strict enough and dedicated enough is obnoxious. I was on plan, as a percent of both time AND food, 98% of the time. And yet those measly two percentage points shot me in the foot and nearly invalidated all my other effort. I could get away with it five or eight years ago when I first tried this. But my body now, with its assorted health problems and issues, can't tolerate those deviations anymore. I know how to maintain my weight which is what I've been doing lately, but to lose I'm really going to have to give it 100% effort. Okay, fine. I can work with that.

I've been on plan the last two days again with zero deviations. Well, one - I know I do better when I can have some salty sunflower seeds as a movie snack, but it's abou 1.5 grams of carbs and 70 calories so I allow it and it doesn't stall me. I'm still watching artificial sweeteners in everything but my coffee and trying to not overdo the protein, fasting part of the day, and getting in light exercise. I have to do all this while staying on less than 20 grams of net carbs (and less than 35 total carbs) and 1800-ish calories to see decent weight loss. Okay, fine. I can work with that.

My period is over and my weight is drifting downward again now that I'm not bloated which is cheering, but to get back below 234.4 and onward into the 220's I'm going to have to be perfect. Progress is okay but it doesn't advance the scale - the occasional cheat or high calories works for maintenance and is way better than throwing in the towel, but to actually lose its all in. All in *does* work for me and it's about all that I can do - an honest assessment of my habits and history over the last few months shows I can achieve slow weight loss if I am diligent on induction and move around. Maybe there will be no OWL for me this time. That's a mentally fatiguing thought that so is staying here obese again after several years of the good life with size 12-14 clothes, easy mobility, and energy. I loved being even smaller than that but 160 is still a better weight for me than 175, and 145 was fabulous.

I will never see that again if I insist on wheel spinning. Thus, today I'm planning another perfect day.

taryl | General | 26 January, 7:47pm | 113 comments

Just checking in. I've been on plan except thanksgiving day and a day on either side of it - I'd planned to get right back on but had weakness for that last slice of fruitcake. I'm back to 25 net carbs and watching my calories too, hoping to break past 232 where I have been stuck. My weight actually bounced higher and hasn't gone back down since thanksgiving but I'm not stressing, it will get there. So I'm down 10-12 pounds and have 90-ish to go. It's progress nonetheless.

Life is still crazy busy but improving with the kids being done with their co op. I'm in my final two weeks of classes and cannot wait to be done there, too! As my schedule frees us I'd like to commit to more activity as it was a huge fail this November. I need to be working out 4 days a week and I'm currently at 0! Whoops. It is part of what is slowing down my weight loss, I really need some activity to keep my metabolism from crawling. Little guy also weaned so I'm having to adjust my calories back downward since I don't have the extra burn from nursing helping out anymore.

Yesterday was completely, 100% on plan for carbs and calories. I'm doing the same today! Focusing on giving it my absolute best with nothing bending the rules. I'm allowing a protein shake if I can't have a proper breakfast but that's about it! I'll check in soon :)

taryl | General | 30 November, 6:28pm | 60 comments

For those who are familiar I had been in the middle of Marie Kondo's book and decluttering my house. It's not bad for being a shoebox with seven people living in it, but with all the school supplies, craft items, computer equipment, snow gear, etc, it's an ongoing challenge to keep things restful and functional. I'm one of those people who is mentally unsettled by clutter and needs a tidy space to work best. Not clean and neat as a pin, but everything needs to have a home.

I had worked through my clothing, shoes, makeup, and kitchen, then got so busy I had to stop for six weeks. Now I've been able to continue and tonight decluttered my craft stuff 90% of the way - I have two boxes left that I ran out of time to do. I also straightened and rearranged some things in the main living space to make them more functional.

Can I say how much lighter I feel?! It's such a good feeling of working hard and accomplishing things. My home feels better and works better for me. Yes - it needs remodeling badly and has been lived in hard for the twenty years it has been around. Not just our family but the two before us - it is showing wear and age and the value of it for living in AND selling will be improved by getting these projects done as money becomes available. But even spending NO money, but carefully decorating and tidying what we already have, makes such a big difference in how I feel about our space. I see the good things instead of just the things that bug me.

I'm looking forward to doing more tomorrow.

taryl | General | 8 November, 9:34am | 36 comments

So I had an issue today that looked a lot like a fail but was really me winning. I was eating the topping off a pizza slice and took a small bite of crust the cheese was stuck to. Then I felt that pull of temptation and took another bite.

I paused while chewing, practically uttered "No, I won't do this to myself" aloud, and walked right over to the trash and spit it out. Then I finished my toppings, tossed the rest of the crust, and moved on. So technically I ate a bite of pizza, but you can see why I'm so happy with myself for halting that bus and turning it around before things got serious.

I know this intellectually but it was so clear in the moment that I wasn't cheating anyone but myself. A small part of me wanted all the pizza. But it was overwhelmingly drowned out by the part of me that is dying to be healthy and slender and remain free of cravings.

Over the past few days I've had a bite of cottage cheese and three bites of roasted carrot (herbs, salt, and duck fat). I didn't scrape the minute amount of ketchup off my bunless burger from a fast food joint, and had too much cream today because I had a second coffee. But other than these little life things I've been 100% on plan. Out at dinner last tonight, cooking for my family, stressed and on the road - I've done it. I am totally committed and even when I have an off plan moment like the pizza or checking the carrots I was going to feed my family, I just circle right back around on plan and keep going. I'm rereading the book again and have been struck by how much I am really ready to get back on the lifetime train I was on before this health nonsense. I thought I was getting what I wanted in eating icecream or fries but it gained me nothing but brief satisfaction and a whole lot of grief. I sincerely and deeply hope that this sticks with me this time. I've tasted the bottom end of my weight and the bitterness of giving that up - some my fault, some totally beyond my control. Now that I know I'm not invincible and it's really not worth it I'm committed to doing maintenance better this time and staying there for good. I'm totally driven.

I've been doing my hoedowns for a light workout and logging my food. My scale is still firmly put away until this scale challenge concludes. I'm all in, 100%, and I'm fighting for it this time - I let go of my hard work way too easily. I got tired. But I was deluded to think it was somehow rewarding to crush my own half decade of work and think I was doing myself a favor.

And every time I want to bite that pizza, I am going to remind myself of exactly what I'm fighting for.

taryl | General | 6 November, 8:57am | 33 comments

This is the intro I copied on my journal on the Atkins Diet bulletin board (ADBB). I decided to get more support on a journal community, but I'll copy and paste pertinent posts here as well, to preserve my intellectual property, if nothing else! It's also a great bookend to the previous journey. I've started again and been successful, finally. I'm going to be redoing my website soon and archiving all these older posts. So to catch back up from the beginning, here is a summary of where I am now and where I came from.

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Brief summary, I began losing weight in October 2008 at a high weight of 270, after my second child was born. It was a long, slow process with two other pregnancies in the middle but I ended up at a low weight of 145 in May 2014, when I conceived my fifth child.

Bam! Kaplow! Health collapse. The other babies, even the ones when I was morbidly obese, were never more than 20-35 pounds of weight gain. This kid was 70. I was 200 after he was born and subsequent allergies, medications, and hormonal issues bumped my up to 235 fairly quickly. Some of it was me - I had been losing my diet mojo for several years before that. You know the point - where you're not excited anymore but just doing it anyway, struggling with yourself. I ate a little off plan throughout the pregnancy. Normal and healthy according to my midwives, but I have to be low carb to keep weight off and I did the healthy carb nonsense instead. Not beyond 50-75 grams per day, but being so highly weight reduced and having (though I didn't know it at the time) totally crashed adrenals made that a recipe for disaster.

Baby is now ten months old. Allergies and major symptoms are under control again. And after months of trying and failing for a million reasons I'm back on plan, no excuses, doing an extended induction.

I've made a fair ways. I think I'm on day 16 or somewhere in that neighborhood. I've been bang on plan except exercise and am working that in from here on out as much as I can. It's tough with my issues since rest is paramount, but I can work in small things.

I restarted this first at 200, then again here at 242.5. Believe it or not I was mostly on plan the whole time. Allergies and steroids were the main culprit. But I think we have them under control. Last I weighed I was 234.8 or somewhere in there. That was over a week ago. I'm dying to weigh in but slightly concerned as I feel no difference (some of my pants are actually tighter, despite my face looking thinner). It's ridiculous. But I'm doing it even if it is slow. I'm so mad I can barely see straight, if I'm being honest. I worked SO hard for years and was normal. A size eight. Not quite to goal but surpassing all my original hopes and dreams. And I lost that within months. I'm back to where I was in 2009 and it's not even my fault. I became allergic to almost all the low carb care I'd eaten for several years prior. It was terrible. It all feels so unfair.

I've taken that anger and used it as motivation. I found my mojo again. I'm completely, 100% dedicated and will NOT be thwarted.

And that's the end of my introduction and the beginning of this journey. Again. Please oh please let it not take another five years!

taryl | General | 4 November, 12:21am | 26 comments

I can't weigh in, but I see wrinkly skin on my lower abdomen again. That always happens when I lose and it looks worse for dozens of pounds before it looks better (one of those things that didn't improve until 150 pounds or so).

But whether a certain pair of pants feel tight or I'm having a fat day, I know that eating on plan and faithfully logging my food WILL work, however slowly. Even without the scale this is proof. So I'm happy about it for today :)

taryl | General | 4 November, 12:20am | 25 comments

I'm doing it. I am.

I'm in the zone, enjoying staying the course and working each day to be as on plan as possible. I've faced down numerous temptations that have felled me over the last year and beaten them.

I'll check in with my weight progress tomorrow, but I am very proud of myself and had to write about my victory. Ring doesn't fit yet, but I am closer every day.

taryl | General | 25 October, 8:29am | 27 comments

Well, this post implies I've been on plan since I last posted. Yes, I have. And no, I haven't. Good days and bad. But now I am finally getting my head around this again and really focusing on my reasons why.

In honor of that, my first goal is a reason why I'm losing weight. My resized, smaller wedding ring doesn't fit again. I had several days where I couldn't remove it at bedtime, and now cannot slip it on at all. So I'm wearing a cheap gold band in place of my beautiful, $27,000 custom made ring.

No. I refuse. I'm going to be perfectly on plan and meditate on each bite, I'm going to focus on my fish, my veggies, and my exercise. I'm doing my EFT (more details on that another day).

That damn ring WILL fit on again, and probably in under two weeks. And I'll post a picture when it does. I have a ring on, but I miss *my* ring. I will not let a damn brownie keep me from it.

taryl | General | 19 October, 7:45am | 24 comments

Hey everyone! I'm still here, still trying daily to succeed, and still fighting weight. My internist decided I wasn't crazy and prescribed me Metformin to sensitize my tissues to insulin again, because my blood sugar is good and my insulin is good but my appetite is through the roof and I'm still putting on weight. I'm sitting in the 230-232 range by the skin of my teeth because I've been working my butt off at adhering to my food journal.

I'm also having some really troubling symptoms like whole body aches and muscle weakness (can barely get up the stairs, can no longer lift a sewing machine easily, almost collapsed getting out of a booth, etc). Now, obviously gaining 90 pounds over my weight last year is contributing to some of the tiredness, but this is ridiculous. These symptoms can be indicative of issues with my cortisone dose and thyroid levels, so I'm thinking of getting them retested and having deeper investigations done by my primary care doctor. I've also been half-assing my diet, primarily from cravings - it's better than it was, but still needs improving.

Instead of poking at low carb and whole foods, I'm all in. If I crash and burn I'm right back on the horse the next day. I'm doing Atkins Induction without veggie limits until Christmas. No excuses. No breaks. And if I'm still above 200 pounds I will investigate weight loss surgery to manage this. I feel like I'm in a prison of fat again, and thankfully I'm not back at my high weight but it is just too much. Way, way too much.

Still aiming for fish every day and nearly succeeding, as well as dark leafiest. Exercise got lazy with my husband's hectic schedule but I'm back with that, too. If I'm not cycling I'm doing ttap. Current drug regimen is armour thyroid, hydrocortisone, metformin, low dose naltrexone, properly methylated B-12, iodine, and a bunch of other supplements I haven't been consistent enough at taking.

The only allowable modification I am doing with my Atkins is letting myself have a Gc control shake with breakfast, because it satisfies sweet cravings and fills me up when I'm in a hurry. That and hard boiled eggs are a fine breakfast.

I'm totally fed up. Done. I'm redoing other areas of my life too, between going back to college and Konmari-ing my clothes and other possessions. I am starting to have bizarre symptoms, still feel exhausted, am behind the ball, and getting fatter. I'm also fed up. *IF* I'm going to be battling these things I'm not going to let it be because my own basic daily dirt compliance is lacking. I need to remove that stumbling block because I have enough of a mess to worry about without it!

taryl | General | 10 August, 6:19am | 20 comments

As for me, I did well today! I had a bunless burger at Carls but did indulge in a few onion rings :) Everything else today was on plan and I got my whole checklist done! Leafy green for dinner (fried collard greens), fish for dinner (sardines with brown mustard, SO good), exercise (went on a nice bike ride and got my heart rate up for thirty minutes, but it wasn't insano like my previous ride).

Patting myself on the back today :)

I hope you ladies had a great one, too. Staying on plan is one good choice at a time, and a less health promoting choice doesn't undo every solid decision you make. Don't fall for the lie that if one tire is flat you must slash the other three - just get back on track and keep going.

taryl | General | 25 June, 6:12am | 24 comments

Green leafies: LC creamed spinach, check. Fish: tuna salad and salmon burgers, check. Fish for two meals! Exercise: An hour bike ride, about five miles, half of which was hills. It was pretty challenging and I ended up walking my bike the last hundred feet of a mile long steep incline, because my legs gave out. Check!

I'm awake in bed for some unknown reason after being so tired I needed a mid afternoon nap. Maybe I have to be careful about exercising too close to bedtime? Either way, it is a route I'll definitrly do again as it is close to home and fairly varied terrain. Off to try sleeping (with the grunting, kicking baby not cooperating in his crib).

taryl | General | 22 June, 9:28am | 30 comments

It deserves reporting. I was on plan earlier in the week, had a day where I slipped up and ate too many graham crackers and peanuts, and then went right back on plan today. I'm still not perfect - I really need to get very close to Atkins Induction to quickly take off this weight that is sapping my self confidence and energy, too, but I am working my way there a little at a time. Low carb food choices and minimizing treats is my goal right now, and I made it.

I'm going to do it again tomorrow.

In other good news my husband reconditioned my bike and put new tubes on. I went on a bike ride for the first time in three years yesterday. It was nine o clock at night and I still did a few miles and several good hills. My butt was killing me today, but I did it.

My goal, which I will keep, is to never go more than a day without exercise of some sort. Swimming, cycling, or Ttap. Today I meant to go and ended up staying home with my husband. Fine, that's one day. That means tomorrow is non negotiable for activity. Same with diet - that's how I kept the weight down and maintained for so many years. If I went off plan I was right back on the very next day, no excuses. From pregnancy onward I made too many exceptions, too many excuses, just plain put my head in the sand and didn't care. That factor I could control, combined with all the health problems I couldnt, was the death knell for my weight. My health is what it is, but my food and activity are MINE. It might be slow going at times, but I a, reclaiming those for me and my children.

I've had my break and indulged all my cravings for months. I've had my medically restricted diets and food avoidances. I still have a crazy list of low carb foods I simply cannot have, and must rotate regularly, because of my allergies and intolerances. Okay, I'll work with that. I have to.

Another positive goal I am setting, non negotiably, is green leafy veggies for lunch or dinner. I like them and try to eat them anyway, but getting in a big serving at one meal is so good for my body which needs nutrients badly. It also fills me up and is hard to overeat. I can do one per day, and that goal being easy and one I've attained frequently even to this point helps to make me feel successful.

Another positive habit I want to form is eating fish for one meal per day. I'm sensitive to dairy, nuts and eggs, and outright allergic to shellfish. I'm mildly allergic to beef, chicken, pork, and turkey, but my allergist okayed me for adding those back in carefully and seeing if I have any reactions. So far I've had chicken and seem to be feeling fine, but pork might be dicey. Either way, to limit my consumption of those potential problem foods I eat lots of fish, but must be SUPER careful of cross contact and contamination with shellfish so I don't need epinephrine. I've had a few previously safe fish brands that I've ended up reacting to. But fortunately with sardines and frozen fillers of mahi mahi, salmon, trout, tilapia, and halibut the cross contact potential is very low. I eat a lot of sardines, but my goal is to expand my regularly consumed fish to more frozen recipes to diversify what I'm eating and lower the chance of me gaining allergy or sensitivity issues to sardines. Not to mention, fish is kind of awesome for me. I'm aiming to have fish, and mores hopes than just sardines, at either lunch or dinner. This is another easy goal I'm already hitting most days, but I'm making a concerted effort to do it EVERY day.

These positive habits are ones I want to keep regardless of what the rest of my diet or activity looks like. Baby steps and building blocks to set me up for success. I got complacent and dropped so many of my home court habits (a la Summer Tomato, Darya is bang on correct on this point) it's high time to start cultivatjng them again as part of a lasting healthy lifestyle change. It won't solve all my healthy problems and diets issues, but it will go a long way to mitigating the effecfs and halting them in their tracks. It's also crucial to the recipe of reversing them down the road.

I still have failing, damaged adrenal signalling. I still have hyperpermeable intestines. I still have hypothyroid. I still have immense allergies and food sensitivities. But I'm going to work with those things and regain as much of my health as I can. That means activity to help my energy and insulin sensitivity, and a diet that helps nourish my sick body so it can heal, and drops the excess weight in the process.

I have done it before, albeit with less barriers. I can do it again. I already am. High five, self.

taryl | General | 21 June, 7:58am | 37 comments

So it's been awhile. And my life has changed forever in the meantime.

On the plus side, I had that baby and he surprised everyone by being shockingly early (I tend to go overdue) at 37 weeks on the dot. Jonathan Shane G. was 6 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long, and is now a beautiful, cheerful six month old. He was born December 23rd, 2014. He is my worst sleeper, but still a charming, happy baby. Just one that loves eating. A lot.

The weight gain continued and so did the fatigue. I'm sitting around 225 pounds right now, and it's awful. It's not entirely my fault though.

You see, I never gained my energy back from the pregnancy. It turns out I have severe adrenal fatigue. Not to failure, yet, but I'm supplementing with cortisone treatments because my endogenous levels are laughable low.

I also developed new life threatening allergies postpartum. Anaphylaxis to shellfish. Moderate allergies to beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. Intolerances to dozens of other foods. Low carb hasn't been going well when my body attacks animal protein. The cause of the allergies appears to be linked to the adrenal fatigue - it gave me hyperpermeable intestines and the particles of food that are getting through are being attacked by my immune system. So I'm doing supplementing, elimination diets, and fermenting to try and heal it. It's very, very slow going.

Due to the anaphylaxis issues I've been on and off prednisone. That, plus the hydrocortisone, aren't helping the weight gain. It bothers me, but fixing it with my diet and food and energy issues has been so hard. I'm praying and trying to be graceful about being eighty pounds heavier this May than last, but it is a struggle. Physically, yes, but emotionally too.

I've become a sick person. With the adrenal fatigue I have to avoid all stress - emotional, menta, physiological. I am not really supposed to have more babies, or at least to give it 3-5 years (this was devastating). I have to sleep more, and better. I have to eat plenty and regularly. If I push too hard my body crashes and I get nauseous, dizzy, a migraine, and have to spend the rest of the day and the next in bed to try and regain some semblance of normal function. I snap a lot at the kids, because my stress tolerance is almost zero. When my body gets stressed, it cannot cope and shuts down.

We have had a bummer of a year. Our business with friends just closed doors a few days ago, and we aren't sure if we can reopen. That's hanging in the balance. We are massively in debt from that, the baby birth, and then nexpected extra 10k in medical bills since he was born due to adrenal crashes, allergies, intolerances, depressed immune system, oh, and I have a genetic defect related to MTHFR that has required special treatment, too. Super, eh?

Through all of this, I've let everything slip. Still no exercise, because sleep is more important right now (trying to change this). Crappy diet, because chips and rice are safe but a steak could kill me. Lazy routine with my bible study and self care. Bad attitude. Marriage is okay but not great. I have a lot to repent for right now, and my walk with God has been in a dry season, too. Which really stinks because I need him now more than ever before and I'm just finding my heart aching and distant instead.

There are bright spots - I'm processing the health stuff and doing what I can. Working on the routine. Speaking sweetly to my kids. Helping the husband as much as I can, though he has spent much of the last six months helping ME instead. I need spiritual growth so badly right now, and God is growing us through these trials. I admit I kind of prefer the easier times.

We need to be better stewards of everything - body, family, home, finances, relationships, you name it. I'm still here, I haven't given up, and though this is a hard time for me and my life has been a depressing whirlwind I am still going to take one step at a time to get on track and out of this hole. I need to keep myself accountable here and just do one thing at a time, without ragging on myself over my failures. Weight is secondary at this point, health and heart come first.

taryl | General | 12 June, 6:50am | 56 comments

I'm not dead, as I professed before. Still here, still trying hard with my weight and health, meeting a lot of resistance and issues. I've been sick pretty much perpetually for upwards of two months now, which hasn't helped things. My husband and I are extremely busy with work (him) and homeschool obligations (me). It is also apparent that if I follow the 'common sense' low carb recommendations for pregnancy I gain weight like crazy. I have to be strict, or my body just stashes it all. The scale is pretty ridiculous right now, but I'm working every day at staying on top of solid nutrition, solid sleep, and not giving into tempting junk. I failed on that last point every week or two for August and September and have paid for it. Boo!

Baby looks great - healthy, active, all bits and parts where they should be. My thyroid is still not quite right and I never did get over the exhaustion and fatigue this pregnancy. No second trimester boost, and now I'm nearly in the home stretch. I think some of this is metabolic and some is just a difficult pregnancy, but after four easy ones I suppose it was time for me to struggle a bit. And I'm definitely not looking forward to labor, but my placenta moved and I am off bed rest and on track another home birth at this point, so that's a blessing.

As for homeschooling, this needs to be chronicled here so I don't forget it. This blog post is awesome and inspirationally true: http://jennwinsocal.blogspot.com/2010/05/about-those-dreaded-gaps.html

We are implementing a new school organizational system with work boxes (actually, work folders right now due to space issues) with huge success. The kids love it and we are getting to fun stuff and lighter subjects that frequently got pushed off or dropped due to time constraints in prior years. It is also helping with independence in the students, which I appreciate and needs. More on that as I tweak and tune it.

Hopefully I will prioritize blogging a bit more, and I'm going to have to do so postpartum for accountability in getting this pregnancy's gains back off. But the break was needed and good, and didn't spell catastrophe in any particular way. I'm just very, very busy, was quite sick, and struggling with prenatal depression and diet issues (neither of which have fully resolved but I'm trying my best!).

I hope to post the next blog sooner than ten weeks from now ;)

taryl | General | 11 October, 9:26pm | 50 comments

I was commenting on someone else's blog and realized I'd been neglecting my own. Not for cause or fear, things are going pretty well despite some pregnancy complications (a bleed and placenta previa we're praying is moving up). Baby is healthy and has looked great on the ultrasounds, my energy is in the pits but I have almost no nausea now, we began a new slot car racing business with some of our best friends, and I've been doing summer school with the kids. Busy is really the issue.

With food I've vascillated between awful and awesome. It's been a struggle, but over the last few weeks I've clawed my way back to mostly low carb without so many bites/licks/tastes of off plan things. I'm focusing on one meal at a time on plan and keeping that going. I feel tired and pudgy, though much of that is pregnancy and heat related and not dietary, necessarily. Unfortunately I've also been downed with several colds and assorted maladies that have just made the time crawl unpleasantly. But time has indeed passed and I'm beginning to feel more human, and looking forward to getting back on a more normal schedule sooner than not.

So not dead, not buried in icecream, not otherwise MIA. Just busy!

taryl | General | 22 July, 9:00pm | 381 comments

Hello all! I'm still here and doing well, despite what the scale says. It's been going precipitously up but my eating has been on target for quite awhile, so I'm trying my best not to sweat the shocking hormonal weight gain with this kid. It's hard, though, even during a pregnancy. I'm just programmed to deal with the scale and it doesn't work the same way when you're growing a baby human or two.

Cool things I didn't expect the last week - I have a Doppler and went baby spelunking with it on a lark. This is about the earliest you can hear a heartbeat and I'm not rail thin, so it makes the likelihood even lower. But after half an hour with the Doppler I caught a heartbeat that disappeared quickly, and then I chased it down again a few seconds later. Unmistakeable sound and so, so cool. I admit it also puts my mind at ease a bit, that the baby is healthy and growing.

The entire last week I was sicker than a dog with combo pregnancy ills and a nasty cold. The congestion was unreal (and of course I couldn't take anything for it) and it just kept getting worse. It also quite compounded the exhaustion of the first trimester to the point I was pretty much nonfunctional. Blessedly my morning sickness was okay for most of the week because the few times that kicked up with everything else going on, I kept wishing for unconsciousness. But after a week things improved and this week I've been much, much better. Now it's just back to baby ickiness, which I can deal with.

My online friend Melissa posted about a deflated balloon and body issues with weight loss, regains and relosing, etc. It made me do some reflecting and I identified a few other issues I hadn't hit upon at the time that contributed to my quick regain after hitting such a low. I'm just going to copy and paste it here and think about it a bit more.

You know that was one of those things that freaked me out during my last bout of weight loss from 165-170 down to 145. I looked deflated and wrinkly as I had lost significant subcutaneous fat. My bras were half empty, my thighs had a gap, my upper arms were crepey. Not surprising, given that I have fairly inelastic skin to begin with, had been 270 pounds, and had four children. But it messed with my brain it ways I couldn't even identify at the time. I thought I had it down, after so much time losing and maintaining. I was good. I had a system. I'd dealt with my demons. And I'd still say most of that is true, but it never ends or completely goes away. I lost the ability for a few months to feel myself in and manage my health and I paid for it with a huge regain. Some was hormonal with this pregnancy at 150, and now I'm up to 172 shockingly early (it's mostly hormonal and my husband keeps joking about twins, but some of it is that residual I-don't-care at the end of the day, too). It's been very sobering and helped me feel myself in again, so I can lose some of this excess fat and grow another healthy baby.

I'd like to say for this next losing phase, postpartum, that I'm ready to see 150 or 145 again. It looked gooooood on me! But truthfully anything below 160 was comfortable for the rest of my life and that's my goal right now. It's a process, I can't ever lose sight of that. And neither can you. Whether we're deflated balloons and regaining maintainers or not, it's NEVER too late as long as we breathe, to get this under control and keep trying. We might stumble or fall, but quitting entirely isn't an option when husbands and children depend on us.

taryl | General | 13 June, 1:23am | 53 comments

I was asked about where I am at on weight loss/hCG on my TTap forum. And the answer was thought provoking and useful, so I'm copying it here to kick myself when I need it. And to remember that I'm actually a success story, even when I feel like a bit of a failure for not being perfect (ha).

hCG was and continued to be a huge blessing to me and others who follow the original protocol by the letter.

For me, I began my weight loss after the birth of my second child, and the first time I looked at the scale was after several weeks on plan and I was 257. My highest weight during pregnancy was 270. As it stands now after two (and now three, I'm expecting another baby in January) subsequent pregnancies and continuing to work on my weight loss and maintenance, I am sitting in the 160 pound range, which was my original goal weight.

The protocol rules, when followed in loss AND maintenance, work wonderfully. But as a caution, let me tell you that for the first time I did a round this past January without having my head in the game and cheated during the protocol, and the overboard in the maintenance stages and didn't correct immediately. I lost down to 147 as my last dose weight in March, and was up to 158-160 by the time I became pregnant. That was a big bounce in two months, and NO fault of the hCG. But it was proof that maintaining a large weight loss (I was 120-130 pounds down at that point) takes diligence and effort every day, and hCG doesn't fix that. What it is is a tool for losing when nothing else works. And it does that BEAUTIFULLY. But it isn't a silver bullet or permanent solution for weight and health, and nothing is (including surgery).

For me, I maintain very well at 158-163, which was my last dose weight of my hCG round before this disastrous one, in June 2012. But I became pregnant with my fourth child and ended that round early. Still, even during nursing and weaning my weight returned to that set point very well, and I maintained there without too much adieu. I do believe I can go lower, but this time I have learned the hard way why I must not cheat or modify the protocol. When I do it by the letter it works, when I don't it doesn't. I've always preached this, but now I've lived that hard lesson ;)

i havent been on the TTap forums much lately but I am still tapping, though I've been lazy the last few months I'm working on becoming consistent again. That has also been huge for my physical wellness, flexibility, back pain, and yes, my body shape. I maintain in between hCG rounds with what is essentially P3, the maintenance phase of hCG. It's Atkins induction and the lower rungs and works beautifully for me. The upside of this is that I can correct more easily, up do it while pregnant and nursing, etc etc.

This doesn't mean I don't struggle - after many months of successful maintenance I was in a funk at the beginning of this year and gained five pounds over my maintenance range. I mistakenly thought doing an hCG round would fix it, but without dealing with the head issues and discipline problems that had cropped up the diet was nothing but a temporary solution and the issues remained. I firmly believe this is my 'secret', if there is any to maintenance - recognizing this is a lifelong health issue that requires daily management, never giving up, realizing there are good seasons and bad, and that the mind is where the battle is won and lost and the scale/tape measure is a lagging indicator of what is going on in your brain.

taryl | General | 17 May, 6:16am | 47 comments

The scale says I'm officially a fat cow. Between travel, holidays, and hormones I am up TWENTY FIVE POUNDS since the middle of March. Some of that is water retention, sure, but a good fifteen of that is honest gain. I had a mental freak out and bounced right back up after my last weight loss round, to about the place I was at before (which was my original goal). The rest seems to be baby related.

So. Cake is done, I'm back on plan. It might be too much to ask for here as I'm exhausted and nauseous but I'm going to work at getting back down to my original goal (155-160) before earnest pregnancy gains begin. I'm not going to keep my calories artificially low if I'm hungry or having a blood sugar drop (a because that makes morning sickness ten times worse) but I'm sticking to my low carb food lists I usually maintain on and we'll see what comes of it. 1800-ish calories and 35 net carbs of whole food should help me slowly but surely drop the subcutaneous fat gain, even if the scale stays the same because of added baby weight.

I was successful with this the last pregnancy, including getting off an overindulgent early pregnancy gain, so I'm basically rinsing and repeating.

Last night was crazy, as I had to prepare my notebook and end of year report for my contact teacher. It's a lot of paperwork but I'm always glad to have the record when I'm done, and the meeting today went very well.

Our state just implemented a STAR reading assessment for k-3 that is mandatory for all children, so my two oldest girls did that. The kindergartener scored quite well as an emerging reader and I found the assessment pegged her right where I did in terms of skill, which was encouraging both for me and the accuracy of the test. My first grader tested a smidge low compared to her reading ability, but her comprehension isn't nearly as advanced as her decoding skills. Still, she was firmly in the probable reading category and almost near the top of the assessment range, which isn't too bad since she's only seven. I'm glad to have that hurdle out of the way and know where they're at in terms of the range of their skills, though, as I don't have much of a standard of comparison besides my own curriculum goals for the kiddos.

The littler two didn't eat the puzzles or burn the office down, so they had a good day as well. We only had one diaper blowout on the way out the door and still weren't late, which is a HUGE victory

Goals for today include storing away the winter gear, washing all my maternity clothes, and reading several chapters in a book I'm working through called "The Heart of Anger" by Lou Priolo. It is AWESOME. If, for some reason, I end up with LOTS of time on my hands I need to get a shawl off my knitting needles, too, as it is about two years late for the original date of receipt. Whoops.

We'll see how the list goes. I hate putting clothes away seasonally as we have zero storage space, but it's a necessary evil and I'll be glad when it is done.

taryl | General | 14 May, 9:15pm | 33 comments

Okay, not really, but it feels that way sometimes! My husband says I'm five kids old, and that trumps the fact that I was born in 1986 and most of my peers still live with mommy and daddy and are perpetual students ;)

Yesterday was my birthday and insanely busy - we had weekly baking and school, then a trip to the water park during the discount homeschooling day. I left in the middle of that to go to my piano lesson and then came back and picked up the kids while Peter acquired my cake. We were so exhausted by the end we all got into bed two hours late. So I started today off with sleeping in, a light school day, and now I'm sitting outside watching Holly try to eat gravel and Seth drinking icky water from an old ball.

Gross and fun.

I have chores to do, but watching the kids play seemed more important.

And that's the ramble update for today.

taryl | General | 13 May, 9:51pm | 32 comments

I love babies, and I'm happy to have symptoms (I cannot tell you have nerve wracking my few pregnancies of zero early symptoms were, after miscarriage issues) but I barely ate dinner and the little bit I did eat has made me so nauseous. My coffee seems to have set it off. I ate a hardboiled egg, some sausage, and a little peanut butter. And I'm sipping on lemon water and sparkling mineral water. But I'm still having major indigestion and nothing is sitting quite right. Oh well!

Ongoing insurance issues also suck - our new coverage, thanks to getting bumped off our old coverage by Obamacare, begins July 1st. But I'm being treated for my thyroid right now, and I guarantee they want to run a million panels before issuing me another refill prescription, since I am pregnant. But we cannot afford them until the new insurance begins, which is around 11 weeks into pregnancy for me. The rub is that I'm going to need a refill before then. So do I just call for a refill and schedule an appointment in July? Do I omit the fact that I'm pregnant, which feels an awful lot like deceiving them? They are an OB/midwifery group, but not the one I'm using for this birth. And I have my first appointment with my midwives on June 25th. But again, I'm going to need to keep going on my thyroid stuff, especially in early pregnancy. So I'm between a rock and a hard place, because I cannot pay for the tests needed before the insurance kicks in, but I need them prior to that, and even having them bill it later doesn't help because the date of service isn't applicable to the new coverage.

Being on a budget sucks sometimes.

taryl | General | 10 May, 7:21am | 35 comments

Nothing decent to post here, right before I go to bed. But I wanted to note that despite eating almost nothing for dinner several hours ago (half an avocado with salt, some sunflower seeds, a low carb hot chocolate) I'm still feeling a wave of nausea and indigestion as I'm trying to settle in for much needed sleep. I was feeling rather green during the Convention in Juneau, too, which just seemed kind of unfair since I'm not particularly far along.

But on the upside, that makes me feel like this is a healthy, growing baby. The more miserable I am correlates with the hormones the kiddo puts out. It does, however, make keeping quiet about baby #5 a little more difficult.

Weight is up from the trip. I stayed as low carb as I could on catered food, but it was tough. I fully confess to some mashed potatoes because I'd have eaten my arm off if I skipped them (and was unable to acquire any other snack to offset it). I also have two of my pre-scheduled fun food days coming up which I fully intend to enjoy. So what I did today and will be doing each day but the aforementioned ones is eating strictly on plan to offset the much higher carbs and calories. The weight comes back off so long as I return to my plan, though it can be slow. But I get in trouble if I don't return on plan and stay there after stressful or off plan food days. I am super proud of myself for eating on plan today, with very low carbs and not eating for the fun of it but actually stopping when full (a constant challenge for me).

Tomorrow is another busy day, including an orthodontic appointment in the morning I have to drag all four children to and a fairly lengthy trip to the post office. Good night!

taryl | General | 6 May, 7:31am | 35 comments

I'm still here, still in the same weight range whenever I check, still doing quite well. Exercise has been cruddy, because I've been sick, busy, sicker, and busier, but once I'm back in town and my family has left (next Tuesday morning) I will hop back to it, I think!

Now for the great news - the decision for another round is made for me, as I'm pregnant with baby #5 and due (I think) around the second week of January. So very early still, and thus I am not announcing in real life for a few weeks or months. But I am SO excited! And I am starting this pregnancy about four pounds below where I was with Holly, which isn't ideal, but I'm still at my original goal weight and holding nice and steady there. I'm not giving away my hCG this time, as I intend to get in that final round after nursing the next baby, but I'm effectively in lifetime maintenance with a year off losing weight again, and sitting around around a size 12/M. This will be improved by working out again, as the flabbiness is bugging me more than my actual size.

Sad to say, I'm actually a tiny bit happy I regained some weight. My husband was NOT happy with the situation up top, if you get my drift. I still think 147 was a GREAT weight for my body, but more and more distance from it with this ten pound bounce and I'm thinking I freaked myself out a bit over the whole thing. And I wasn't on my game, mentally, or clear on my goals like I should have been. Thus, a big fail. But I'm still fifteen pounds below my loading weight and my maternity clothes from Holly will be loose but not falling off (yay, no having to shop for more for the first pregnancy EVER).

As I did last time I'm remaining low carb, whole foods the entire pregnancy, with a few splurge days in my birthday/anniversary and then a great big cake and sushi when the baby is born, just like I did last time. Then it is back to the grindstone and hopefully I'll find myself back within five pounds of prepregnancy weight by my six week appointment again, too. Because that felt incredible ;)

You know how some pregnancies you're a bit trepidatious about the whole thing and wondering how you'll manage, what you got yourself into, etc? I am really not feeling that way. It's pure eagerness, I'm totally ready and am so glad I'm not losing weight instead of having more children. And though I fail every single day and do a whole boatload of repenting and begging forgiveness from God and my children for my attitude and actions, I can honestly say I'm enjoying my older kids much more. I have a dear, sweet friend who is holding me accountable for some of my issues (selfishness, anger, laziness) and she had some brilliant solutions and counsel to help me trace the root heart attitudes AND physical factors surrounding the times when I lose it. And you know what, there were patterns I didn't even see! And now that I'm aware of them they're improving greatly. Taking plenty of deep breaths and trying to really *live* in and *enjoy* these little daily moments has improved my whole outlook on my family, even when things aren't going smoothly (like this last Thursday, when I had someone vomiting profusely, someone blowing out their diaper, someone tantrumjng, and some else blissfully unaware as they twirled in circles, all at the SAME TIME).

But I digress - we're expecting another Giessel (yay!) and I'm happy where I'm at and eating Atkins for maintenance here (yay!). My TTap has stunk, because I keep not waking up for various good reasons (that, for all their validity still end with me being off track). I've lost 100 pounds of non-pregnant me and 120 pounds from my all time high. I've still held on, by the skin of my teeth, through two ten pound regains and kept the breaks on. I haven't quit, going on six years at this. This is my THIRD pregnancy (fourth, if we count the miscarriage) since deciding I couldn't live as a morbidly obese mom anymore, and I have been lighter each successive baby. Whenever I am tempted to whine, feel depressed, or otherwise look at myself as a failure, I just need to remember that I'm at my original goal weight and living maintenance as well as anyone. It's progress, not perfection, and never giving up. Ever.

I'll be staying on plan while my family is here and when I'm out of town in two days. I'll intentionally eat my favorite junk on my specified dates and get right back on plan the next morning. I'm PRAYING I don't end up with food aversion to sardines, sprats, seaweed, sausage, salads, sunflower seeds (why is it that all my favorite foods seem to begin with S?) or any other dietary staples when morning sickness hits me. Right now I'm just bone tired and rightfully so, but I am waiting for baby symptoms to hit hard in a week or two.

And that is the happy, busy news for me. Who bounced up ten pounds back to my original goal and is a happy, blessed lady.

taryl | General | 30 April, 6:50am | 34 comments

I've stayed off the scale for three weeks and the damage isn't as bad as it could be - I'm vascillating between 158-160, which is right around my lowest point pre-round, and still a good 10-15 pounds below my load weight. But it's also quite above my window of 145-149. Can I say how nice it has been to relax (mentally) over food for a bit? I've been eating too much and am reining it in, I've also had too much in the way of carbs. But overall it's been much better for me. And I'm back to the point where I'm ready to buckle down, which I wasn't a month ago.

My focus is on a clean induction, even if I'm 500 calories over my target at this point it's better than nothing! In another week I should know if I'm expecting or if I'm doing another hCG round. If I'm pregnant I'll just have high carb days on my Birthday and Anniversary (May 6 and 12) and otherwise proceed with a low carb pregnancy as I did the last time. If I'm not pregnant, I'll be loading on my birthday and begin another round on May 12-14th, with the VLCD beginning on the 15th.

The upside to all this is that my clothes were getting really loose, and they're less so now, but because I hadn't bought new ones yet and am at my lowest weight I achieved after the last baby, and well below where I began last round, things still fit nicely and are comfortable here. I'm hoping with staying clean and low carb over the next two weeks I can drop back down to 155, but even if I cannot I still look quite good, which is a boon. Dinking around isn't an option, though, because I'm at the top of my 'happy' range for lifetime maintenance. Anything above 160 is really not good on me, and below 150 was much better still. But if 150 was my red line on this round, 160 is sirens-wailing red alert. I'm just taking it one day at a time, but I think I really needed a few weeks of loose and lazy low carb, with a few moderate and high days sprinkled in.

It's still boggling to me how it of character all this has been. It's like watching someone else, I'm the one who is usually well controlled and gets back on plan and doesn't really go off plan to begin with, but that wasn't the case lately. Maybe it was self sabotage, maybe mental exhaustion, but it's been instructive to have to change up my normal methods of correction and coping because they aren't working well for me any longer. I'm mostly out of the slump now, and good riddance!

taryl | General | 24 April, 2:23pm | 41 comments

http://thechristianpundit.org/2013/10/02/all-kinds-of-gluttons/

taryl | General | 15 April, 4:38am | 40 comments

Stayed on plan today. The plan is loose, at this point. The scale is still away and I'm focusing on on plan foods. Generally, I'm also focusing on staying in on-plan quantities, but if anything had to give I'm letting that go first. So today, for example, I had entirely too much cheese dip and pork rinds, along with sugar free cheesecake. But I didn't eat the cookies or bread. And I'm starting out, every day, on plan. Not giving up. Doing quite well most of the time.

For this season that's fine.

I have two or three weeks I'm giving my brain and body a rest. As I said I'm either conceiving or doing another hCG round. So I'm coasting on a loose Atkins induction with one modification (I'm eating sunflower seeds, those have been so helpful!). I'd like to do it more strictly and tend to begin each day that way, but I've decided if I'm having a weak/lazy moment it is better to eat extra sour cream or make a low carb dessert than fly completely off the rails. Since I'm so used to low carb it takes very little effort. More than it did previously, since I'm in kind of a weird spot, but it's much better than the alternative.

I'm not missing the scale though I am missing being in the 140's. That felt nice, clothing-wise. My mom posited that I might have psyched myself out over being at a normal weight. It's possible, and probably part of it, but my problems with this round began before that point. I've been around weight loss forums long enough to recognize that this is part of maintenance - sometimes we get burned out and apathetic, it's a fact of life. The difference seems to be on how one handles it - do you completely give up and dive into a bin of ice cream for a night, or for six months? When you take a break do you hang up your hat completely or try your best, even if your best is just holding steady of a slow gain? These things matter, and I know they do. Part of the reason I work daily to never regain my weight, even when I'm not doing it perfectly, is because I've already decided that there's never a time it's okay to give up or quit. I've been saying that a lot lately on here but it is an important point to drive home. Good or bad, this is something I have to work at in my life. It is a discipline like any other - an area I must work at, but one that is necessary for my health and family.

So, I ate sugar free cheesecake (it's phenomenal, thanks for asking) and way too much cheese dip and pork rinds (yummy!). And I don't currently know what next month will look like, being in a holding pattern as I am (here in P3/P4). But I'm not sweating it, and I'll keep working at it, even if I'm having bad choices mixed in with my good. That's life, and I don't need to call my entire weight loss and maintenance efforts quits just because I'm in a rough spot.

Workouts have been non-existent. Too many days of too little sleep and too much stress (which is a big contributes to my difficulties in sticking with a super strict plan). But I'm starting strong tomorrow morning with waking and bible study on time, and will build momentum from there. That's where I'm at right now, but I wanted to check in and let everyone else know I am not doing bad and am not dead.

On a similar note, I bought some new church dresses at a sale at JCP last week. I wore one to church today, and it was super cute :). I'm no clothes horse but a nice, fresh church dress is always fun!

taryl | General | 14 April, 4:21am | 34 comments

First things first. I caved to milk chocolate, half a Danish, and a croissant during my board meeting today. They were left on the table as snacks by two other board members and I decided they'd be worth it (they were pretty good, but now I feel icky). I also ate too much of my own chocolate and a bunch of nuts. Oh, and pork rinds. Now I feel bloated and it is only partially due to my period.

I had almost no sleep, a Board of Pharmacy meeting until 4:30, a rushed dinner, commuting in traffic, and then a two hour conference at my church on Biblical Counseling. I caved. I don't handle that kind of busy stress well, but need to do it without food. Tomorrow is the same crazy schedule, and Saturday is the conference's last day and my daughter's 7th birthday.

I'm forgiving myself for today, because my calories were high and I didn't stick to induction. Tomorrow I will do better, and I'm not giving up. But today was ugly ugly. Some of it is that stress of this sort - being overly busy, running around, with a ton of junk food everywhere, and hours on end of no normal routine - is triggering for me. Some of it is exhaustion and poor sleep, as I'm off my normal routine again. Still more of it is the daily struggle everyone has with weight management, and eating differently than everyone else.

But a fair bit of it is just what has been plaguing me this whole round. I'm seriously debating the wisdom of another, because of how messy my head is and how I can't shake the mental funk I've fallen into and the cheating habit that is so unlike me. But I have to, and I will. I have a game plan and need to stick to it. I'm refusing discouragement, a lack of accountability, or anything within my power that might make it worse. No, no and no.

But I'm still going to prayerfully consider pausing for one more baby, a weight maintenance break, and then doing my last round of hCG in a year or two.

I know, right? I've been doing this for six years. It's a long time. I want to call goal. But I still have areas that need major improvement and could benefit from another 10-20 pounds off, maybe more. But it's not worth this insanity, and doing a round on this mindset is asking for trouble.

So I'm mulling a lot right now. And never, ever giving up.

taryl | General | 4 April, 6:27am | 32 comments

First things first, for Rachel I'll provide my hot chocolate recipe. It sounds funky but it's really delicious, and the butter extract (from the baking section) and instant coffee granules give it an extra dose of flavor that I'd say puts it above and beyond even gourmet hot chocolate mixes. I came up with this recipe during the last P2 and I'm keeping it because it hits the spot so nicely.

Low Carb Hot Chocolate

1 rounded tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp coffee granules
1/4 tsp butter extract
2 tbs sugar free coffee syrup (I like vanilla and coconut or pralines)
Small pinch of salt
1 tbs heavy cream
12 oz boiling or off boil hot water

Mix all ingredients in a mug. Add hot water and cream (omit the cream if you are in P2). Mix until there are no lumps and enjoy! You may find you like it more or less sweet, so add stevia or adjust syrup amounts to taste.

What could be easier?! It's about 65 calories as I make it, and 2.3 grams net carbs. The calories drop to about 5 calories per cup if you omit the heavy cream.

**********

Progress notes!

I'm doing much, much better since Friday night. I tried one more correction day as written, despite my misgivings it would trigger cravings and binging. It did. It was ugly. I even confessed to my husband what was happening and asked for his prayers and any bright ideas he might have to help me (I'm pretty private with my weight management, he usually just sees me doing things and being successful and never sees some of the struggles day to day). I keep thinking I can take advice from others that runs contrary to my own experiences with my body and apply it - I can't.

Most folks doing P3 have a vested interest in more carbs and treats. I do, too, at least in theory. But in practice if I'm not very careful I can spark all sorts of mental and physical cravings that make it very, very hard to control myself. And this might not happen in most of the folks doing the protocol, hence the carbier correction days. But I know me, and I've had abundant proof of concept over the last week and half that I only succeed when I keep my P3 diet very clean and very low carb. So after an abysmal Friday where, after a correction day I went temporarily insane, I committed to ignoring the rules of correction days until I was back in my window and had regained some control and have defaulted to my old standby for sanity saving and weight dropping - a true Atkins induction.

This morning I weighed in at 153.8. This is awesome because in addition to the bad eating Friday and five days late period (but no positive pregnancy test) I tried out skate skiing for the first time and was so sore I was up four pounds the next day with water retention in my muscles. Ouch! So I was down almost two pounds today from yesterday, just from eating on plan and some of the soreness abating. Saturday and Sunday were white knuckle, back to basics induction days. And it's already feeling easier and more natural again. It usually takes me three days of strong, concerted effort and teeth gritting to get back on plan, but at their core a calorie controlled, carb controlled induction is very much like a correction day anyway, being high fat and 'clean', but minus the fasting and single food types and funky combinations meant to drop water weight, etc. I'm sticking with induction until I'm back in the 147-149 range, and then I will ease up a bit, just like ongoing weight loss, and allow myself more veggies, a serving of nuts, a square of dark chocolate, etc.

Up and until that point, however, I'm staying by the book. I refuse to give up or settle at this slightly higher weight. Even without the soreness I've visibly gained a little bodyfat back, which isn't the end of the world but if I can get rid of it again and practice getting back down in my maintenance range there's no reason not to. And I will absolutely take this lesson and others gleaned from this somewhat disastrous round and apply them going forward. For me, going overly long is a recipe for binging, and cheating isn't worth it and is to be voided, even if it means ending a round sooner than I want. Transitioning back in more starch and sugar, even in the form of correction days, makes me insane. We like me sane, thanks, so I'm sticking with either pure protein style correction days that work for me (steak days, fish days, chicken days) or going back to induction rules. HCG is a tool for losing weight and setting a new range for maintenance, and it works beautifully. But the work is NOT done when P2 is over. If one isn't willing to commit to troubleshooting and tweaking and trying endlessly until they find what works for them, better to not do a round at all and try a weight loss method that suits their habits and preferences better.

You know it's strict when it makes Atkins Induction look simple ;)

taryl | General | 31 March, 5:16pm | 35 comments

I followed my plan today, after working out my food. Not too bad. I did, unfortunately, succumb to three tbs of Parmesan cheese and some beef from the spaghetti sauce, a few sunflower seeds, macadamias, chia seeds, and a hot chocolate (almost calorie free, the way I made it. About ten calories and 1 carb per cup). So not perfect, but I'm actually very pleased with how it proceeded. Low carb, whole foods, some snacking but nothing too bad. Tomorrow will be another great day and I'm going to keep trying my hardest.

Whatever the scale does, I can say I gave it my best and didn't get discouraged :)

On a total side note - flavored sunflower seeds! I can't take credit for these, as I got the idea from Sheila Pereyra of SugarFreeSheila. Flavored sunflower seeds (David's brand are delicious, the Ranch and Jalapeño Salsa ones are scrumptious) keep my mouth busy for a long time, and are very low carb and low calorie. For an evening snack it is vastly superior to the typical low carb standbys, which tend to be more calorie dense and gone faster, too. It gives me the same oral satisfaction as chips or popcorn, but it much better for me. And fortunately the salt and msg doesn't bug my body, but your mileage may vary. Grab a pack and try them, you might find yourself pleasantly hooked!

taryl | General | 28 March, 5:16am | 34 comments

I managed to have a perfectly on plan day yesterday - hit all my food targets, said no to the whiny voice in my head that wanted to eat more. I got another massage last night and, granted, I weighed in several hours later than I usually do (which will give a slightly bigger scale loss) but I was down to 150.0 this morning. That is one pound above my window, so I'll keep correcting. But it is definitely ballpark and better than it has been the last few days. My menu was very clean yesterday, with some eggs and coffee for breakfast, a salad, and several tins of sardines and oysters. Quite delicious and nutritious, high fat, but not overly so for my body. Calories came in at a respectable 1700-ish, which is low for maintenance but appropriate for a correction day

I need to work on my menu for today, I'm running around in the middle of the afternoon so I'm thinking eggs/cheese/coffee for breakfast and then a salad and two bunless cheeseburgers for dinner. I'm going to have to go work the numbers and see what I get. I'm all in, again, for clean and as perfect as I can get it. We're still in white knuckle territory for another few days and I'm not relaxing a moment until I'm back and stable in my window.

taryl | General | 27 March, 5:53pm | 42 comments

Before I go to bed and while I'm thinking about it - my modified game plan for high fat days was based on the advice of another who is a coach for hCG. But my personal experience the last year has been that overly high fat doesn't keep me satiated like protein. So in the spirit of not screwing up further, I'm modifying my gameplan for correcting to help me regain personal control and not just following someone else's advice.

Tomorrow's menu will be simple enough: coffee with chia in the morning. A salad and sardines for lunch. Sardines and smoked oysters for dinner. Basically this is lots of fatty protein, single type, with a little greenery and coffee to wash it down. Nice and simple, should kill cravings, and I like the foods.

Thursday will be similar - coffee with chia, sardines and salad, two hamburger patties and a fried egg with lettuce for dinner. Again, simple induction menu and clean.

Friday will be another simple day - coffee with chia, Brussel sprouts, salmon with dill sauce. If I want a snack I can have 1/2 c sunflower seeds in the shell as a snack after dinner.

Saturday I'll play it by ear. I am hoping desperately for a date with my husband for the first time in forever. That should mean a steak house. Which means I'll be doing coffee with chia and a few hardboiled eggs prior to going. If we don't go out I'll modify as needed.

I'm getting it out there to the air once and for all. No more messing around, I'm not doing anything but hurting myself. I can't go overly crazy either direction here in P3 or I'm setting myself up for my final round being nuts and prone to cheats again, which I refuse to do. I'm praying The Lord strengthens me in this and that I use my brain instead of my emotions. I've gotten into a weird mindset that I've managed to shake, but not entirely. That's changed tonight. Just because one tire has popped doesn't mean I need to go and slash the other three. So PMS or not, I'm waking early tomorrow, keeping my morning routine INCLUDING my workout, and sticking with the game plan. White knuckle territory, but that's what it takes.

taryl | General | 26 March, 5:53am | 35 comments

Hello there! As promised, I'm checking in after my day. Learned some new things, did decently, will be applying the knowledge tomorrow and hoping for better planning.

This morning I weighed in at 151.0. Still bloated from my period, but down a whole pound. I'm happy with that despite the absolute number being higher than I want. Today went okay, but I made a mistake. I allowed myself to eat most of my calories in the morning, which isn't very satiating for me. Even though I am physiologically not hungry I get munchy in the afternoon and do better with light breakfast, big and grazing lunch, and an early dinner to finish it off. Most of my calories being eaten between noon and 5:00 pm works best, but I didn't do that today. So with a light lunch and almost non-existent dinner I struggled quite strongly against the head hunger all afternoon. I did quite well considering that, but exceeded my calories by about 200 on on-plan foods.

Better planning should eliminate that issue for tomorrow, but this is a constant struggle for me on high fat days in general and early eating, high fat days in particular. My next correction day will be fish based, with another higher fat one on Thursday.

Other lessons learned - recipes make me overeat, and are best not used on correction days. Novelty is one of my triggers I've discovered, and if so I either need to make my recipe just a single serving or account for the entire thing in my daily calories, because I can't seem to just stop and put part of it away. This is something I've been working on for ages, but ending eating when I'm satisfied, even when food is left on my plate, it very difficult for me. So only preparing a small serving to begin with is a better circumvention, as is fasting prior to a bigger meal like a holiday or at a restaurant.

So - victory was being down this morning and planning today well. Eating only on plan foods. Keeping my ratios where I wanted them.

Things to work on tomorrow: managing my eating schedule so I don't get caught overeating when I'm making my family their dinner. Keeping it as clean as possible, no bites, licks, or tastes of things that I can't have.

Reminding myself that I'm only four pounds over my last dose weight (two pounds outside my window) and working on it every day. As long as I don't quit or make excuses, refuse accountability, or plain give up, I'm doing fine. But I have to constantly remind myself of this and keep trying nonetheless.

Will check in again tomorrow evening :)

****

Nix the above, I spazzed out while planning meals for coming days and just ate waaaay too many nuts. We'll say I'm at around 3000 calories for the day. Not a wise choice, not to be repeated if I value my weight (which I do!).

taryl | General | 26 March, 3:32am | 33 comments

So I planned my correction day today, quite well actually. I bounced UP to 152 this morning, which is not surprising because my period was impending. But I went ahead with a correction say as planned. Except I had to change my plans because I realized those correction day choices were really more for the maintenance phase of the plan, not the no sugar no starch phase. A day full of fruit, for example, just didn't pass mental muster.

So last minute this morning, I changed it up to a perfectly on plan keto day. I was successful and am glad for it. Tomorrow and the next three days I'm planning high fat/moderate protein/calorie controlled days since those are P3 compliant and should help me not accrue any more water weight until my cycle starts again. We'll see what the scale says tomorrow, but I'm hopefully for improvement. I can't really control the scale, just my choices and habits. And those were spot on today. Yay me!

I'll check back in tomorrow. Good night!

taryl | General | 25 March, 5:30am | 33 comments

Yes folks, I snapped some pictures today. I'd just woken up from a nap and while I stated they were for 147, I was technically 151.6 this morning. Close enough, just a little bloat through my ribcage to show for it ;)

I'm going to try to do a photo mashup of the beginning and middle of my journey compared to where I'm at now. It's pretty jaw dropping. In lieu of a mashup, let me just link them here:

Those are the front shots, with the new on the top and the start of my journey to compare. And those start pictures were after three weeks of eating more cleanly, and at least twenty pounds below my all time high (for which I have no pictures, it was the end of pregnancy with my second daughter).

And the sides for comparison. It's so surreal, it's been over five years since I saw myself for the first time as my body really was - where nothing looked good, no matter the size or cut. I was morbidly obese, somewhat depressed, and found even daily diligence and playing with my children wore me out. This is why I refuse to give up on myself and quit. This is why I still log my food. Why I persist and troubleshoot and fail and try again, over and over. Because I'm thinner than I was in high school. And my health is excellent. I can play with my kids as long as I want, not out of breath.

This is what I look like, even after a few cheats and a mental reordering to get back down another five pounds to the lowest number I have seen on the scale (145.8).

On that note, the steak day went great today. I won't lie, evening is hard for me and I made some roasted marrow, had a low carb hot chocolate, and a teaspoon of bouillon with a diet Dr. Pepper to avoid going off plan. But marrow is beef and allowable on the steak day, the hot chocolate was accounted for, and the rest is hardly worth mentioning. It wasn't perfection but it was excellent, intentional, and exhilarating for me. I did what I set out to do, and we'll see what the scale says tomorrow. I'm anticipating needing a few more correction days, but that's okay. I'm making progress back down and was firmly back on track. And the pictures speak for themselves - that is a tight medium too and size 12 Levi's that are a size too big, even fresh out of the dryer.

I'll be checking back in tomorrow. I'm hoping for a pound or two drop from the 151.6 of today, but honestly just eating as I planned the day before was enough for me to declare victory. Three days of white knuckling it like this is usually what it takes for me to find my groove. And hopefully the mashup of images will be forthcoming.

taryl | General | 24 March, 6:45am | 42 comments

That whole long title stands for Round Four, Phase Three, Day Three. Basically I'm three days into the stabilization phase of the protocol and, unlike in previous rounds, doing terribly! I've discovered why and wanted to write it down before I forgot. Long story short, I hit 147, and then actually down to 145.8. Then I had a moment of insanity, ate three cookies bars, and bounced up to 148.8 for Thursday and Friday. Today was supposed to be a correction day, but I was making dessert for Holly's first birthday, and long story short I didn't eat as cleanly as I should have. To much cream, too many nuts, and just generally overeating.

The cheat is water under the bridge but the first thing I want to note - lesson learned, I stayed on P2 TOO LONG. It's mental fatigue, folks, and my willpower is shot from how difficult P2 is to maintain, both physically and mentally. I wanted to reach 148 or lower so badly, but not at the expense of my sanity or health. I pushed about a week too far and then justified undermining my goals of weight stability to get some momentary satisfaction of indulgence. VERY out of character for me, and a strong indicator I need to clean house in my brain and focus my thoughts and efforts. The scale bouncing up due to these indulgences has been good for me, even though it sucks. It has helped clarify my thoughts and get me back on track. To some extent, it has even helped me get to my goal to get off track a few times - it keeps me humble and reminds me of how far I can push my diet (and no further!). I got it out of my system and that was useful.

The cream and nuts are easy enough - it tasted good, but I don't tolerate them in larger quantities or close to bedtime. Limit my servings of cream to induction amounts (2-3 tbs per day), and I either need to limit nuts to 1 oz per day or cut them out entirely. Nut butters are right out until I'm back in my window and fairly stable. I'm committing that with all my will and not flexing, because that's part of the mental and physical housekeeping I need. I can commit very easily to no off plan starch or sugar, and for now I'm relegating nut butter to that same category.

I've been doing a lot of justifying and caving. This will not do. A fair bit of this, I am convinced, has come from getting lax on my food logging. So for now I'm going to input my meal plans in the morning and stick to them like glue. I can be more loosey goosey when the habits are more solidified, but clearly I need more structure right now than I'm naturally applying, so it's time for correction and tough love.

My plan is as follows, and I'm writing it down here for accountability and commitment to myself. Sunday is a steak correction day - a large rib eye with seasoning and an apple.

Monday will be a shake correction day - a cup of berries and iced coffee for breakfast, strawberry/banana protein shake for lunch and eggnog shake for dinner. I'm skeptical this one will work, given the sugar load, but it's in my Alternative Correction Days ebook and many folks have had success with it, so it's as good a time as any to give it a try.

Tuesday will be a nut day, if I need it and am still not back below 149 (my window is 145-149, with correction of either side of it). My day will consist of 7-8 oz nuts (macadamias, pumpkin, pecan) split into baggies to break up throughout the day. This one may also be tricky, but I'll do my best to stick to it.

Wednesday (hopefully not needed!) will be a Get Naked correction day, with two hardboiled eggs and coffee for breakfast, sardines and salad for lunch, beef patty and broccoli with butter for dinner. It's essentially a very clean eating day, and I will do a few of these in series if I have to, to get back inside my window.

*****

Additional focus will be on hunger cues - I'm feeling them very strongly now, along with satiety cues, and am ignoring them. This is foolish of me - I wanted the taste so badly I ignored my body saying it was full. No more, that's abuse of my body plain and simple, and in no way control or mastery of my will. Hand in hand with this has been laziness on my overall maintenance calories. Even with exercise I'm probably not needing more than 1800 calories per day at this point, since I am smaller than I was a few months ago. Pushing the calories a bit is good for maintenance, so I am not stuck eating like a rabbit in perpetuity because I acclimated my metabolism to that. However regularly exceeding that amount is a recipe for gain and stricter tracking of my food along with noting my hunger cues should take care of this nicely.

One thing I will caveat is that I have had bad cramps all day today - some intestinal and some menstrual. I'm sure I'm retaining a bit of water due to being near the end of my cycle this month. But given the clear housekeeping issues I've been having with my food and weight I'm choosing to ignore the hormonal impact and just focus on behaviors until they're second nature again. Normally I'd caution correction for potentially hormonal/stress/exercise related gains, but in this case that will only make me dink around longer and I need to stabilize well at this new weight, which is a time sensitive proposition. Thus, I'm noting but not acting in accordance with those hormones.

All of these things together give the picture of where I'm at. On the scale it's pretty atrocious, I was up four pounds from my last dose weight. But no longer and not without action - I am SO glad I had to confront this, now, and the Lord has convicted me on this point as something I need to take captive and manage with my mind and will, instead of making excuses. A valuable lesson has also been learned, which I am taking into my final round in five weeks - NO OVERLY LONG ROUNDS. NO OFF PLAN EATING. It does nothing but hurt me and make this more difficult. I will adhere like glue to P2 and not go overly long. I only have enough hCG for 37 effective days, anyway, with the maximum round length being set at 40 days. But furthermore if I am feeling the mental strain of P2 like I was the last two weeks, I will exit that final round earlier than later in order to not get overly exhausted and weakened in my resolve like this ever again.

So while this all looks dismal right now it's actually been a big blessing and I'm taking it as such. Pray for me, that I can tame my food demons and move forward with more self control. At this point it matters less to me that I lock in right on 147 and more crucial that I do the mental housekeeping needed to approach food in a sane and managed fashion, without self soothing overstuffing, or disordered eating habits. I'm usually right on the ball on this, but it has been a good and humbling experience to be reminded that I not get too prideful or overly 'staid' in my view of myself at this smaller size, because it could slip away so easily if I don't do the work every day, with every decision, to maintain the body I've worked for.

I'll be checking in tomorrow night with my progress on the steak day. And I'm eager to get back inside my window soon :)

taryl | General | 23 March, 6:31am | 39 comments

Friends, it's my last dose of hCG this morning, so I can transition off by this Thursday (as the VLCD requires an additional 72 hours after an hCG dose in order to clear it from the body so weight isn't regained quickly). I just weighed in at 147.0, after six days bouncing at 150 and tap days at 148.8, yesterday.

Not only is this a 1.8 pound drop today (YAY!), but it means I made my goal of having my maintenance range firmly in the 140's. My range to remain weight stable for the next phase, P3, is 145-149 pounds, with corrective measures being taken on either side of this. The three weeks of P3 are crucial to creating a new set point for the body and allowing easier maintenance at the weight achieved with the protocol. And while it sounds like a whole lot of woo, there is no denying the last set point I achieved was one I indeed 'stuck' at with noticeable tenacity over the postpartum period. It's worked well for me every time, and one of the many reasons that, for as strict and difficult and scary sounding as the entire protocol seems, it's been a huge blessing for my body. Because friends - Taryl is and has always been a fat girl. My leanest body weight previously was in the 160's and just barely out of the 'obese' category, even while being active and having the benefit of youth.

Now I'm 147, which is almost inconceivably thin for me. My body is definitely bonier and less squishy, I'm absent (though certainly not missing them!) many fat rolls that have been decade-long fixtures on my frame. No matter the angle you take picture, I don't have a double chin. I am so grateful The Lord sustained me through this very difficult course and has allowed me to control my physical condition enough to be 'normal'. I'm still overweight by BMI standards, but I'm a comfortable medium/size 10 now, with even the smaller cuts of clothing fitting and many larger end cuts looking overly baggy. I'm never going to have an itty bitty waist because of my physical frame - too short in the torso to achieve much of a waist dip. But awesome legs ;)

All this to say, I'm SO SO SOOOOOO happy to be done with this round and eager to get lower on the next one. The hard work isn't done - P3 involves no sugar, no starch, and correction days if the weight exceeds +2 lbs any given morning. Then there is maintaining my body until the next round, which will be in the middle of May if we aren't blessed with another baby sooner. And having spent the last year and a half essentially maintaining my weight and correcting pregnancy/nursing gains, I know the challenges of lifetime weight management very well. So it's not over, done with, signed and sealed by any means. Every day involves choices I must make that either promote my health and goals or work against them. But there's nothing else for it, this is what I have to do to be healthy, fit, and master my flesh (instead of food mastering me). There's lots of benefits to being smaller, but I try to not lose sight of the fact that my choices, heart, and habits need to be glorifying The Lord above all else, and my body is just a shell I've been given stewardship over for this brief season of life, to manage as best I can. This perspective helps me persist even when I want to cheat, dive into a pile of icecream, and give up the whole fight.

So. 147.0. Wow.

And I *will* take some pictures. Maybe a snapshot tonight after my crazy errand day, and some more formal hallway pictures for the gallery after I dress up this weekend or the next. And I get to officially eat food on Thursday morning. After 58 days on a very low calorie diet, where I cannot come into contact with any lipids or cheat without losing a week of weight loss, I cannot tell you how exciting that is. I've been living on air and caffeine since the end of January and I'm ready to add some cream to the aforementioned caffeine!

Updates forthcoming, have a wonderful morning!

taryl | General | 17 March, 2:06pm | 39 comments

I almost had a heart attack, friends. When I jumped on the scale this morning it flickered, briefly, to 149. I don't think I've ever seen 140-anything in my life. I didn't use a scale until I was in high school, and then I was 160-165 normally, with a brief moment at 157-ish during the height of my physical fitness. Seeing something so low was kind of jaw dropping, especially since I spent yesterday at church and then my friend's home for fellowship until the late evening. I tried my very best to eat on plan, though she gave me dehydrated apple slices and I think I consumed about twice as many as I should have - they were SO good.

After that brief flicker to 149, the scale settled at 150.4 lbs. That is a great loss, I'm very pleased with it. Part of me expects to bounce up a pound tomorrow because I'm weighing several hours later than I normally do (I slept in ). But I'm definitely heading in the right direction and regained almost all ground lost from the cheat last Monday. I got back to 153 by Friday and lost 2.5 pounds in two days from there, which sets me at an average loss per day just slightly below my normal threshold for the round. That's numbers geekiness, but it makes me feel better.

I'm not actually sure what day of P2 I'm on. I want to say this is VLCD40, but I haven't sat down with the calendar and crunched it. Either way I'm amazed I've made it this long and not turned into a food deprived basket case. I'm thinking another 5-10 days on the VLCD (unless I'm feeling like Superwoman and not struggling) and transitioning off should out me firmly in the 140 range.

Surprisingly I'm not struggling nearly as much mentally at this juncture of the round as I was in the first two weeks. It has gotten more natural and 'easier' for me. I'm NOT letting my guard down today, though, as I've had two incidents now of 'relaxing' and justifying cheats after great weigh ins. I'm purposely and intentionally setting myself against that today, and I'm going to pay close attention to my mental chatter to see where that permissiveness might be creeping in. Self sabotage isn't an option if I want to stabilize well, and quite frankly the momentary satisfaction is not worth the longer term detriment of such behavior. I know I enjoy P3 and am looking forward to it very much, in comparison to the VLCD. But as long as I am losing well and not flagging in spirit, I'm happy to continue losing. The max I can do on this last vial for this round is 60 days, but that would push me on the VLCD through a conference (with food provided), two girl birthdays and one husband birthday in this family. That's extremely exhausting to try and persist through, on such a strict food list. I can do it with no starch/no sugar, no sweat. But I'm pretty much positive I want to be done with P2 and the 72 hour transition off of the hCG by March 21st, which would mean my last hCG dose would be in the evening on Tuesday the 18th.

That's the plan and I think another eight days until last dose weigt gives me plenty of time to land in the 140's with my entire weight maintenance window, provided if stay diligent with my habits. Pray for me!

.... And yes, I still need to post pictures. I haven't forgotten!

taryl | General | 10 March, 5:47pm | 39 comments

I don't do a lot of recipe sharing, but I was in the mood for something sweet and whipped up this protein shake. Eating this with some cream and an egg in P3 would actually be phenomenal. But even this stripped down P2 version was quite tasty.

1 serving vanilla protein powder (mine is a mediocre brand I'm trying to finish up)
2 tsp cocoa powder
1-2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 oz sugar free vanilla coffee syrup
24-32 oz water
4 ice cubes.

Blend it all up and enjoy a mocha protein shake. The coffee enhanced the chocolate flavor and the vanilla set it all off nicely. The funky base flavor of the mediocre protein powder was almost completely masked. The ice is just enough to chill it well but it's more of a shake than smoothie, by consistency. That hit the spot.

taryl | General | 9 March, 12:58am | 40 comments

I was writing this to someone in a discussion about maintenance and habits, but as I began typing I realized I needed to do some serious self preaching and remember these truths for myself.

All I can say is that counting is the only way I ever got below 220 pounds, let alone kept it off for multiple years. And basic food logging with simple menus as is *the* way to manage weight without staying on indefinite menus, especially when times are stressful. If I didn't make a three minute a day habit of tracking my intake I know without a doubt I'd be back to at LEAST 190 pounds and likely have never gotten this low. And I really don't know too many folks who are maintaining after hCG (so many yoyo dieters) but the ones who are either a) track or b) remain P3 in perpetuity except for rare treats, as I mentioned somewhere previously.

Something may have to give at some point in either your thinking or goals - we cannot wish for an outcome and not work to secure it, you know? If you're unwilling to do the work to maintain the weight lost I'd truly advise no hCG at all. Because while you may be able to maintain it without ever having to watch a gram of carbs or know the calorie content (even loosely) of a recipe, that's not typical. The only other way to do it that appears successful on these boards is instituting a dietary control like fasting and calorie cycling in place of logging, so the same effect is achieved by different means.

I am on a maintenance board of all different kinds of diets. I can count on a few fingers the number of folks for whom whole foods, intuitive eating had kept off more than just a handful of pounds. Unfortunately, even with hCG, the rules for maintaining a weight reduced body are different than those a normal metabolism abides. My body is very, very sensitive to food and always seeking homeostasis - regaining to previous levels. HCG blunts that, but not entirely. And the protocol is no surefire path for maintenance unless the rules are strictly observed. But it's very hard to live on if you're eating in such a way that correction days are happening regularly.

Losing weight without tracking something - even just volumetrics/exchange plans or carbs - doesn't really happen. If all you are watching is the result on the scale but you're only loosely managing the causative agent of that scale bounce, that's really defeating to your goals. If you're dying to get back into P2 while still having a bunch of weight to lose, how much more challenging will maintenance be when you're trying to keep an even smaller, more highly reduced body? It doesn't get easier, it gets trickier, I'm sad to say

I don't want to see anyone struggle and toil with this endlessly, but nobody can succeed for us but ourselves. Maintenance habits require work, daily work, every meal. That's reality. That's also why so many folks don't ever lose the weight or regain it. For me, it was a stewardship issue - The Lord gave me this body, with this issue. I could let it defeat me, immobilize me, and ruin my quality of life, or I could work hard every day to do the very best with what I had and be faithful in this area. God has been so gracious to me in keeping me humble, growing me in patience, and strengthening my heart and mind to not grow weary of the daily work for years that it requires for my body to be healthy. I am SO blessed this is my only health issue to manage, I just can't see bellyaching about a little food weighing and typing when I have friends going through cancer treatment, stuck with tube feeding, immobile with back pain, losing digits and sensation and visual acuity to diabetes, you name it. God gave me THESE challenges for my good and His glory, and I for one will spend every day of my life seeking to be a wise and faithful servant in this area, like all others. I'm called to take every thought and desire captive to Christ, you know? Not just the easy or convenient ones.

To be alive to kiss my husband and mobile enough to play on the floor with my children - something that was looking dicey when I began this at 22 years old - is worth every moment spent calculating and logging my food and every morning setting myself up for the physical, mental, and yes - spiritual - discipline of maintaining my weight. My obesity hasn't been cured - it is a symptom of an underlying metabolic dysfunction. I'm in remission because of my choices and purposely avoiding engaging the somewhat broken signaling in my fat tissue that lead me to super morbid obesity as a young woman. But if I take for granted, for even a moment, my reduced size? I won't find myself here long. I've been maintaining through neon recent history to know that it only takes me a week or two of not calorie logging or carb counting to see ten pounds come back on, and six times that to take it back off.

So it's a pain, I don't love writing down everything I eat every day for the rest of my life. But if it is what I must do to live healthfully and remain in sound body to serve my family, I'll do it. I have to.

taryl | General | 5 March, 3:57pm | 39 comments

I weighed in on Sunday and, even with my period, was at 153.0.

That's a loss of 5.4 pounds in one week.

And so, so sweet. I finally made it last those previous set points and lows, hormonal stalls from PMS, and got a nice scale reward for the effort. My clothes are fitting wonderfully and some are getting loose, though the mommy tummy is being a bit stubborn I'm noticing visible inches gone in my back, neck, thighs, and hips.

My 100 pounds lost marker was 157. If we're going from my high weight of 275, instead of my official start weight of 257, then I'm down 122 pounds since 2008. I was a 3x/tight size 24, could barely play on the floor with my kids, and generally felt much older and frumpier than I was.

These days I'm five years older, but so much slimmer and happier. Now granted, most of the happiness is changes The Lord has graciously done in my heart and transforming me to be more like him, not specifically weight related. But there is no denying the weight loss has made me lighter in more ways than just pounds. I'm cuter than I was as a teen, something my husband greatly appreciates. I'm setting a good example for my children of persistence, self control, and respecting the body I have been given while working with the limitations of my flesh.

So yeah, 153.0. It felt goooood, friends. And I'm expecting a poor loss next week to balance out the bigger than average loss this week. I'm also feeling really good on P2 and, shock of shocks, I do believe I'll add in the spare vial and hold out as long as I can. Maybe a 50 day round instead of a full 60? We'll see, but I'd LOVE to get down into the low 140 range or even high 130's this round if I could, and use the last round to reshape a bit. But that's putting the cart before the horse - the first order of business is making it patiently through another week of hCG and seeing what it brings in terms of body changes.

Last note - I'm due for pictures, official ones posted on the site's gallery. I meant to take some yesterday but my husband and I were really busy. So I'll be working on getting in some of those this week. But I'm totally due for some pictures and it's on my list :)

taryl | General | 3 March, 5:51pm | 38 comments

158.4 this morning, six days after my last weigh in. That's down 3 pounds from 161.4, which is half a pound per day of losses. Can't complain about that, it's typical for women and I'm very, very weight reduced. This is new territory, though I think I saw 158 when I was 14 years old, in the middle of figure skating and soccer season. But this is .2 pounds below the lowest weight I managed during low carbing and nursing Holly, so I'm officially calling it a new low for me.

This all solidifies that I don't ever want to go above 160 again. I really feel better in my skin in this range and the upper end of this weight is physically getting uncomfortable on my normal, slightly muscular frame. I may change my mind about this a few dozen pounds further down, but I don't think so. I'm 'normal' looking at his weight, even though it is still pudgy for my height. Beyond this I'm flirting with more lumps and bumps than I want.

Exercise was once again abysmal. That's my task this coming week, consistent and short workouts each morning to build my momentum back up. Everything else is fine but that needs some work.

I'm on day 23 of P2. I'm waffling back and forth on beginning another vial or keeping this a 37 day round (40 days, effectively, given the three day transition off of hCG before P3). I would love to end this round in the 140's but I'm not in control of the scale. I'm staying as perfectly on plan as I can and leaving the rest.

My sweet husband, being a numbers guy, crunched the days for me so I could better evaluate whether to make this a 40 or 60 day round (two vs. three vials).

- I began Feb 1st, and if I make this a two vial round I'd be hitting P3 on March 13th, and would be ready to begin round five by April 24th (I'd take a slightly longer P4, so I could get through the birthday season and Mother's day without being on P2).

- If I girded my loins (figuratively speaking) and sucked it up for a three vial round of 60 P2 days, I'd be transitioning to P3 on April 2nd and would then be entering round five on May 14th. That would fit nicely with all my celebratory days but it means an entire additional month on P2 from here. I'm just not sure I have the mental stamina for that.

However if I do a shorter round then the overall time in P2 will effectively be longer, before I can transition to maintenance and try for another baby. That's a big downside. But doing my additional vial in round five sucks equally. So there's no great solution, but I'm leaning toward March 13th unless I'm really zen about the entire thing and don't think it would be overly burdensome to go another twenty days (ha).

Don't let anyone tell you the protocol is an easy way out - to do correctly and healthfully, without regain, it is by far the strictest regimen I've ever been on and requires immense focus, dedication, and care in execution. Even a shake plan like Optifast would be much easier, but it doesn't deal with the underlying hormonal issues regarding adipose regulation. The fact that despite pregnancy, nursing, and time I still stayed around my last dose weight after years or morbid obesity and the physiological reality of being vastly weight reduced already? That says something. For me, it's worth it. But I do have to logically evaluate how to manage my time on plan. Staying on extra days but cheating is inferior to a shorter, clean run. And given how much of this is mental that is a big consideration for me.

So anyway, another week elapsed and good losses for me. Here's to another week on plan, and hopefully with some better exercise adherence ;)

taryl | General | 23 February, 11:29pm | 35 comments

Stepped on the scale and have lost 2.8 pounds in six days. Now this seems pretty piddly for hCG but I'm quite thrilled with it, given that this is lower than my previous round's set point (only three pounds above my lowest weight I managed whole low carbing and breastfeeding), which can cause slow losing and stalls. I also had to eat at a restaurant on Saturday and while I ordered a salad with dry grilled meat and lettuce I couldn't measure any portions and couldn't be sure they prepped the meat in a way that was on plan. So I expected a bounce from that and seeing a loss, however small this week, is not bad at all. I'm hoping next week will put me into new territory with good losses, but am taking it one day at a time.

TTap was abysmal, I've been busy and haven't made it a priority (though I've still managed by bible study time and a fair bit of piano). Waking early has been less frequent with the off schedule days and late nights we've had to pull. Today we intentionally slept in because we're sick and run down, but I'll be back on the normal alarm schedule tomorrow morning. I cannot do heavy workouts during my protocol round as I just don't have the stamina, but light exercise is always a good thing.

Off to hide the scale again - I don't want a repeat of last week where I weighed two days in a row only to see myself bounce from 164.0 to 164.8 in a day, inexplicably. That's a bit demoralizing and I'd rather give it more time and always see a drop. Scale hiding is working beautifully for me right now :)

taryl | General | 17 February, 6:00pm | 43 comments

Just swinging in to say I'm not dead, but busy. We had political work, church activities, work trips, state board trips, school activities, illness, and even managed a small amount of sleep in there.

Diet is going well - I started my 4th hCG protocol round after a year and a half hiatus called "Holly, the Stinky Marvel". I loaded very well on my trip but got norovirus the last day and thus had a rocky start to the round with some excess hunger after vomiting and having diarrhea all day before beginning the VLCD. I'm not weighing daily during the round, but I was down about seven pounds in the first five days, which took care of the weight and bloat from loading and then some. My pants and bras are fitting better now than they have since before Thanksgiving, so that's a great sign. I hate P2, I miss my maintenance eating, but this final push is important.

I'm still debating doing an long round or two normal ones. Part of me warns to just stay in it until I can't stand it anymore but it might be safer for my mental health to split it up. I'm SO ready to be maintaining again and have another baby, but I don't want to have to do more than maintenance again and getting off twenty or thirty pounds would take more than the minimum or perhaps even normal round length. But the thought of keeping this up until the end of March is rather daunting. It's not that I'm physically miserable or anything, I'm not overly hungry, the issues are mostly mental and this protocol requires perfect adherence to be effective, down to donning gloves and changing personal care products. I've blogged extensively about it in the past and won't rehash the basics, but suffice to say that the utter inflexibility and planned, meticulous nature required to properly augment hormones (leptin specifically) in order to prevent muscle wasting and hunger takes a lot of mental energy.

Exercise was good, then shelved for the last three weeks with sickness and being busy. I absolutely have to get going, and now that the worst adjustment period is over I'm ready to resume (lighter) TTap workouts for the duration of my round. Energy is okay but fatigue sets in faster and repair is slower, so my workouts will reflect that.

February has ended up busier than December for my family. That stinks, but there's not much for it. I'm doing great but just wish things were more consistent day to day. It's impossible, given the requirements on our time as a family right now.

I'll be back with another weigh in somewhere in here soon.

taryl | General | 10 February, 6:26pm | 40 comments

One of the wonderful things about ketogenic diets or even moderate carb plans, just out of the ketogenic range, is that most adherents who don't have high levels of carbohydrate intolerance find that their energy partitioning issues self correct. That is to say, calories are irrelevant because their bodies naturally balance their intake and energy expenditure where it needs to be. It's actually a rare bird who need to do strict logging of quantities of food beyond basic counts of carbs and ratios.

Some folks, like my stepmother, even find they get off their excess weight *just* by being 'carb conscious' and eating off low carb lists generally, with no running tally throughout the day of their amount. Basically she cuts out the white stuff and junky snacks and the excess weight just drops, even off her post-menopausal, post-cancer body.

Now, she and my mother, for example, are different. My stepmother has never been overweight, though she did gain excess fat for her frame after her hysterectomy (totally predictable, hormonally). So a simple set of low carb dietary tweaks has taken her off the merry go round that working out and fat-restricting plans like Weight Watchers or LA Fitness weren't managing with any permanency.

But my mother, on the other hand, has a natural propensity to over-fattening and it is easy to see her body puts on more copious padding than my stepmother, given the same food selections. She has to watch her diet more carefully, and cannot do either too many carbs or too many calories, nor can she overeat on fat (she starts feeling sluggish and overeats too easily with energy dense foods that lack bulk). Her carbohydrate intolerance is higher and her metabolism is more damaged from her history of dieting, not to mention there are strong genetic predispositions to fat accumulation in her family that are non-existent with my stepmother. So the solution that works for my stepmom doesn't work for my mom, and I have more profound obesity than either of them ever achieved.

I was obese by the end of puberty, and morbidly obese only a few years later, whereas even my mother has never been as fat in degree and was much older before her weight issues began. I am also much more highly weight reduced than either of them, and have kept it off longer with less yoyoing. But I am more carb sensitive anyway, and combining that with years and dozens of pounds kept off, the strategies I must employ to have a healthy weight for my body are stricter than either of the women above, even though I am younger and my sex hormone ratios are better for leanness than a woman who is beyond childbearing. The two women above can manage their weight with basic changes, then the other with changes and tracking satiety and carb/fat grams. I have to go further still, in altering my dietary composition, tracking overall food intake, and watching my ratios as well. I don't have the same natural appetite correction without an external indicator, unlike them.

All this to say - three different women, three different degrees of dysfunction, three different solutions. Most people are closer to their end of the spectrum than mine. Consider that the online low carb community not a representative sampling of the public at large - the likelihood of dieters with more and more severe weight regulation problems are going to be increasingly likely to seek help from blogs and online forums than your average, run of the mill adult with middle age spread. I think we can sometimes get an imbalanced picture of what it takes to correct most dietary problems because we see folks here with profound chemical imbalances who have to tweak fastidiously and eat very strictly to correct their chemistry. Like me, or many of the Nutritional Ketosis folks. It can be easy to forget that 80% of the population, just watching their carbs and eliminating all sugar and starch products or processed foods may naturally restrict their carbs enough in that simple action to manage most of their excess adiposity. If they only spent the rest of their lives not reintroducing rice, potatoes, or fruit juice except for the rare occasion (once every month or three) their bodies would likely regulate their energy partitioning enough that further tracking of overall intake or even carb grams would be unnecessary for them to achieve a normal body weight.

taryl | General | 26 December, 4:41pm | 44 comments

Just peeking my head in to say hi.

Diet has not been as on as I have wanted, but I won't give up. Yesterday was good, today has been stellar so far, and though my clothes are still tighter than I'd like they have not gotten worse. In fact, my face is looking thinner than it did last week, despite an indiscretion over the weekend with a box of chocolate. Stress and laziness were the issues with that one, but I didn't let it get me down or defeat me.

I confess I'm looking forward to Christmas. Eating without counting or feeling like I'm cheating will be a nice break. And then I'm SUPER pumped to get back on the wagon and drop the extra holiday weight. My plan is that if I'm not pregnant this month (I should know by the new year) I will be doing another hCG round or two to drop the last twenty pounds I want off. And if I am blessed with another baby, I'll just keep right on with my low carb eating (which is my natural default these days, anyway) and keep my overall body composition stable and healthy while growing another human. In my experience I lose weight and create new set points much more easily with hCG, and the way it acts upon my hormones. But low carb works great once I'm where I want to be, I just struggle to lose more weight like this. Some of that is the nature of being so weight reduced, already. If I never lost another pound I could be perfectly happy. But I'm still feeling like I want to go down a bit more if circumstances work out that I can. I mulled it over and that was my decision - one I feel really good about. I win either way - another baby or more weight off, both would be excellent.

Was sick this weekend and slept in, missing church yesterday. Feeling better today and woke up when I was supposed to, got in my bible and TTap. I'm taking a mini piano vacation until Christmas, at this point, because there's just too much else to do. I feel good about that choice, too, and my next lesson isn't until the 9th so I have plenty of time to work my pieces once the holiday craziness passes.

And that's my mini update :)

taryl | General | 23 December, 8:42pm | 38 comments

Yesterday Callie had an orthodontic appointment quite early, as I mentioned on here. We went to IHOP afterward for breakfast. It went pretty smoothly by my estimation, the older kids were a little loud and fidgety, as children often are, but behaved as I expect them to when we're in public. Holly was having a rough day and decided to whine the entire meal, so I ended up holding her and feeding her on my lap, packing my food to go.

A lady was seated at the table next to us (and I remember thinking that I felt badly for her and hoped we weren't disrupting her morning, being a fairly loud bunch) who offered to helped me grab some syrup for the kids I couldn't reach. I declined, simply due to the sticky mess :). And that was that.

So you can imagine my surprise, when I was shuffling my food into a box and trying to get the kids to finish up, when this older woman gets up, walks to our table, and absconds the bill before I can even look at it, saying that breakfast was on her. I'm pretty sure my jaw hung open, and then I jokingly asked if it looked like my morning had been that rough. She smiled and said no, just that she was very impressed with my family. I thanked her profusely and allowed her to help us, especially since money has been tight for us this week with the extra gift expenses, bills due, computer failures, you name it.

Her kindness made my morning. And knowing what an impatient, epic failure of a mother I am most days (praise The Lord for His goodness to forgive me, every time, and my sweet children, who are quick to forgive their mommy as well) it just made my morning to hear someone compliment us. I often feel like a bit of a circus act these days, so apparently I'm pulling off the show with some degree of gusto, if not competence ;)

I just wanted to share that story - I was blown away that someone would do that for us.

taryl | General | 19 December, 3:34pm | 44 comments

Good morning! Time to give a quick rundown of what's going on,

Things I'm proud of: Workouts! Even yesterday and today, where I have schedule disrupting events early on the morning, I have still managed a short workout to get warmed up, woken up, and nice and loose for the day. I can feel such a difference in my body's responsiveness and my mental alertness, too, when I get the blood pumping. Yesterday was just a primary back stretch (I had five minutes to work out!) and today was MORE Chair, my go-to short workout. I felt a bit of a burn, especially through my shoulders, and my activation was great. Yay for me.

Waking up! Yes, I'm still proud of myself for this one, because it is such a huge shift for me and it'd be easy to slack on it if I wanted to. I'm sick, I'm busy, and our nights have been about two hours too late for us to get adequate rest. It sucks. But I still keep getting up and doing my very best to slam through my morning to-do list, and that makes me very proud.

Things that still need work: Food! Yes, I've been doing okay with just tracking and not weighing. But I've also had some overeating and bad planning (most of my overeating is bad planning - I don't space my meals well and end up eating an extra one at the end of the day, or it blow my calories on things that don't fill me up, and then end up hungry but with no budget left to spend). I've also been doing too many licks and tastes of things I shouldn't, like when adjusting the porridge for the children's breakfast. I can do it with just my nose, thoug it is tough, or a very small tongue touch. No don't need half a carb and 10 extra calories from a full spoon lick, no matter how yummy it is. This is just a laziness issue, really, and I need to tighten it up.

Piano! Well, okay, I've actually been doing really well at getting in some practice most days of the week. But I've been letting my bible study run long, which is great! But that time has to come from somewhere, and it's usually piano. So then I get a 20-30 minute practice when I really need double that. And days like yesterday and today (9 am bible study and 9:20 orthodontics for Callie, on the other side of town and an hour drive at this time of the day) where I am having to get ready more fully and move the kiddos out, too? Piano doesn't fit in at all. A short bible study and short workout are even pushing it, with the time it takes to get my makeup on, lunches packed car warmed up and scraped, and grumpy children in snowsuits and buckled. And then when I miss my morning piano block, it's a crapshoot as to whether I'll have the time or inclination to fit it in later. This isn't the end of the world, but it needs some work - leading to the next line item.

Sleep! Yes, I'm waking up on time, more or less, and doing worlds better on this point.n but we've been getting into bed late, sometimes beyond our control and sometimes due to me not diligently waking the kids from their nap on time, and other similar scheduling issues. When we get into bed late, it makes waking at the first alarm almost impossible, but I really need to have my butt in gear and dressed by 5:30, as opposed to 6:00. That extra half an hour makes a difference in how much I can get done during the morning block, and that is my very best shot at completing my day satisfactorily and without big chunks missing.

Chores! I haven't yet worked out a consistent time to do daily cleaning, especially my own tasks (the kids are a little easier in this respect). Some is overrun on homeschool, most of the issue is just needing to give the day a good pike and figure out what works for this season of life. Realistically, I'm not addressing this before Christmas.

And that's what's going on with me today. Makeup and lunch packing time, then off to get some teeth examined. Callie has a crossbite we want to address, while the fix is cheap and fairly painless.

taryl | General | 18 December, 4:14pm | 39 comments

Hit the Floor Softer.

The "Hit" is correct - the DVD is a sledgehammer to your abs, start to finish.

"Floor" is accurate enough. Everything is horizontal. Which, if you're my obliques, is quite the daunting mission.

"Softer". This part would be where I snort and ask, in what universe, a half hour of full body activated, isometric ab exercises, constitutes a "softer" workout.

I've had this TTap DVD for awhile. I've done in maybe four times (it is impossible to do when pregnant, and I acquired it only a few months before I was pregnant with Holly. It's also bad to do postpartum, at least until fully healed. Yeah - with the description above and contraindications, it shouldn't be hard to see why this has been low in my workout rotation.

I also own the Hit the Floor DVD, which is a level up from "Softer". Is it any wonder why I've never done more than watch that one from my perch on the couch, sipping a drink? If a punch to the stomach is softer, you can imagine my intimidation at attempting a level up. And this workout can be done with weighted shoes for added intensity.

Ha.

Hahahaha.

I survived (barely) "Softer" today. I feel pretty good, considering you could torture Gitmo detainees with this sucker. And yes, I will probably be delirious enough one of these early mornings to 'accidentally' throw myself into HTF, since HTF"S" is ever so easy. But for right now, I'm content to wring myself dry on an "easier" workout.

Unfortunately the husband and myself keep getting up later than we should, I really need to rouse myself at 5 am to fit in both a longer workout AND piano after bible study in the mornings. So piano is left for today, probably to be done during naptime or when the kids are playing outside. Still, world of improvement on what is getting done now, as opposed to previously when I was sleeping in. I actually did choose to sleep in an hour and a half or so yesterday, because I have a cold I can't shake and thought it might help. But I nearly got myself up anyway, as I was fairly mentally alert and it was just my body that was dragging. I'm not sure the sleeping helped and I had no desire to repeat it this morning. I'm pretty much whole hog with waking earlier now, and going back to the previous schedule sounds completely undesirable. I'd rather take advantage of my scheduled free time for a nap with the kids, than get it in the morning. When I'm laying in bed it always sounds so nice to keep laying there, but it's just not worth it.

Eating has been okay - I went over on calories the last two nights, some of it by choice and some by poor meal planning and compensation. But I still look and feel more trim and fortunately, getting in these early workouts gives me a little more cushion to eat more without consequences. I can't and won't do it daily, but it's not a huge deal to have an extra hunk of cheese or a big, rich salad that I didn't have room to consume in my food log. My goal for today is clean adherence to calorie budget and not lazing out on the rest of my duties.

Now I'm off to hobble upstairs and nurse the baby. Hopefully she doesn't need use of my core strength, because it has taken a vacation and left a burning ache in its wake. "Softer", pfft.

taryl | General | 13 December, 5:16pm | 48 comments

Remind me, when I get lazy on my TTap, to not to.

My skirts are already fitting worlds better at the same weight, simply because my abdominal tone us getting back up. Just a week of TTap had to have tightened up my waist measurement by at least two inches. Like, visibly done so. I even ate about three ounces too much salami last night (whoops, that's what I get for poor meal planning during an overly busy day) and have no scale to give me feedback, but just going by bloat, pudge, and clothing, positive changes are ahoy.

It was getting to the point where I didn't want to wear two of my Hannah Lise skirts, because they caused such an obvious waist roll. And what's more ridiculous, I bought them at a few pounds higher than this weight and they fit better. Ehat was different then? I was T-Tapping! While the scale is all well and good, being comfortable in my own skin and looking attractive in my clothing, for my sake and my husband's, is really what I'm after. TTap and the suitable diet of your choice (for your specific needs and preferences) does it every time.

This is my THIRD go-around discovering this, and maybe this time it will stick.

Every time my eating is good and I'm doing my TTap DVDs, I look awesome.

Every time my eating is right on and I'm not doing my DVDs, I begin looking flabby.

Every time my eating is lazy and my body is too, I gain real weight and things get tight.

So the solution? Avoid all forms of dietary and activity-related laziness. It is a half hour of my day or so to do a DVD, and my food logging and measuring is automatic. For so little effort expended the payout is immense, and the consequences of not doing these things are unacceptably high in my book. Short of a real and pressing reason, like postpartum healing or illness, I need to stay on track with both things most of the time. Learn from my mistakes, friends, and do your tapping dutifully. It pays off in energy, appearance, and good old fashioned strength. And we mommies need all of those things to serve our Lord, spouses, and offspring.

Quick daily update - Bible study done. TTap done. Piano commencing. We had a night about an hour later than we should have yesterday evening, thanks to that aforementioned overly busy day. We both felt it this morning, and got going half an hour late. And how late am I on beginning piano? Oh yeah, half an hour. Hmmm...

Eating was okay yesterday, though I had a tantrum moment and ate a slice of fruitcake in the middle of the crazy errands. Fortunately the rest of my day was on track with food types and calories, until I went for an evening snack of salami and a hamburger patty. Of the things I could have eaten after my official dinner, those were excellent snack choices. But I wasn't physically hungry and should have just had tea instead of munched. Duly noted and filed, today is much more normal for time and activities.

And a quick praise - I've been working on scripture memory, my current passage is Psalm 103. I kept tripping up over a section to the point where I've picked it up and put it down three times since March! It was like a roadblock, and then when life intervened it was easy to get lazy on memory work (newborn and all) along with every other activity that I'm spending my morning on these days. But The Lord prodded me on the issue and we have a providentially timely bible study going through Susan Heck's "A Call to Scripture Memory". I'd already read through it when I initially was moved to get over my excuses about memory work and view them as they are - a vital part of my daily walk as a believer. But redoing the study solidified this in my mind.

And how now? In doing my memory work and meditation on scripture again, I'm seeing more peaceful days and Christ centered thoughts. As with everything else in this post, you'd think I'd learn and not fall into a recidivism of laziness again. Seriously, this is so predictable. Someone can just email me this entry the next time I'm justifying all the reasons why I haven't done _________ in a week!

taryl | General | 10 December, 5:11pm | 72 comments

I've been kicked in the read this morning.

Well, maybe not a kick in the rear so much as a punch between the shoulder blades.

I purchased the TTap DVD, Tempo Arms, during my pregnancy with Holly. I never did manage to work it into my workout schedule, as I was always pressed for time and tired by the time I'd get to my 7 pm workout block in the evening. So I did shorter workouts instead, and did quite well.

But now I'm waking up at 5:00 and drinking coffee/doing bible study by 6:00, then working out at 7 am every morning. And while it looks like I may need to be downstairs and down my bible study half an hour earlier to get in a full workout routine AND piano afterward (as it is 8 am now and I still need to practice, but the kids also need waking), I am finding it much easier to work in a heavy TTap rotation this early in the morning. It pumps me up for the day and fully wakes me up, but I still have enough energy to give a solid effort.

So long story short, with my new schedule of bible study/workout/piano practice in the mornings, I was brave and jumped into Tempo Arms.

Wow.

It's short, just shy of 30 minutes, but from the sped up intro workout (what Teresa calls her Primary Back stretch, except this one is quicker and more intense than her beginner level version) through to the hoedowns at the end, the entire thing is fast and intense. There's only one pause for a ten second water break, and multiple repetitions of her arm and back workout regimen. Deltoids, triceps, lats, and pecs all done with isometrics and TTap form, which means tight quads and abs the entire time. It's a full body workout with a slight upper body emphasis, truth be told. I am thoroughly fatigued after that sucker, and imagine when I wake up tomorrow I'll be feeling it in every tiny back muscle I didn't even know I had.

It was fun, too. And challenging. Like all TTap routines, it never gets easy, because as you get better at the exercises your form should also improve, which ups both intensity and efficacy.

It's not one of her longer workouts, but it has many elements of them (the arm exercises are from her Basic Plus, a Total Workout, and MORE routines, but faster, to a tempo, and with form tweaks to focus the effort on the arm and shoulder muscle groups). I am a bit glad I didn't try it out for the first time while pregnant or immediately postpartum, as my fitness level was good but stamina and RQ was poor, in particular, with the strain of making a human. Getting out of breath and fatigued more quickly may have made this unpleasant and traumatized me out of doing it. So it was great I waited. Because now I'm a big fan, even as a quiver like a jellyfish in the tide.

TTap Tempo Arms gets an A grade from me. The only thing hindering it from an A+ is that it is just the workout and no instruction or slower version, but this is inherent in the fact that it is NOT a beginner TTap workout and expects you to have a working, practical knowledge of both the Basic and Total workouts. The need for additional instruction or a slower speed is covered in those DVDs, so this one is just a supplement for an experienced tapper looking to switch up the daily routine or focus on upper body more specifically. Still, I have experience and it was definitely quick the first time through. I imagine my next workout with it will go much more smoothly since I know what to expect, both in exercise sequence and tempo.

*****

On to a more general update - I had my husband hide the scale from me again. I'm focusing on working out and plan adherence until the day before Christmas. I am SO enjoying being back in the saddle with TTap and always feel this way once I stop slacking off, but this workout is incredibly intense strength training, and full body, so I retain water like a whale if you just go by the scale number. However I also visibly shrink and gain muscle definition, too. So with TTap the scale becomes a poor indicator because it confounds that metric even as it gives real life results. It's those results, with energy and stability and strength and trimness, that I'm after. Thus, my scale is obsolete for now.

Furthering that obsolescence, my hormones are back and cyclical, so part of the month I bounce or appear to gain on the scale due to water retention with my progesterone levels (yay luteal phase - NOT!). I know that, nursing or not, if I'm eating in the 18-1900 calorie range and 25-35 net carbs, I WILL lose weight at a fairly fast clip. And even with a higher calorie day once a week for a date, I still will, at worst, maintain. And I have to seriously overeat during a week for that to be the case (which it was, a few months back). Even without nursing or working out, just tracking my food like that will result in physical maintenance or improvements. That is not maintenance calories or carbs for this size of my body. Overeating by ten or twenty more carbs and 400 more calories was maintainance or slight gains at this size.

Thus, I'm perfectly comfortable and even pleased to ditch the scale for a few weeks and allow just working out and returning to my comfortable by weight deficit calorie/carb amount to be my metrics. I want to check in the day before Christmas, as I would like a baseline for my weight before I eat the next day and see some water retention as I recover from it. Christmas is one of my few days of the year I will allow the carbs and foods I've been craving but cannot eat in any regular or frequent fashion. I'll probably then spend another week or two back on my normal intake level and then weigh in again to make sure more adjustments don't need to be made.

At this point in life and diet, the scale isn't nearly as crucial for me as it used to be. It's a strange place to be, as I am a staunch advocate of daily weighing and weight tracking for maintenance. But I've done this for multiple years now, and I know that I only need that scale input when either my carbs or calories are up beyond my current levels. That's when I'm toeing the line and have to watch carefully to prevent gains. At my current size and condition, I have zero need for the scale if I'm on plan in the way I've outlined above.

The gameplan moving forward is that I'm going to switch to monthly or quarterly weigh-ins as long as I'm having weight loss mojo (the happy headspace where diet is easy and exercise is consistent) and am not pregnant. If I start to struggle, as I did earlier in the fall, I will probably switch back to more frequent weighing to rein things in for a bit. But I've hit the point with my body and plan that I am confident and totally comfortable with not bothering with the scale. I'm small enough now (wow, how cool is that?!) that I can tell if I've overdone it by my waistband and bra band being tight, if for some miraculous reason my daily food journal isn't clearly spelling out the reason. As always, I HAVE to trumpet the excellence of tracking food intake and measuring for weight management. It's so easy and helpful, it makes pinpointing gains and problems with diet very straightforward. It, like a daily weight log, can tell the story of what your body is doing in a way few other things can. It's not a complete picture, but a useful component to understand.

As a final update, obviously the earlier waking is working well. Very well. Maybe too well, as I'm toast by 7 pm in the evening and ready for bed :). And I slept in on Saturday while my husband did breakfast with the kids - big mistake. I felt behind the ball the entire morning and didn't get many tasks accomplished to satisfaction. I also stayed up too late Saturday night and it made Sunday a bear. A friend discussed with me that her family realized sleeping in on the weekends was doing more harm than good to their schedules and bodies, too, and so they adopted a consistent wake time for each day of the week. I nodded and smiled, but didn't feel any logic or reason in me doing the same thing, but I see it now. I told my husband we're better off just setting the alarm for 5-6 am every day and being consistently early with bedtime, and he agreed to give it a try. The need to sleep later on the weekend is abolished, by and large, by getting enough rest each night. I'm not promising I won't nap in the afternoon if I'm sick or we've had a rough night with the kids, but I have a naptime scheduled if I need it and the benefits of early waking are too big to be ignored.

I'm a huge nightowl, so this is quite the conversion tale. But I'm a believer in early mornings now. Shock.

taryl | General | 9 December, 5:27pm | 39 comments

Checking in with a confirmation that, not only was I tired and ready for bed at 9 pm last night (huge improvement from midnight or later), but that I did fine again this morning with my TTap and bible study. Didn't fit in piano, as my husband's alarm went off and got turned off (thus cutting a half hour out of our morning when we woke up late), but another day of success. I definitely make coffee first thing, but it hadn't been overly difficult to adjust to this rhythm so far except that I have to keep my attention from wandering and time wasting. Some strategies include not checking my email or web browsing before my bible study is done - does marvels in this area ;)

Getting back to TTap has been good, but I confess I do feel like some bludgeoned me repeatedly. The first three days back to it are always challenging, and then it magically gets better and the epic, full body soreness goes away.

******

Someone online was asking if they could have diet coke on their low carb meal plan. There is a lot of confusion about this thanks to bad science and food purism to ridiculous degrees, but here are my thoughts.

If artificial sweeteners greatly impacted losses in and of themselves, I'd still be morbidly obese. They may cause cravings or be associated with overeating, but I keep a strict log of all food consumed and as long as that is in line I can pound back all the diet coke, tea, and coffee I can stand and still see excellent losses.

Of course, I do moderate all three of those substances for other reasons unrelated to weight loss (hyper squirrel syndrome ) but in my experience they are reasonably inert with regard to weight loss. Individual sensitivity, as always, may vary, but the studies done in this area that don't have major confirmation bias or confounders do seem to support that, for weight management, zero calorie beverages are neutral or have slight bias to either side of that (depends on the study, depends on the particular beverage).

All that to say, there are much bigger dietary fish to fry for most folks - if your eating is so solid that the only possible issue might be diet drink consumption within normal limits and servings, you're quite on your way to successful weight management. But that's the thing - people oftentimes would rather fight over small things like sweeteners or tweak a coffee recipe than deal with the glaring issues in their diets like weekend cheats, thousands of excess calories, or consistently yoyoing because of a lack of livable dietary strategy. Don't fall in the trap of the minutiae - keep this and all other diet and lifestyle issues in perspective.

taryl | General | 4 December, 6:14pm | 40 comments

I'm dusting off this blog, as I've neglected updating once again!

I've been lazy on exercise and that's over with - I did my first TTAP in weeks this morning and have nice, shaky muscles and a loose back and neck for it. Much better than the ball of tightness and fatigue I've been. Weight has been bouncing, though I achieved my Thanksgiving goal of eating what sounded good at that day, and getting immediately back on plan. I managed stuffing and sweet potatoes and didn't let it drag into Friday. That's epic and I'm proud of myself.

I'm almost in a non-weighing mode again. I know what I need to do (stay on plan not only with food, but calorie levels, and exercise more consistently for a whole boatload of reasons beyond my weight). I'm doing it now. So the scale input is helpful, but only barely. I'm debating stashing it until the new year and going into another non-weighing mode where my food tracking is my main litmus. I seem to do very well like that, by and large.

Part of my dinking around the past few months has been a complete inconsistency in personal schedule. I do better with consistency and rigor, but I'm lazy and a procrastinator by nature, and that can be hard to overcome when I have a very legitimate excuse like an infant waking through the night, or in my bed. But Holly is sleeping through the night most nights, and in room with the other girls. And quite frankly, though sleep is nice, my entire day is thrown off when I sleep in and don't wake and get things done. It's also hard for my husband, as he wakes very early and then stays up with me, but I'm less tired than him and push bedtime later and later (as a natural night owl).

So the solution to this is to get up with my husband, at 5:00 or 5:30, at the latest. This is working well for two reasons: One, it is built in accountability with him already bustling about and me joining him; and two, by the time I have to wake the kids up (at 8 am) I already have my bible study, workout, and piano practice squared away. These are the three things I keep not fitting into the rest of my day consistently, and all are crucial for my life and health for their individual and specific reasons. I'm blogging before getting ready for my Ladies Bible Study this morning, after having done an hour of study and a solid workout (piano won't fit with my schedule for getting out the door on time by 8:45, but every other weekday it should work just fine). Not only do I have a chunk of my to-do list now checked off and tucked away, I am coffee'd up, alert, and have had plenty of time to relax and get my head organized before managing the getting ready/breakfast/ school thing. This is huge.

I've been struggling much with my diligence in these areas and the morning has been pushed later and later. This makes us late for schooltime, cuts into playtime for the kids, makes lunch and nap run late, then everything else has been an hour or more later into the evening, and the children aren't even in bed until 9 pm (which is supposed to be OUR bedtime, as adults). My poor husband, waking up three hours earlier than me, keeps going to bed at the same time as me and is horribly sleep deprived for it. So for his sake, I need to be exhausted by bedtime and pushing for it, and the kids needs to be on schedule, and we'll ALL get more consistent sleep. The upside is that my own day is more ordered, more calm, and accomplishes more to help him. I also sin less in this sort of schedule, at least in the areas of anger and impatience, because I'm not behind the ball and rushing everyone else like a drill sergeant, all because *I* fell behind and am mad about it. That's not fair to the kids and it is SO manageable. I haven't been doing it, I got out of the habit of consistent waking and a better schedule, and we suffered for it. So no more.

In other, but related, news:

Diet is going well, nursing has tapered down a bit as Holly is a big solids eater, so I have to now watch my calories more carefully as my milk production diminishes. The upside to this is that my hunger has ratcheted down a bit, too, so I can go longer without eating and eat less without gnawing my arm off. The downside of this is that my period has returned and now I have the monthly luteal phase junk with hunger, tiredness, and a small breakout. Can I give a big shoutout to my ketogenic diet, however, in totally easing these symptoms? I noticed my nose breaking out a bit in hormonal acne right before my period. I noticed, and this is amazing - you see, I used to break out so readily and regularly that I couldn't tell if it was hormones or not; I always had spots! Now I NEVER have zits, except the occasional tiny whitehead if I rest my hand on my face too much, and this is once every week or three. So when I got three small zits in short order, for no discernible reason, that was my clue my period was impending when the other symptoms left me unsure (with nursing my cycle has been longer and irregular). Sure enough, I was right. My diet is so balancing and low inflammation that I actually can note things like progesterone surges and see their effect, because I function normally and my body isn't a haywire mess anymore. Thank you, Dr. Atkins.

And that's all the update I have time to fit, I must rush off to do my makeup and go scrape the car (in freezing weather) to make it to Bible Study in time. I keep hoping I'll check in here more frequently, but it hasn't been happening. The food news is that my lack of updates only signal that I've been busy, not any big issues with diet. And despite the incredibly early morning, I'm feeling energized and excited at how much I've already accomplished. It may be tougher in the coming weeks, when the novelty of a working schedule (finally! Again!) wears off, but then the habit will be set and, since my husband works regardless, it will be a hard one for me to get lazy on and break. His help in this has been huge, and I only hope the changes I've made can then help him in return. He NEEDS me to do better than I have been on keeping the day under control, and is too kind to ever bring it up. But I have noticed and want to fix this for his sake and myself and the children, too.

taryl | General | 3 December, 4:50pm | 38 comments

Hello there! Long time, no blog. And it's for no bad reason - just continual laziness with working out and nothing bit to report on the eating front. My weight bounced around after my trip to California, in the 158-160 range. It went up to 162 with some overeating, and 164-168 while I was sick, which was insane water retention.

Long story short despite some overeating days and even falling into a batch of brownies and having an actual, off-plan food CHEAT with them (almost unheard of for me) I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and got with the program. Now I'm back to 159, which is just a pound above where my weight was when I last went to California. And I'm continuing on my way down the scale, as well as I can. I've hit that point in breastfeeding where my body isn't holding onto every spare ounce with such vigor, so the weight is coming off a bit easier (yay!).

Unfortunately I'm going back to California again this Thursday, for my grandfather's funeral. I'll be the same size I was when I visited over Labor Day, which is a victory in and of itself with how lazy and undisciplined my eating has been. I'm thrilled to see my family again, though I wish it was for a happier occasion. It has been a crazy few weeks and that isn't abating this week, either. The baby will be with me, since she still nurses and I don't have any desire to wean her. Then it's a whirlwind few days of family and memorial, then back to Alaska Sunday afternoon. As always, I will stay on plan to the very best of my abilities when I am down there. Low carb for life, and all that ;)

If anyone needed evidence that all calories aren't created equal, consider the extra thousands of calories I ate over the last two months, of hugely energy dense food (cheese, nut butters, dark chocolate, etc) and the fact that I only gained a measly four pounds from it, which came off promptly once I stopped messing around? If I was doing that on brownies and sandwiches instead, with the same calories and frequency, I'd easily be up ten to fifteen pounds. But being in ketosis and eating these particular foods, suppressing my carbs heavily, makes me very resistant to weight gain. For someone 100-120-ish pounds weight reduced, WITH mommy hormones (progesterone, ugh) promoting fat storage, this is pretty self-evidently amazing. If I wasn't convinced of my own dietary choices before I certainly am now - my health, weight, and appearance all attest to the power of keeping carbs and all processed foods low, fat high, and protein plentiful but not overly abundant.

So I'm 159 today, and will probably be bloated from traveling until the middle of next week. But I'm not fallen off the wagon, dead, or giving up in any fashion. My clothes still fit well, though I can TOTALLY see the effect being lazy on my workouts has had on my muscle tone. I'm working to pick that back up among my other hobbies - sewing, knitting, embroidery, piano, reading, those all vie for pretty scarce free time in my life as a homemaker, mommy, homeschooler, friend, etc. But just as with my eating, I refuse to quit with my working out. I WILL be victorious and get back into a routine with my T-Tap, now that Holly is not sleeping in our room anymore and we have a new rhythm to our family schedule (it changes every season).

I'm here and chugging along, doing my best. I hope the same for all my dear friends out there :)

taryl | General | 6 November, 1:20am | 53 comments

I was responding to someone online today who posted about 'the morning after'. They were asking how to best respond to a cheat - Drastic dietary measures? Guilt? Here was my response, and it was good to type out to remind myself, if nothing else, why I am here now instead of where I was five years ago, plus more weight gained.

I just posted about this a day or three ago - the way I've lost weight and kept it off is through failure. I fail at my plan all the time - eat too much, have extra cheese, chocolate, whatever. I've slipped up more times than I can easily count even in just the last few months.

But I managed to 'fail' off 100 pounds, and keep it off with very little fluctuation through two pregnancies, stress, and numerous dietary slip ups.

The key? It isn't 'never failing', that's for sure! The secret is to never, EVER give up. Never throw in the towel. Never quit. Never assume that because you popped one tire that it makes sense to slash the other three. Never give yourself permission to indulge, because hey, the day's shot, right?

When the horse throws you off, you get right back on. Not a day later or on a Monday. Not after the next major holiday. The VERY next choice is yours to make, and no past decisions have any bearing on your success or failure in that moment. The very next choice is yours, under your complete control, and you can make it a good, health promoting one. We build these journeys by each choice we make. We don't have the future, we can't change the past. But this very moment, that's OURS. A refusal to give that up to neuroticism, punishment, failure, or the enemy-of-the-good, that's up to you.

How do you lose weight and maintain that loss? Not through perfection, but through grit determination. Stubbornness. *Persistence*. If you never quit, you cannot fail. It's all just part of the process.

taryl | General | 30 October, 4:10am | 37 comments

Redacted off the Daily Mail, Obesity in the UK

His initial assessments on patient behavior, demands, and the response to them aren't wrong on their face. But he is assigning blame incorrectly because he is asking the wrong question. I'm not sure if this is a moral impulse or just a lack of intellectual curiosity - it may even be that his training and paradigm are so set that thinking outside of them just hasn't even occurred to him.

Yes, people are eating more.

Yes, the food is different and should, theoretically, be satiating the body better for the calorie ratio to volume (if his operating paradigm is correct, of course).

Yes, people are burning less calories both in intentional exercise and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).

But he is assuming the cause is behavioral, based on people's words and choices in his office and their lifestyle, beyond. He isn't actually asking what I'd posit is the key question - what is going on with hunger? Hunger is a real biological response. It is crucial to survival and driven by multiple chemicals in the body and intensely complex feedback mechanisms across our system. Gluttony and choices are all well and good, but assuming most folks are grossly overeating their calorie needs for years on end, with no apparent effect from the body's built in feedback system for hunger and satiety, is a gross oversight that an objective look at the evidence would allow.

The problem is hunger, and what is driving our hunger, fat storage, and inappropriate use of those fat stores in favor of more consumed energy. And this is compounded by the more behavioral problem of the aforementioned observer not being objective, whatever their reasons. Plenty of individuals from journalists to cardiologists to moms to rural goat farmers, have looked at dietary data and come to these conclusions that hunger is being inappropriately signaled, satiety overridden, and obesity and excess appetite and sluggishness are the symptoms and not causative in nature. Many of us have experienced this for ourselves though dietary changes that have 'magically' cured years of disordered consumption and 'failures of willpower'. But unfortunately there is much resistance among many health practitioners, as well as true ignorance at play, preventing dissemination of this information and action on it. And yes, then there's the consumer and the reality that a fair portion of people just don't want to change their habits for life to gain health or a particular size.

All this I am convinced to be true, but what to do about it beyond individual choice and telling whoever is interested, eludes me.

taryl | General | 20 October, 7:56am | 32 comments

I realized how long it had been since a blog post, some time in the middle of the rush this past week. So a quick note was in order. Diet is pretty good - lots of maintaining eating, not a lot of calorie deficit, but I'm okay with that. I'm doing better this week after a few of struggle against hunger and emotional eating. Like so many things, diet enthusiasm waxes and wanes for me. The good news is that my default is maintenance, not regaining. Not backsliding into my pre-loss habits. Not refusing accountability. I will be weighing in the second week of October and don't expect to have dropped much more weight than I'd done before my trip, but I do hope I can surmount that half pound left to 100 pounds lost (from when I began my official count). My clothes all fit great, so even with numerous higher-than-desired days in there, my eating seems to be mostly keeping pace with my burn from making milk.

Things have been so busy. I'm struggling with juggling the entire family schedule, hobby time, music, and exercise, too. Exercise has been the ball first dropped, piano practice second. I'm working on it, but retooling the family schedule (again) to fit each new life stage is a big task and one I'm nibbling away. Discipline with waking up early enough to stay on track has been one of the biggest sticking points, but with a baby who nurses anywhere from once to three or four times a night is a challenge and extra sleep has been consistently more valuable to me than waking two hours earlier to get more done. Thankfully that is changing as Holly ages, and I'm becoming more diligent and purposeful with my time again, instead of just surviving and feeling like I'm barely treading water. God has been good in answering my prayers in this area, but a lot of it has been showing me my own lazy tendencies and prioritizing, more than any miraculous interventions ;)

Much of my spare (ha!) time that isn't focused on getting the home running has been aimed on crafting. I have PILES of knitting that need completion,and recently dove back into sewing with a vengeance. My new personal project is sewing a ton and regularly, learning as much as I can and making clothes, to see if my dislike of the craft is because I don't actually like sewing, or if it has just been surmounting the learning curve and the slowness of setup-takedown that drives me nuts. I'm semi-permanently taking over my dining room, so that helps with not having to do a half hour of setup and cleanup each time I sew a stitch. Getting proper equipment and researching some additional dressmaking techniques and tips has also helped. I have spent the past week fixing my grandmother's vintage machine and refinishing the cabinet it came in (more on that over at the Aurora Fiber Arts blog), and have been bitten hard by the vintage machine bug. I find these older machines much more reliable and pleasurable to sew on.

Let's see - we homeschool year round so not much change on our daily lessons, but it is nice to be back into the fall schedule for the rest of the world. We resumed swimming and Lilah began piano lessons with Callie's teacher, which has added to our workload but in a positive way. My husband, as always, is the busiest family member of all. Today he's pouring a pad for the stairs of our deck and running a million and one errands.

I think that's the bulk of the update. Time to put the kids to nap!

taryl | General | 21 September, 9:35pm | 33 comments

That's what I weigh right now. A little higher when I eat too much salt or late at night. Half a pound shy of 100 pounds lost from my start weight, and about 115-120 from my highest weight ever.

I fly out to see my family tonight, and I'm loosening up and not tracking calories for this little vacation (carbs will still be kept in line and I won't eat anything but low carb fare, just like I did over Christmas). When I get back home on Wednesday I will put my scale away again and work on remaining on plan until October, where I'll take another weigh in and reassess whether to call that weight goal or keep at it longer. I'm happy here, as a size 10/busty medium/32HH, etc. I'd like to be smaller - maybe a size 6? But I'm not going to figuratively kill myself to get there, either. I'm going to have more pregnancies, get older, you name it. My weight these days probably can't be as low as I could have gone before my first child (and now I've given birth to four!). But I'm smaller than I've ever been except childhood, healthy, and enjoy my way of eating. I still need to hit the exercise harder. I still find maintenance easier than losing (I'm a mutant, what can I say?). I will eat low carb/ketogenic forever, because I look and feel my best this way with the least amount of effort.

That's where I'm at these days.

As a side note, I got new glasses today. They're bifocals (boo!) because my eyes have focus problems and they'll get worse with time. On the upside, they're these sparky new progressive lenses that have no *lines* for the bifocal portion, but rather a zone. They're a little tricky to use and my eyes are getting used to them, but I love the frames :)

taryl | General | 30 August, 1:16am | 41 comments

By regular, I'm referring to regular blogging! When I don't have a daily weight to post, it's harder to make myself update.

I'm still plugging along, not gaining and losing who knows what. Right now I'm waffling as to whether I should just weigh in and call whatever weight I'm at 'goal!', since I'm starting to get bored of losing and am content with my body in clothes, in activity, for health parameters, etc. I'm not skinny, I'm not thin, I'm not even athletic in my build right now (I don't think?). But I am proportional, I'm at a size that is simple to maintain, and I'm a mom without my tummy screaming "GET THEE SOME SPANX!". I'm a size 10/12 on the bottom, medium/large on top, with a 32 inch bra band and very respectably ranged wrist and finger circumferences, too. I don't have a double chin, any chub rub is primarily loose skin that hasn't tightened, and I'm not feeling any negative effects of a very, very ketogenic diet.

So should I call it good? I am a little worried about constantly moving the goalposts downward and never being content where I'm at. There is still fat, still things I'd like to change in my body. But whether or not it is worth the discipline and mental energy to do it is another ball game entirely! I'm still thinking of running hard at this until October, but I must acknowledge that short of that commitment I'm flagging a bit.

I overeat my calories many days of the week (not enough to gain, and usually to hunger, but enough that I'm not shrinking visibly fast). Some of that is breastfeeding, as my calorie limit was set on the bottom edge of what is acceptable for milk production (generally speaking). A little as been stress/boredom eating. I need to tighten up on that and the snacking after my main meal. We've been so busy I haven't been sleeping well (and the baby is in a stage of waking me up three times a night and starting her day two hours before my alarm) - I *know* this is detrimental to hunger/satiety cues and overall cortisol levels. These are all factors. But given all of the above, would a reassessment be wise? Who knows! I'm giving it more time - at least until my trip to California in two weeks. And I'll admit some of this may be hormonal. But the desire to just be done with losing and stick to maintaining is strong. Maybe I'm just lazy that way.

I've been a slouch on exercise for numerous good (but inadequate) reasons. I need to do better there. Everything else, besides some extra calories and less movement than I'd like, is fine. Clothes fit better than they did a month ago, though the difference is subtle. I have no idea how much I weigh. It could be 165 or 155, I have zero index to base a guess off of - I'm smaller than I've ever been and that's about it. Is it good enough? Should I keep going? Breastfeeding hormones seem to be keeping fat on my belly and hips (a well documented phenomenon) which is making this assessment more challenging. And I'd LOVE to do another hCG round and get the weight off quickly, to get to maintenance. But I can't do that while breastfeeding and it is very likely I'll end up pregnant again before I could do another round. I thought about weaning Holly or just trying the hCG while nursing, but it isn't a wise prospect for the quality or quantity of my milk and doesn't sit well with me emotionally, so that's right out. I think I'm pretty much stuck with this slow plod to whatever goal I set.

That's my update for right now. Nothing bad, just blah, boring, and indecisive. Believe it or not I'm doing very well, which is why I have time to bemoan insignificant points like "I'm bored!" and "where to stop?". But I do wish I could regain the zeal to hit this hard and be uncomfortable to drop weight faster. That energy is gone, and what remains is the same determination and commitment I've always had - to lose and not regain. The speed of that mindset is a crawl, but it has served me well so far. Sometimes I'm in weight loss zen and the restrictions of losing are easy. Sometimes, like right now, it's a struggle. But as always, I'm in it for life and would never dream of quitting.

/end ramble.

taryl | General | 11 August, 1:09am | 42 comments

I'm such a boring blogger right now - schooling the kids has me very busy, along with Peter's work schedule being crazy and the summer fun time added on top of it. I'm definitely thinner - fitting firmly into medium tops and 10/12 on bottom. Again, no weight to attach to it, but I keep plugging along. I will be weighing in sooner than originally anticipated, because I'm planning a visit to my family at the end of August and want a baseline before I go, since I'm thinking a few family members will be asking how much I've lost. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I think I look different enough from my last visit to elicit some comments.

Exercise has be a non-starter the last two weeks. So busy, and the baby is sleeping poorly right now, so my normal evening stretch for exercise, bible study, and relaxation after dinner has been filled with delayed chores (from the overly busy days and evenings), keeping the kids busy, and alternating dishes with the fussy (but so sweet!) infant. It's just reality right now, I do the best I can and don't worry about the rest.

Now, one of the pictures! We had some done a few weeks ago at JCP and they turned out quite nice. We hadn't done any professional photos for two years, so it was definitely time. And the groupon made it a steal ;)

First are mommy and daddy, then the evil underlings :)

taryl | General | 26 July, 8:45am | 41 comments

http://authoritynutrition.com/10-things-dietitians-say-about-low-carb-diets/

I'm biased, given that I've experienced many of the evidences in this article in my own self experiment and am firmly convinced of the merits of low carb/high fat as a dietary framework. But still, this is one of the most succinct, best referenced blog posts I've read summing up the criticisms (and reality) of low carb diets. Good stuff, do read!

taryl | General | 9 July, 10:46pm | 34 comments

Quick note - still on plan and doing well, though I did massively overdo my calories on Saturday for a date, I was right back on my totals the next day and feeling cold as ever (a sure sign I'm in energy deficit and losing weight). I find staying on plan with my foods but allowing a liberal intake of them every once in awhile seems to do me good. A giant slab of rare prime rib and a blue cheese wedge was soul food and much enjoyed, especially since my husband has been so insanely busy that we haven't had a real date in weeks. And with this many small children running around, that's no good!

Positive thing to report that could be my imagination, or not - I am an apple when I gain weight, despite a proportional and curvy figure when slimmer. I gain fat on my neck, between my shoulders, and all down my flanks, in addition to belly and chest. I really dislike that gain pattern, as it made me look like an amorphous and somewhat androgynous at my high weight. These days I'm very nicely curvy and anywhere from a 10-12 on the bottom and a medium/large in tops, but I still battle the back/shoulder fat that is slow to diminish. I finally seem to have made progress in this area! I went from several rolls on my sides when I was 260+, to now having NO back rolls. Just on the last two days I've noticed the 'roll' factor has gone away. I still have little pads there, I'm not rail smooth along my ribs. But NO major creasing/rolling. I'm slimming down in my most stubborn areas, and that is worthy of celebration. No clue what I weigh, but taking that scale break has been SO good for my brain. Now I'm just focused on plan adherence, not the maintenance adjustment dance I do so well.

Goodbye, back pudge! I rejoice in your departure!

I worked out Sunday and tonight, too, after taking a break Saturday due to business in the morning and a nap in the evening (migraine related, boo!). I am positive that is also helping the torso slimming. T-Tap is incredible for the core and I feel so strong and upright after a workout, and persistently thereafter. Teresa focuses on posture and I can feel my muscles supporting a stronger and more aligned posture throughout the day, almost unconsciously. Great stuff.

Off to bed now.

taryl | General | 9 July, 7:25am | 42 comments

Yes, I'm still longing for my scale, on some level. Not too keenly, but as I notice things shrinking I want numerical proof.

I've been on plan, no real issues except some higher calorie days the last two weeks. Not as tight as I'd like, but I've crunched back down. Unless I'm genuinely hungry for extra, I'm really working hard to stay in my range. It shouldn't affect my losses too much, but I don't want to test it, either!

We survived VBS (no cheating, despite gobs of junk food available and a high stress situation the entire week). Unfortunately there were casualties - primarily our immune systems! We all came down with head colds and haven't shaken them yet, a week later. Bummer, but what can you do?

Because of huge sleep deprivation (baby isn't sleeping well when she is sick, and we're still insanely busy) and illness, I haven't been making workouts a priority. But tonight I did my first T-Tap in two weeks, since I miss it and am feeling better. The aforementioned VBS made getting school and food, let alone workouts, a very challenging scheduling task. I was corralling fourth graders right about when I was supposed to be sweating it out to a DVD. But since I am on the mend I sucked it up tonight and did my basic plus workout. I feel pretty good and am glad I squeezed it in.

I'm also making piano more of a priority again, since I've taken off from it from about 38 weeks pregnant until this week.m I'll be resuming lessons and have reworked my practice schedule for it, too. It's hard to get in the swing of things, especially with an increased school workload for the children that I must manage, but I miss it and won't achieve my personal goals of proficiency and sight reading/accompanying if I keep not making time for it. It's the first thing to go when I get busy, but I'm happy to bring it back now that I'm adjusting to the new normal in our home.

No issues for Independence Day, diet-wise. It was just another day of the week for us. Today we did a little family celebration and are letting the kids camp out in our yard - my food transgression was eating an extra hamburger patty (which put me over my daily target by 300 calories, but it was SO good). Since the calorie limits are self imposed and not Atkins imposed, I think I did incredibly well. My kids made s'mores in the yard, over the weber grill - they looked and smelled SO phenomenal, but I still chose not to indulge. I just don't need them, I've had them before and may even eat one again in the future. But it wasn't part of my plan and I didn't go there. Neither did I cave and eat sweet potato fries with my delicious homemade mayo. All these things are favorite foods, but they really have no hold over me anymore. I enjoy the smell and the memory of eating them, but don't find I want them badly enough to choose them over my health and commitment to getting this weight off.

I am so grateful The Lord has grown me in this area - food has been an idol of mine for many years and I still struggle with gluttony. But between a livable, comfortable plan and His hand guiding me to make better choices, I am winning this fight. I still have obesity, even if I'm in remission and don't show signs of it externally, but I am working every day to keep it a non-issue and enjoy a healthy, active body and life.

And that's my news - mostly good, more of the same.

My commitment for this next week - make time each day for piano, workout, AND bible study, around my core family obligations. I need to make those things habitual and fit around my service to my family, and that can be kind of tricky. Oh. And pray that I don't cave and beg my husband for the scale ;)

taryl | General | 6 July, 4:16am | 33 comments

Still on plan here, doing very well. It's amazing how much easier I'm finding it to just out my head down and charge forward without the scale. Time is slipping by and I'm not even bothered by the 'limits' of an extended induction most days. I would still like more veggies and some nuts, thats my ideal way of eating (well, in Realville - my ideal is actually eating whatever I want with zero consequences, but that's fantasy land ;) ), but I'm truly having an easy time of staying on plan and just persisting this way. Who'd have thought, right?

Victories abound this week. Here's the list:

I was able to zip up my smallest prepregnancy pants with zero overhang.

I zipped up the tightest skirt I own, which is a size ten and was barely ably to pull up over my hips previously. The zipper gapped a good few inches.

In order to not spend insane amounts of money on new bras just yet, I took some of my too-small cup and too-big band nursing bras and cut about three inches out of the band. The cups just fit right now, after weight loss, and the band is now nice and snug with all that extra fabric out. So I can get another month or two of wear out of them before it's back to Ewa Michalak's site for more.

I just took some quick waist measurements, since I look visibly slimmer and my skirts are loose, tight stuff now fits, etc etc. my waist was 32.5 in., my underbust was 32.5 in., and my hips were 41.5 in. Now - on May 4th, my measurements were 36, 34.25, and 42.75 inches, respectively. That means, in those areas alone, I have lost 6.5 inches in just over five weeks. It doesn't even count the spots I wasn't measuring, like bust or thighs. With visible progress like that, is it any wonder I don't care what the scale says? I'm on plan and my body is responding. Good enough for me!

taryl | General | 15 June, 6:38pm | 41 comments

By this, I mean the rapid and visible slimming in ketosis, especially when someone is keto-adapted. It may not be as physically noticeable on someone coming off a carb diet, even though they get impressive scale results compared to someone who isn't carrying all the extra water weight from a standard American diet. But for someone like me, who has been keto-adapted for months and months, it seems even the slightest restriction on calories turns me from 'easily maintaining' to 'drop it like it's hot'.

In two-ish weeks on plan my back, ribs, and face, in particular, are visibly slimmer. Like, dramatically. I have no idea what the scale would say, but my clothing says 'looser!' more every passing day.

And on the note of the scale, after not having it for a week or so I can say that the pain of its passing has eased (I'm only partly kidding). Breaking the habit of jumping on the scale for affirmation seemed like it would be easy for me. After all, I've been charting my weight for years, even through watching it climb with two pregnancies, working at maintenance stability, periods of rapid loss and slow loss and no loss despite my efforts. And yet it wasn't easy to let go and I wasn't as unaffected by the scale's data as I first surmised. But now that I've gotten out of the habitual weighing and charting I'm doing great. I might still have a tic that makes me look down at its empty spot ever so often when I enter the bathroom, but it's a *small* tic!

I still wish I knew what I weighed right now, but if all other metrics are accurate it is less (perhaps by multiple pounds) than when I buckled back down to get off my 168 set point. I'm really excited to see what happens at the end of summer or into the fall when I finally jump back on. It would be so nice not to just anticipate coming up on my low weight and then blowing past it, but getting into an almost unseen weight decade altogether? That would be immensely satisfying. I saw 158 on the scale *once* in high school. It was in the middle of ice skating, soccer seasons, cross country, and walking home every day. Oh, and then when I got home I roller bladed as soon as I was able to put them on. I really miss that actually - when things settle down with Holly I'm really thinking of budgeting back in ice time to skate (relearn, really, since it's been a decade off the ice now!). Splitting my time between that and the pool sounds very nice. So many possibilities! And back on the subject of weight, if I drop just ten pounds in the next three months I'll have hit my 'lifetime' low since childhood. How cool is that? I'm really hoping to settle in the 138 range, or possibly even 128.... But that seems like an almost impossible hope from where I'm sitting now. We'll see!

I just finished a T-tap Tempo workout and feel strong and energized, as opposed to wet noodles, which is a nice change. I'm also nicely on target for my daily calories and macros. Nothing to report, nothing to complain about, just chugging along on induction as long as it is comfy :)

taryl | General | 7 June, 4:41am | 39 comments

I can't believe it, but I truly miss the scale! I don't miss weighing in, per se, but just having it available to check when I'm feeling bloated or skinny would be nice. I keep having a mental itch to jump on it, only to go into the bathroom and realize it isn't there. It's getting less persistent, but since I can feel the diet working well now that I'm back being strict, I want to check scale progress, too!

At this point, however, I'm officially keeping that sucker locked away until Labor Day. I may even do it until October, if I can stand it.

It's amazing when I keep a calorie deficit and eat on plan how quickly I look thinner. I don't know if it is water weight or just that my adipocytes empty themselves of their contents liberally and with great speed when I'm in ketosis, but even just under a week on plan and I already look slimmer. I can see it around my bra, chin, and even in my fingers (which have never been particularly pudgy).

On another note, those headaches kept coming. I had another two before I triangulated it to taking 5-HTP again. Something about it this time was giving me trouble. The headaches would start about three hours after I'd take the supplement, and were very nasty. It was the only thing I added back into my rotation recently, and that headache happened the first day I put it back in be repeated itself in the same pattern the two days following. I decided, upon reading that headaches are a common symptom of 5-HTP supplementation, to nix that pill and see what happened.

Well, approximately nothing happened. No headache of doom. Took the pill out of my pillbox today as well and, sure enough, nothing again today. Got it, 5-HTP won't play friendly with my body anymore. Duly noted.

Last random tidbit, in addition to being on plan perfectly (except for this evening, I had two extra slices of bacon and a tbsp of sour cream that put me over my daily calories by about 105... Hardly worth accounting) in both food choices and quantities, I did also get in more T-tap this evening and now feel like a wet noodle. Between eating and exercising as planned, I imagine the weight will come off nicely (especially with nursing burning calories, and I'm eating 1850 a day which is not high for Atkins at my BMR). That does increase the temptation to check on the scale for progress, but I think I actually do better staying on plan when that is my sole accountability - I can't mentally say 'it was a good weigh in, time for more salad dressing!' when the only thing I can count on is keeping a steady deficit of plan-appropriate foods.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to - but I'm pretty much decided to do an extended induction as long as I can stand it. I definitely prefer ongoing weightloss (OWL) for food, but I'm comfortable enough on induction to want to stick it out until the end of July. We'll see, but I'm not counting myself a failure if I have to transition upward a food list or three to make an event work!

taryl | General | 4 June, 4:22am | 37 comments

I don't know if it is related to getting back to induction or just plain being out of alignment and tired, but I have developed an awful headache from late morning to now. Just in case it is diet related I consumed coco crack (butter/coconut oil/cocoa powder/stevia) to be sure I'm not consuming too much protein compared to fat (much of my dietary fat was from nuts and dark chocolate) and tossed back about half a teaspoon of NuSalt and washed it down with water.

The latter, in particular, should reveal whether this was an induction headache (seems unlikely since I'm well keto-adapted and my normal diet has been very healthful and not in excess in the carb arena, no including off plan foods) or something else. NuSalt has plenty of potassium and sodium, and that, combined with a tablespoon of my normal cal/mag/zinc supplement (which I've been lazy about taking lately) should take care of any electrolyte imbalance my suddenly-stricter diet may be causing. The pressure is rising here, too, and the barometric changes of the past day could also be guilty. Stress, lack of sleep, and just general bad luck might be culprits - maybe even the sole culprits, as these other issues could have been more antagonizers than instigators. But I have a headache and am nauseous, so I'm laying down after typing this. I should be doing dishes, listening to a sermon, planning lessons, and a number of ther tasks, but a nap seems most prudent after the salt pounding, eating, and ibuprofen.

On a slightly related note, I think I've decided to hide my scale and just weigh once a month or less from here on out. Since I'm not maintaining, but working to lose, I need to focus on behaviors more than log trend changes up or down in my weight. Last night I did a vigorous T-tap workout and woke up this morning quite a bit heavier than I should have been, given my eating and such. Sore muscles retain water, there's no helping it. And while I know this and it causes me only slight annoyance, I realized after the initial moment that I gained absolutely no insight or help from the scale - it just wasn't useful as a diagnostic tool, progress metric, or anything else at that moment. I'm generally a huge proponent of daily weighing, but it's less than helpful during a period like this where the scale will take care of itself in the long run, but the day to day fluctuations just aren't to be trusted. If I'm sticking to my calories and food lists as I plan, I WILL get smaller. It might take longer than I want, but it will happen. I can observe that in the mirror and my clothing, which are going to be more accurate for the time being than finding out how much I weigh at a given point.

So I'm packing the scale away in a very inconvenient place (in the window bench in my son's room, which is under a bunch of toys and heavy books) until July. Possibly until September or even October, when my weight loss anniversary roles around. I have no intention of ditching the scale forever - my adjusted trend line for weight has been going for years and I fully intend to keep it up, as staying in a tight weight window is a crucial maintenance check for me. But while losing, it is ENTIRELY behaviorally based, and I need to focus on making the correct choices, not on the number popping up. It might not hurt, but it certainly won't help, either. So a scale break has been declared.

As I noted yesterday I was on plan then, and have been on plan now. I'm packing away part of my lunch to eat for dinner because I'm not hungry/too nauseous and dizzy to eat it, but all choices and quantities are within induction guidelines. Yay me.

If I feel better tonight I'll do a lighter T-tap workout. If not, it will be a rest day. I'll report back in tomorrow, regardless. One of the upsides of losing as opposed to just maintaining is that it provides me with much more incentive to blog - maintenance, successfully undertaken, is about the most boring thing to try and document. That's the only reason for my blog silence - nothing much to talk about and the rest of life being busy. But when I'm losing, there's much more to discuss :)

taryl | General | 31 May, 10:34pm | 35 comments

So I am reasonably healthy again, though still extremely busy. We got back from a road trip to Homer where I managed to stay on plan despite endless tourist traps and faily high stress. Unfortunately I keep vacillating between 1500 calorie days and 2500 calories day, or more. It's kind of obnoxious to be perfectly on plan one day and then munching or in high calorie eating situations other days.

Some of that is just the nature of trying to diet while nursing. It's tough. But some is just plain laziness. I HATE losing weight. It is hard for me and takes a lot of mental and physical effort. Maintaining I do like breathing, it truly has become second nature for me and despite all the high and low days I'm right where I was at the beginning of May, at 168 pounds. It's a set point for me, and comfortable in size 12's, a few 14's, and medium to large tops. But it isn't where I want to be.

I can attribute at least a fraction of my current struggle to enjoying nuts, berries, and chocolate quite much. I can maintain indefinitely and with great joy on 30-50 net carb, and maintain or lose at a leisurely pace with 25-30 net carbs and strict calorie counts. But I am sick of being on this journey, where I've been losing weight for almost five years. I just want to get to goal (in the sub 140 zone now) and be able to do some of the things I've been putting off until then. Namely getting a custom corset (I really love them!) and a new wardrobe of signature pieces, rather than whatever is cheap and looks reasonably attractive and spit-up resistant. It's vain, but part of my lackadaisical attitude at this weight is that it's 'good enough' in a lot of ways. I'm no longer obese, I'm reasonably attractive and put together in clothes, my health is excellent, food is delicious, and I can balance it all without stress. Put simply, I'm just comfortable enough here to default/hang out at this weight, but not comfortable enough with it to want to stay here forever. Hence the internal conflict.

Solution? I'm back on induction and doing at least a week of it by the book, likely as many as I can stand, to she'd weight quicker. Induction takes away the temptations of chocolate and nuts, or overeating on heavy cream, etc. It's austere enough that I stop eating for pleasure and just go on autopilot. I can't stay on it indefinitely, but I can manage it comfortably and it sheds weight like mad, especially at my current target calorie level (around 1850).

Today was my first day back on induction and it was a great success. So now to build on this one day at a time, and no allowing extra carbs or foods unless I absolutely have no choice, like another road trip where a larger than needed Caesar salad or a bag of almonds is the best choice available. I'm working out as many days as I have time, too. That's more optional for me with how busy we are, but still a definite priority to get in the T-tap and maintain strength.

I'm still five pounds above prepregnancy at 168, but if I'm disciplined and stop putzing around it is entirely possible for me to make goal in a timely fashion, preferably before my five year weight loss anniversary in October. So I'm on extended induction, by the book except for caffeinated coffee and the occasional diet soda. And I WILL down below my high school weight (163, which I reached just days before conceiving Holly) and then smaller. Because I like 168, but I'll LOVE 140. And mummy tummy or not, I know I can do it. I just have far too much padding left for losing that much body fat to be a big struggle. Hormones do make it more challenging, my body may want to hang onto fat as long as long as I'm nursing, but I'm still going to try my hardest to make it all coalesce and get where I want to be.

And don't get me wrong - maintaining my weight through busyness and stress, coming out of a celebration season (pretty much all of May, for me) at the same weight I entered is huge. I'm very, very happy with my hard work and don't take maintaining for granted. But I want to get to goal more than I want to languish here any longer. So I will :)

taryl | General | 31 May, 4:16am | 34 comments

I'm coughing my head off because I'm sick, and no posts thanks to being terribly busy the last week. But I had my seventh anniversary, my 27th birthday, Mother's Day, and a meeting with the state Board of Pharmacy. Other than this headcold I'm doing great - on plan just as I wanted, doing my TTAP (taking a bit of a break right now while I'm so sick), etc etc.

I'll post more at a future date but right now let me leave you with a 'gem' I found, while looking for a picture for my grandfather's 80th birthday. First, a picture from early 2006 when I was engaged to my husband (I was 19 and not at my high weight):

And this was me for our anniversary on May 6th, six weeks postpartum with baby #4. Mini victory - I was wearing no shapewear with the dress and it was a pre-pregnancy piece:

And as a bonus, the beautiful flowers he gave me for that occasion:

Still about six pounds up from pre-pregnancy. The scale isn't being kind to me since I'm sicker than a dog, but I imagine I'll see another whoosh soon.

taryl | General | 17 May, 3:28am | 58 comments

Another insanely busy day, so still no time to recount the medical ordeals of the past week. I WILL get to it, I promise! Here's another set of thoughts that came to me when responding to someone else on a message board. I thought it was quite pertinent to record here as well, for my own sake down the road if nothing else.

**************************

While on plan, we can really struggle with walking through the store and seeing all the things we remember eating and used to enjoy, that are no longer on our plans or good choices for our body. How to manage that without caving and buying food that's off plan? Simple. That stuff is not what I eat. It's not food for me. No conflict, no struggle, no temptation, because I'm at peace with that fact. So I walk past it, tacitly observe the labels, take an appreciative sniff and say that 'yes, that's nice'. And then I move on and don't give it another thought.

It's a mental game, and food is only a temptation if you ALLOW yourself to be tempted. Enjoying your current way of eating helps so much, but it doesn't go all the way. Being iron-clad committed to the right choices for your body means there is NO mental wiggle room for justifying things that aren't in that choice subset (and if the occasional treat is in that subset, plan it out accordingly and don't let yourself see that random junk as a viable option if it really isn't).

We get into trouble when we allow ourselves to fall into thinking, consciously or otherwise, that we deserve that treat or could eat it. Then we fixate on it and it becomes 'temptation'.

The solution? Nip that crud in the bud right away by resolving yourself. Then there is no thought, no choice, no hemming or hawwing or imagining how much you'd like to eat it (or how good it might taste and ooooh, wouldn't I love a bite?!). Stop that thought pattern that leads to those desires when you look at junk BEFORE it starts. It takes practice, but in the end it isn't our ability to hold a stiff upper lip while really wanting to give in that makes us succeed - that willpower is finite. It takes reframing the entire thought process, so you don't even start down the path of needing to resist, that will likely prove most successful.

See, I don't need to be strong to turn down a dessert at Christmas, every bread basket, and my previous favorite candy and ice cream. Strength fails. I just know, at the core of my being, that I am beyond the time when I could eat and enjoy those and now do things different, period. End of discussion. Moving on.

And I tell you, it sounds silly but it works brilliantly! Almost like magic, in terms of the great mental burden it can remove from the process of losing weight.

taryl | General | 26 April, 7:09am | 49 comments

We're back from the hospital and I'll give a more extensive update later, in the meantime I thought it might be nice to post this update on my organization system to the blog, since I've spoken about it in the past.

I use a schedule/routine system (from a brilliant book called "Managers of their Homes" that is aimed at Christian homeschoolers) to map out how to get all the chunks of activity done each day, and then a secondary of lists to dictate the specifics. While I use a system that is specific to my stage of life, even when I'm old and gray I doubt I'll get rid of having a written schedule posted in easy view - I can't believe how much more I can get done just by earmarking timeslots and learning the (not too painful) discipline of actually moving from one task to the next without dawdling ;)

Here above is my schedule, all nice and color coordinated. This helps me so much to get dinner done on time, everyone up at the right hour, and have time each day for the basic cleaning and chores that must fit somewhere.

And here are the sub-lists, one for chores and one for school activities. This insures that each week my house is reasonably clean and if something does come up, like the baby's birth, then nothing can get too gross for a few weeks of lapse because it all got hit recently. The school list is specifically so I can prioritize the major learning tasks each day while still rotating more fun/auxiliary activities regularly.

I have one more sub-list to fit the slots on the calendar, and that is my meal planning on my fridge. It helps me keep track of what is served for breakfast and lunch on a regular basis, as well as helping me keep my groceries organized and frequently used throughout the dinner menu. Breakfasts and lunches ideally do not change week to week, to streamline planning and take the mental energy out of the task. Dinners are written down WITH prep time so I can get things going in an orderly fashion and start things like meat thawing or a crockpot cooking in time to get dinner on the table (preventing the last minute takeout syndrome). I can't praise the system enough, it has saved my bacon SO many times!

Things not on the charts are the daily tasks like wiping down tables, several loads of dishes, sweeping under the table, picking up toys several times per day, etc. These tasks are accomplished by me (and more recently I've been using my 4 and 6 year old to take these over) in five minute bursts throughout the day as needed. I always try to make sure my living room is picked up and the dishes are done by the end of the night. It's kind of a non-negotiable start to the next day to have things in order. A messy kitchen and main area is a quick way to make me feel defeated before I've ever begun.

I tried using Flylady and other such systems for cleaning, but ultimately breaking up the bigger chores into one per day (which takes me only about half an hour a day! Yay!) and dealing with the bigger jobs on weekends has helped immensely. But none of that would be possible without the initial schedule SHOWING me just how to fit it all in. Doing that was a beast the first time, like a jigsaw of doom. But once it came together it was brilliant, and I refine it seasonally as our family changes or activities adjust. Having that sucker in paper, in the middle of the house, helps ALL of us stay on task throughout the day and leaves time for both organizing/cleaning AND sitting around chatting it up on the Internet.

And that's how I organize my day - not perfect, and most days I don't get it all done as I'd like, but getting even 70-80% of the way there on a given day is immensely better than even my best and most frantic efforts before I organized my time and worked seriously on self discipline.

taryl | General | 25 April, 3:18am | 36 comments

I'm typing this from the ER with Holly and would like to ask for your prayers. She began nursing poorly last night and felt a bit hot, but I wasn't too concerned. However by morning she still wouldn't latch well and felt alarmingly feverish, and it turned out her temp was 101.5, which is far too high for a newborn. We took her into the pediatrician first thing and they were concerned about an infection (though urine screening was negative, no UTI) so we have been admitted to the hospital for a few days of observation and tests.

It is likely just a viral infection and will clear on its own, but any good thoughts you can send our way, prayers for her health and my sanity, would be much appreciated. Right now I'm engaged in the stress/situational fasting diet while waiting in blood cultures/lumbar punctures and the like. We'll be in the hospital the next two days or so.

taryl | General | 18 April, 10:20pm | 31 comments

Not much to say, or rather I've been too lazy to say it! We're back in the swing of things and adjusting to life with a six member family of mostly insane little people. It's been going quite well, actually! God has been so good to me - this has been my easiest recovery physically and mentally, and while I have frazzled moments I've not yet been overwhelmed or panicky, which was one of my fears. We just adjusted the family schedule and take activities one at a time, with lots of order and planning for an easier execution of events. Homeschool is back to normal and most night Holly is sleeping very well, so any sleep deprivation is entirely the fault of my husband and myself not being disciplined with heading to bed, rather than anything the baby might be doing.

I've been back in plan cleanly for two weeks with some notable exceptions. By and large I don't have a problem, but occasionally I get overcome by the hungries (whether they're head hungries or physiological has been hard to determine) and go over my calories. Last night was bad - I almost held onto my calorie budget but allowed myself a snack in the evening to curb the craving. Unfortunately I couldn't stop once I started and consumed an extra 900-ish calories I wasn't intending, when only 250 calories of ham was what I began with. I did manage to pour out some of what I was eating a regain control, but not as well as I would have wanted. This reassures me that my original plan is sound - eat all my food between 10 am and 6 pm, finish with a little chocolate and some tea, and declare the kitchen CLOSED. If I don't add anything in and eat my daily calories I do excellently, especially when I am being clean and careful with what I'm eating (my menus have been exemplary, including yesterday, until that snack entered in). But when I allow myself an inch I am tending to take a mile right now. So no inches allowed, just tighter planning until some of the mental struggle abates.

The reason for this is twofold. One, I have much more room, physiologically, now that I'm not pregnant. So all of the sudden the feelings of physical satiety I'd been using as cues have changed, because I have MUCH more capacity before I feel physical sensation of fullness. The second reason is that I'm breast feeding exclusively, so my calorie needs are higher. Keeping even a modest calorie deficit requires very careful meal planning or I am not full and nourished enough to resist more eating - that's what happened last night. I planned my dinner to scratch a mental itch and ended up not eating enough bulk or fat. Then I got hungry and couldn't control it well. It's not a character flaw, but rather a struggle of a very different set of metabolic demands that I have yet to fully grasp and find solutions for working with. This happens to me postpartum each time and if I'm not careful I can maintain when I want to lose, or even pile on weight.

All that said and done, I AM actually doing very well each day being on plan. No off plan foods for the most part, except a taste of porridge or soup to season it for the family. Thankfully, those tastes have not been causing me cravings or issues! I'm still sticking with my Atkins rung 4, between 20-30 net carbs (I've cut out much dairy and nuts to maximize the bulk of what I'm eating, so that's making it easier to keep my carbs lower), and 1950 calories or so as a target each day. Given that I'm likely burning at least 400-600 from nursing, I must plan meticulously to eat at that deficit and maintain both my milk supply and satiety. Otherwise, exhibit A from last night becomes a regular occurrence. For the most part I've not had snack binges. Maybe two in the last three weeks, since getting back on the wagon, along with some bigger meal days here and there because of restaurant eating.

The results of this are me being at 173.6 on the weekend, and bouncing up to 176.2 this morning from the salt of the ham last night. But overall my weight trend has been downward steadily from 175 last week to 174 and 173 before the 'incident'. That is exactly what I want it to do and I'm completely committed to getting down to prepregnancy as soon as possible, and then onward to goal. I have exactly 10 pounds left from Friday's weight until my all time low, and then it's all new territory once I reach 163. If I can get a pound a week of loss I will be satisfied with that, though I'd obviously like more it isn't going to happen if I keep letting in overeating in the evening. So at this point I am taking it one good meal at a time and focusing on reaffirming the habit of 'kitchen closed'. It wasn't necessary during pregnancy, and at the end I actually needed to eat a bit later or I got hungry again. But to make it to goal now will require sticking to that budget and continuing with my on plan foods. The foods aren't the issue, just the quantity. My goal this week is a perfect week on that count.

Exercise hasn't been resumed yet, though my bleeding has almost ended and I'm back in ONE pair of my prepregnancy jeans. They're a snug size twelve and my skirts in the same size will also fit better in five or ten pounds, but it's major progress. My belly is loose and hips are still spread, so that is contributing to the fit issues. I'm just going to have to lose a few more pounds to fit them well than I had to before the baby, when things were generally tighter. It all fits well enough that I boxed up the last of my maternity shirts, pants, and undergarments yesterday. So at 3 weeks postpartum I am officially back in a Misses 12-14 in all tops and pants, with the 14's only needed for tops that won't stretch adequately over my bust. VICTORY IS DECLARED!

Holly continues to be a total sweetie pie and the kids love her to bits. Overall I am doing excellently, better than I had hoped in kids, marriage, clothes, and food. The necessary tight control over snacking is the ONLY negative I have to report, and that will get easier and easier as I get back into a routine of losing as opposed to pregnancy maintainence. As always, I haven't given up and won't ever quit. I'm still here, accountable, and seeing success. I am also hoping life calms down enough that I can get back to some blogging about weight and exercise. I have another midwife appointment this evening and a checkup for Holly, so I'll be asking about resuming exercise and hoping for the best :)

taryl | General | 15 April, 8:28pm | 37 comments

After several weeks of contractions and braxton hicks, with multiple false alarms, Holly Charlotte Giessel (heretofore known as baby #4) was born at 11:46 pm on Friday, March 22nd. She weighed 7 lbs, 12 oz, and was 20 inches long.

Once it got going birth was quite uneventful here at home, though very intense. I only labored actively for about four hours, and transition/pushing was under half an hour and only that long due to an anterior lip on my cervix. Once we repositioned and got that out of the way she came quite easily, with no molding or bruising at all :). No stitches needed for me, either, for which I am VERY grateful!

My last recorded pregnancy weight was 198, so I DID manage to stay under 200 which I'm thrilled about! At my appointment today, with clothes on and a full bladder, I was at 181 (this is four days postpartum) so about 16 pounds to go until pre-pregnancy weight. I did indeed enjoy her birthday with Japanese and a Coldstone cake, my first off plan food in ages. If there was any reason to scratch that itch I figured birth was it. I'm back on plan without adieu now, so we'll see how long it takes to get the rest off. I wasn't planning on going back into induction unless I needed to, so I'm keeping my net at 25-30 carbs and calories in the 18-2000 range unless breastfeeding significantly ups my hunger or my milk production is deleteriously affected. No issues so far.

I did my Ttap as much as possible through the end of pregnancy, though now I'm on a break. I will probably start doing organs-in-place/half frogs in the next few days and work up to sitting/basic workouts as my bleeding tapers off. That's the plan, anyway. Right now I am napping and lounging around so I can heal, and generally enjoying my newborn. Hopefully things won't be too overwhelming when my husband goes back to work!

That's the update - glad to be done with pregnancy for awhile :)

taryl | General | 27 March, 2:47am | 46 comments

Yes, that's me. Been busy, been lazy about posting, had nothing much to talk about. I cleaned my house top to bottom with very few spots left untouched in a nesting fit last week. It was excellent and needed to be done, though I hobbled around for several days after that!

Unless I've had a crazy busy day I still do TTAP four to five days a week and am feeling fine. More lighter workouts than heavy at this point, but it all counts for maintaining strength and dexterity.

Food is fine. Really, no issues. Some days I'm under my calorie target, some days I'm way over. I eat to hunger and just keep my carbs in range, and my weight and body fat are still stable. I'm up approx. 33 pounds from pre-pregnancy now, and am one week shy of full term (though my official due date is still a few weeks out we're in the end stretch!). Again, zero complaints. I'm tired and sore and my hips hurt at this point, but that's to be expected with a 7+ pound baby bearing down on me! Overall I am still active (though I waddle impressively), healthy, and very much in control of my diet. Some days, like today, I eat higher fat. Other days I'm higher protein. But still I am vigilant (but not insane) and very satisfied with my choices. And from all indicators we can observe, like swelling, blood pressure, blood panels, weight gain, fundal measurements, fetal heart tones, etc etc, I am an EXTREMELY healthy pregnant lady and so glad for that!

My issues lately have been sleep - not getting enough and waking a lot when I do. The waking can't be helped, it is bladder related or sore hips that require position changes. But my husband and I made the decision to cut back on the lateness we've been having lately and get into bed on time. It's no good for him OR me, to carry a sleep deficit into the newborn days. Thus far the effort at getting to bed earlier has been solid, but it's a daily temptation to stay up late and get things done (and we just have to battle it as it comes).

So that's my 36 week and some days check in. Not much to report, hence the bloggy silence. I do need to post another belly picture in here sometime in the next week or two, but beyond that expect things to be boring until a few weeks postpartum :)

taryl | General | 28 February, 12:32am | 43 comments

I realize I lapsed into silence again - apologies! Last week was insanely busy and this one is slightly better. Diet is in line, exercise suffered a bit when I was busy every evening but I'm back on track with my TTap. I can't remember if I mentioned this but at my last appointment (last Tuesday) I was down two pounds, even after having eaten and had fluid all day. That puts me under my 24 weeks weight on their charts!

Blood pressure, vitamin d levels, all looked good. Baby's heart rate was at 130, right in range as healthy. Blood pressure was excellent to slightly low. I am having moderate pubic symphysis pain, though, which is just a consequence of relaxin and heavy baby. I'm grateful I put it off so long but I'm prone to it and was unsurprised to see it making an appearance. TTap and good posture is certainly helping.

I'm still getting comments that I barely look pregnant or just barely popped, which is slightly annoying given then my belly is HUGE and I feel quite pregnant. But I know these folks are trying to pay me a compliment so I'm working on taking this gracefully and not biting anyone's head off for implying I have just looked fat for eight months ;)

Off to make dinner for the family and me. Potstickers, rice, and stir fry veggies for them; rib eye and feta cheese for me. Mmm!

taryl | General | 7 February, 2:53am | 44 comments

It's just as boring as it sounds - I got some new TTap DVDs and have been consistent on my workouts and feeling great from them, even if I'm still sick and can't shake it. That's a big yay - I'll take any comfort and flexibility I can get here in the home stretch. Interestingly the workouts I've been craving are NOT the new ones, but I'll do whatever my body is inclined to and not quibble about a lack of variety. So it's been a lot of Chair and Basic Tempo for me.

Eating has been fine, low carb as always. I'm perfectly comfortable with 25-30 net carbs per day and settling on Atkins Rung 4. No desire to push it or change it, so I won't. I had a few much higher days due to too much homemade low carb icecream (the Toasted Coconut Rum icecream is too yummy to keep in the house, I've decided) but beyond that I'm fine. I haven't bothered stepping on the scale but my face, bra, arms, etc, all look unchanged and show no signs of bloat or real fat accumulation, so I'm taking that to mean I'm holding steady except for baby gains. I've resolved that in the final two months here I will spend each day focusing on my basic nutrition, but I'm not stressing on-plan date choices or treats that might up my calories for the day. No stuffing myself for the heck of it, but if I'm hungry and choose an extra slice of cheese over a pickle it just isn't the end of the world. Neither is bearnaise on my asparagus when we go on a date, even if I know it's higher than my meal's target calorie range. Here in pregnancy, it all balances out. I will be more strict when I'm back in real losing mode, and have done really well so far in staying healthy - I am not going to stop that. But I'm also not going to drive myself nuts when I don't have to, and right now between working out and the extra metabolic load my body is being quite forgiving to the occasional overeating.

Mark the occasion (I'm really reaching for news, here) - I had my first truly painful contraction tonight, compared to normal Braxton Hicks that I get frequently throughout the day. I'm not in danger of preterm labor by any physiological marker I can tell, and have never had issues with it before, so while I took note (because it was way too intense to ignore!) it was a one-off and didn't recur.

My next appointment is on Monday, we'll see if they have anything interesting to discuss with me then.

taryl | General | 23 January, 6:53am | 50 comments

Just checking in again - we made it back home in one piece, though unfortunately everyone came down with nasty colds/possible unconfirmed flu while in California, and my husband and I are still trying to shake it. My case was the mildest of the family, but the sleep deprivation in caring for throwing up/ear infection/coughing children made me go from improving to sicker again. Lesson - when sick, rest up, otherwise the immune system WILL suffer for stress :(

So. I was gone the entire Christmas break, eating at family's homes, airports, theme parks, and restaurants. I managed to not eat any off plan food at all, though I did eat ad libitum of the foods I was allowed. Yesterday morning I had my midwifery appointment, with a three week lapse between this one and the last. I hadn't gotten on the scale at all because who knew how much water illness and travel was making me retain? The answer? Apparently not much! I was up only ONE POUND from my mid-December appointment. That means that with a baby putting on half a pound a week and traveling/holiday business, I managed to essentially maintain my weight and/or lose a smidge of bodyfat, during the most diet-challenging circumstances I could undertake. Cue the party poppers and confetti!

As of this point in my pregnancy, I am STILL under my prepregnancy weight for my last baby, with only 10-12 weeks left to go. Woohoo!

To add to the immense pile of awesome that is my health? I got my results back just now from my midwife regarding my hemoglobin A1C - even with pregnancy funkiness thrown in, I was measuring at 4.9%. She said that is the lowest she has seen in a LONG time, and absolutely incredible for pregnancy. That means my efforts at controlling my nutrition and mitigating insulin impact of my food has worked and my blood chemistry in that regard couldn't be better. My blood sugar control is excellent, which for a metabolically deranged former fattie is about the best I could ask for ;)

The only results of concern for treatment were my ferritin levels. My iron (serum levels, I think) was at 11 mcmol/L, which is a little low but still within healthy range. But my ferritin levels were only 6 ng/mL, which is extremely low. So though I am managing well enough day to day my stores of iron are depleted, and I'm hitting the point in pregnancy where blood volume increases for the baby are massive. I've always struggled with anemia but haven't needed iron supplementation with the high amount in my daily diet. I didn't want to add that in unless it was medically indicated. In this case, in addition to my dietary iron sources, the midwives are asking I supplement 50 mg of ferrous gluconate daily and they will retest my levels at the 36 weeks appointment. That is the best assimilated and least 'binding' way of supplementing iron, so I'm on board and will be beginning that tomorrow.

All in all an excellent appointment and they are VERY pleased with my current health. Recommendations are to keep doing whatever I am doing and keep up my exercise, too. The iron supplementation is simple enough and since I have actively avoided iron in my supplements (it's SO easy to overdo when eating a diet like Atkins, which is rich in dietary iron sources) adding it in is no big deal. I would guess, based on my levels, that if I'm not nursing or pregnant my dietary intake would indeed be sufficient, but the demands of growing a person have depleted my stores a bit and more is needed, even with lots of dietary iron daily. That being my biggest health concern is a victory in and of itself, I can't tell you how much the minimal weight gain, solidly healthy blood pressure, and excellent A1C, made my week!

Furthermore, baby is in an excellent position (head down and left-occiput anterior) and not measuring as far ahead anymore - I'm at 31 cm fundal height, and since I'm a multipara it is considered completely normal to measure up to 2 cm ahead of gestational date. Even having fasted for 12-ish hours the night before (they asked that this be a fasted blood draw, so I went in at 9:30 am) the baby was kicking up a storm and moving around like crazy. Heart rate was at 130 BPM - perfectly healthy and the midwife speculated it would go up a smidge as soon as I ate. Really nothing of note, which is my FAVORITE kind of appointment.

Summary - by all accounts we can observe physically and through normal prenatal diagnostics, my dietary/exercise experiment here in the second and third trimester has been a total success. I feel great, my vitals are excellent even for a non-pregnant person, and the only area of even minor concern is easily corrected and not diet related (I have had low iron/anemia in every pregnancy, including the ones on the Brewer diet, standard American diet, and now Atkins). It's one of the few conditions I am prone to, and being a reproductive aged young woman with closely spaced pregnancies makes iron a bigger issue than for most of the rest of the population.

I'll be continuing on here in my happy spot of 1800-2000 calories, to my hunger, of low carb (rung four is a happy place for me) foods with my net carbs being in the 25-30 g range. I'm going to focus on getting in more iron rich food, I've been eating more fish and less red meat in recent weeks and I'll be making a concerted effort to have dark meat poultry and red meat for dinner, at least, each day.

Exercise continues to be TTap five-ish days a week. I took a break from it on vacation due to a lack of space in my hotel room, and my exercise vids disappearing off my iPad when it was replaced and content restored right before the trip. But I FELT the lack of workout and ended up doing primary back stretch almost every day, for the second half of the trip, just out of necessity. My neck and back were so sore from travel and the hotel beds that I had to add it in, and it made me feel notably better. But now that I'm back home I'm back to my normal schedule. I did MORE chair yesterday and that was good, I'm thinking another light workout today could also be beneficial, but I don't want to push too hard since I am still under the weather. So the TTap will happen, just with varying degrees of intensity depending on how I feel.

And that's my update for 30 weeks with baby number four, post Christmas vacation and maintaining. Sniffles and congestion aside, I really feel incredible!

In closing, here's a little picture from the vacation. My dad, kids, two nieces, and I'm the really pale one with boobs way too big for that swimsuit ;)

image

taryl | General | 12 January, 11:44pm | 170 comments

Hey all! I'm checking in from California, boring as ever. I made it through a red eye and the airport on plan, family get togethers on plan, and Christmas dinner at someone else's house - perfectly on plan. Not even the slightest desire to deviate. I even gave myself permission to have some dessert or a starchy side dish if it looked absolutely delicious. But I completely forgot - none of them were worth it to make me contemplate eating off plan.

We're at a (sunny!) park right now and then headed to the store for me to stock up on some snacks and breakfast foods for the hotel. Then it's nap time and dinner with my parents later. I can't complain, I have no news, and all is going very well. On the NSV side, I've officially been on plan for every get together and holiday in 2012, since getting back from Michigan in the middle of October. No Christmas cookies, no Thanksgiving pies, no Halloween candy. Not even airport food. And it hasn't actually been hard. I can honestly say I don't miss what I'm not eating, because I like my daily diet very much.

My goals for this trip are on plan choices. I can't weigh or measure food easily because of eating out or eating at someone else's home almost the entire time, but I CAN make sure nothing crosses my lips that isn't on my allowed food lists. And thus far, I've met with success!

taryl | General | 27 December, 7:55pm | 50 comments

Diane at 'Fit to the Finish' had a great topic on her blog today, in dealing with whether diets work or not. I agreed with her conclusion that they DO, and it is a matter of adherence. This is a complex topic and her intro to it, based on her experience, was well done.

What I was less happy with, however, was a comment down the page basically moralizing thinness. That if fat friends of this thin woman made HER food choices, they wouldn't be fat, and there seemed to be denial on that point that frustrated her. She talked of naturally desiring to make healthy choices and easily limiting consumption of less nutritious ones, while her friends consumed large quantities of junk. I am heavily paraphrasing, but this is the gist. And I do not deny her experience on this topic as true - but it ignores a HUGE issue with food consumption. Food choices are not made in vacuums, where all that influences choice is our will. Nutrition creates certain physiological responses in the body and different bodies respond in varying degrees to the food environment to which they are exposed. Nutrition choices aren't gluttony or moral weakness, but highly influenced by the feedback which they evoke in our systems. Genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger, as it were, and actual commitment to change it is only a small part of the equation (and influenced heavily by that same feedback loop).

So my response to this poster, which wasn't appropriate to put on someone else's blog, is below:

The thing to consider isn't that you eat anything you want and just don't want the junk - it is why many folks DO want and eat the junk. The hedonism argument, that they are just weak willed fatties (not your words, granted) who make poor food choices ignores the complex biochemistry of hunger and satiety signalling in our bodies, and that some folks are affected by food differently than others, and to more significant degrees.

As a very successful, longer term maintainer (who still has twenty or so pounds to go), I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for ME when folks like you are telling me why I am fat and how to fix it - folks who have no metabolic issues compelling them toward excess hunger and a physiological response to food that is resistent to satiety. Some individuals can drink a regular soda and be fine. Some, however, find that precipitates three days of sugar cravings and compels real, physiological hunger in excess, because of the insulin response it provokes.

Diets DO work, but not all are created equal for all metabolisms. Someone who has gotten up to morbid obesity has a very different physical and mental response to nutritional stimulus than someone who has dealt with an extra five pounds around the holidays in midlife. Saying they are the same is like implying an individual with cerebral palsy ought to be able to walk as easily as someone with perfectly functioning limbs - it ignores that we aren't all built the same and there are different degrees of difficulty and specific challenges to manage with some bodies as compared to others.

Why is it that I can function as you do, eating controlled quantities of nutritious foods and not to excess, with a certain dietary composition; when previously I had eaten my way up to morbid obesity with an insatiable response to much of my daily diet? I'm the same woman, my brain and will and moral fiber hasn't changed. The difference between me now and me then is managing the food environment in such a way that it doesn't create a cascade of reactions in my body, lending itself to at storage and poor energy utilization. It wasn't even just eating less - I am infinitely more satisfied on the same 1800 calories of my current diet than on the 1800 calorie iteration previously. The nutrient composition matters, because my body does NOT process 300 calories of chicken the same as 300 calories of rice. And that is a fact in establishing healthy diets that should not be ignored - is the lack of adherence just a decision/choice of the dieter, are they all created equal? The evidence I'm reading and living points emphatically to NO!

That doesn't mean that you don't exercise self control and make choices, or that it is effortless, but it isn't as straightforward as a simple choice to eat more like your diet and less like theirs. There is biochemical feedback influencing and nearly controlling the selections of both individuals, and the first step to managing that is to be aware it exists and that certain foods affect the body's hunger more than others. In the end they will still need to implement a healthy diet for their body, but understanding what constitutes healthy and what does not is a huge key to success for long term compliance, and the answer isn't straightforward for many of the folks who need it the most.

I get awfully tired of metabolically normative, healthy people trying to tell me why my body isn't working like theirs, while ignoring that my body is NOT theirs and clearly doesn't respond the same way. It's so easy to boil it down to a choice, but reality is that if it were as simple as an equally tempting, equally satiating, but nutritionally diverse selection of a salad over nachos - most folks WOULD choose the food that tasted just as good but impacted their fatness less. It isn't so simple as that, and I get very annoyed when oversimplified arguments to the contrary are presented. It takes deliberate ignorance of basic endocrinology to conclude such a thing, and yet this is perpetrated at university level regarding nutrition, almost as a matter of course. Ridiculous.

I could get into specific details regarding this and cite evidence out my nose, but others have done more of that and better than I ever could. Suffice to say that disregarding the fact that insulin is required for fat storage and insulin levels (and individual sensitivity to them) vary wildly based on genetics and environmental choices, is a pitfall of nutrition that I am having less and less tolerance for. That's my rant on the subject, thanks to Diane for her conversation starter :)

taryl | General | 14 December, 11:36pm | 50 comments

Just a late night tidbit I thought I'd share -

Back when I was getting engaged, I was fat but not at my heaviest (I'd guess the 230-240 range) and my ring was sized as an 8.25, which fit comfortably enough. Toward my high weight the ring was tight, and quite uncomfortably so when I was in the 260-and-pregnant range.

It has been loose from the time I've been sub-180 pounds, but now it is ridiculous. If I tip my hand it falls off with pretty much negligible resistance, and I've actually had it come off in the washing machine while loading clothes and not even noticed. It's a gorgeous and expensive ring, in addition to being sentimentally valued, so I'm not wanting to damage or lose it because of the size discrepancy.

This week I went in and got resized. I wanted to put that off until I hit my goal but it just can't be delayed anymore. My new size? A perfectly dainty 6, which is comfortable and not tight. I went from having a ring almos as big as my husband's to one that looks comparably tiny. It's a great little non-scale victory to have it sized down so much and know I might even have to have it done again when I hit goal.

No other news to report, just chugging along with diet and exercise as planned. But I thought it would be fun to record for posterity's sake :)

taryl | General | 12 December, 7:18am | 63 comments

Just what the title says. I'm really tired from an overly busy day yesterday (it was fun, though!) and figured a quick update was the best way to wake up my brain before the inmates begin running the asylum instead of me! Awake children and a dragging mommy is never a great combo.

My 24 week appt. on Monday went very well. Blood pressure was 119/70, weight was completely stable as it has been for the past eight weeks, baby was moving around with a heartbeat of 150 BPM, and my fundal height measurement had jumped up to 29 cm (very typical for me, I'm short with a short torso, to boot!). The midwife was thrilled with my vitals and my diet and exercise work, too. I hopped off the table before she had a chance to lower it and she was surprised I didn't hurt myself, but my strength and flexibility is excellent thanks to TTap and the normal hip and back pain I'm usually suffering by the time I measure this big hasn't come about. Not even a small amount of it. Other than moving round slower due to my balance being off, and getting fatigued more quickly, I really feel great. And my back is less sore now than it was at 14 weeks - entirely thanks to the exercise system, as far as I can tell.

I've been doing my TTap five days a week as planned and moving the rest days around a bit if I need them after a particularly strenuous workout. I began my skin brushing and have been regular with that, too. No complaints, I just wish I could get more sleep each day, and then the pregnancy would be perfect!

Diet is right on the money, I even managed to stick to my plan at a friend's house yesterday, after being invited over for an impromptu lunch when I was dropping some skirts off to her. I ate more nuts than I'd have liked, in place of pasta, but it was an easy substitute to what she was making and comfortable for both of us. I ended the day on plan and not exceeding any of my guidelines, and it has been that way consistently since I got on plan in mid-October. Even the days when I was eating more loosely to accommodate weird or stressful situations I've still been completely able to make good choices and not be off plan. And it has been no hardship, I feel great and genuinely enjoy my food choices. I was supposed to add berries this week and haven't even gotten around to it, it just hasn't fit with my tastes and I like my menus as they are. So that will come when it comes, but I'm honestly doing fine right now, just where I'm at.

As I mentioned briefly above my weight has been completely stable in the 183-184 range, which is up exactly 20 pounds from where my hCG round ended when I got pregnant. Considering I immediately bounced up five pounds my actual weight gain at this point in pregnancy looks excellent. It's really been more of a fat shift, as my clothes fit better and my face looks much thinner again. Knowing the baby is gaining weight and length like crazy right now, the scale holding still means I'm just losing at approximately the rate the little one is growing, which is fine by me. I am not hungry, don't feel exceptionally run down, and my immune system is actually more resilient than it has been during ANY pregnancy I've had. I usually catch everything going around and I haven't gotten a full case of anything, not even the vomity stomach bug or a cold. I can feel them trying to come on occasionally, but my body seems to fight off the infection before it takes hold. Optimal nutrition and a focus on getting sleep is likely what is helping.

So that's my 24 week update! No news is good news and everything is just progressing in its daily groove. I'll pop back in when I have more to say, but it's a fair assessment to conclude that I'm doing as excellently as a pregnant lady can. No health issues, habits under control, activity good, all indicators point to health for me and the baby. Woohoo!

taryl | General | 5 December, 6:11pm | 29 comments

I was on an online friend's blog today and she was mulling where to set her goals, as well as generally eager to make her target by the end of this year. She's doing incredibly, and almost there. It got me to mulling my own journey and goals more carefully, and the irony of having 'failed' at achieving what I set out to do thus far, while still enjoying where I am and whether or not one can 'fail' by not making a goal, if they're still vastly improved. Much of what I told her are things I, myself, have had to carefully consider. Thus, the response:

"Evaluate carefully - if you're not willing to do the work to maintain that the 120's might require, it is NO failure to maintain at an easier, more comfortable spot. I can understand the psychological drive to see your goal this year, I have a bit of that going on, too. But I'm not going to make myself crazy for it.

To put it in perspective, I've failed to make my original weight goal of 160 going on four years now. But while I know I'm not there and still too heavy for my liking, that doesn't mean I can't be content and even thrilled over how I look at this very moment. Even with the massive belly, I can see a huge difference from previous pregnancies in how the REST of me looks and it is great, goal or no. When you take the long term perspective of this all being for life, the time in loss mode vs. maintenance mode becomes a lot less crucial, and in some cases the two just blur together!"

I really believe this to be true. It is no failure of weight management to hang out at a higher scale number if it is comfortable and 'good enough'. This is the body we live in, and chasing after a number to the point of getting neurotic or falling off the wagon completely in self disgust is counter productive. I'm at peace with this now, thankfully, but it took some time to wrap my brain around the concepts of 'success' and 'failure' being largely dependent not on the physical state, but the state of mind. Change the thinking, the entire concept being evaluated is suddenly seen in a new light. In this way, mental talk and expectations are EVERYTHING in weight management. And life, in general.

taryl | General | 30 November, 2:10am | 29 comments

Continuing my ongoing diet experiment I'm doing well on Atkins still. Face and limbs are noticeably trimmer and the belly is bigger each week. Energy has been pretty iffy but it's a combination of the season (ie: dark and cold makes me want to hibernate) and pregnancy fatigue. But I'm consistently eating my calorie budget and carb budget and feeling satisfied to full, which is the best I can hope for. I'm also keeping up on my TTap and noticing increases in stamina and strength, which is excellent.

I am doing fine with adding nuts back in, for the most part. Macadamias are borderline, they make me a bit craving-crazy, but just because they taste delicious, not due to actual physiological cravings (I don't think!). Brazil nuts are fine, almond milk is fine, chocolate in 10-12 gram quantities is fine. Overall I've noticed no uptick in hunger EXCEPT one day when I consumed a ton of nuts - 1 oz of macadamias, 1/2 oz of Brazil nuts, and three separate cups of almond milk. And the cravings seemed to come with the almond milk, which was mixed together with stevia and tea in an iced milk tea concoction that was so delicious I kept wanting more. Too yummy for me to have every day. But even then I think it was the taste I kept going back for, not necessarily nut related. I was retaining a bit of water after that, as well, so I think I just need to limit my nuts from all sources to an ounce of nuts and a cup of almond milk a day, max. That has proven a safe combo this week.

Next week my rung will be berries/cantaloupe/honeydew, ie: lowest glycemic fruits. I am planning on bumping my net carbs up to 30 from 25, and keeping them in this range from here until premaintenance, whenever I hit it postpartum (that will require I'm within ten or fifteen pounds of goal). I lose well at this rate, from all non-scale indicators I can tell, but don't have cravings or overeating. So it seems like a good spot to hunker down in and increase my food variety within. So that's the plan - 25 net and rung 3 until the end of the week, then up to 30 net and rung 4 on Sunday.

Funny cravings - I have been eating sardines like they're going out of style! Usually a can a day with lunch, either with salt and lemon juice or mustard. SO good. Thankfully they're among the lowest fish in toxins, so safe for regular consumption. And an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and calcium, too. Mmm!

taryl | General | 29 November, 6:43am | 38 comments

Busy and eventful few days here, time for an update!

Thanksgiving was excellent , except that the night before my middle daughter, the one who wasn't sick, woke up vomiting. She clearly caught what was going around. Then my husband threw up, having caught it, too.

It turns out I'd had it the day before but am an expert at not throwing up (in four pregnancies I can count the number of vomiting episodes on one hand... Nausea I struggle with, but I can keep it down with much willpower ;)). My manifestation was exhaustion and terrible diarrhea. Oh well!

So by the time the morning rolled around we were all tired from being up at night with varying degrees of sick, and then stressed out trying to get food prepped for thanksgiving with my inlaws. Fortunately we knew the duration of the illness was short, so we marched on only marginally late and everyone was fairly recovered by the evening. The inlaws kept all the kids overnight and DH and I got to spend the night and then today home alone, with much sleeping in and then working on the completion of a project in the garage.

All in all it went quite well, the illness on Sunday and then again on Thursday was unfortunate but couldn't be helped. I needed beg forgiveness for my short temper that morning (when I overslept after the sickness and then was running late on cooking for the afternoon festivities), but The Lord gave me such peace when I humbled myself and repented for trying to control things clearly out of my control, and the rest of the day was wonderful. There's I lesson here I should remember, we'll see if it actually sticks this time!

I was a slug all day on the couch so getting in my TTap tonight is necessary! And I have new things to look forward to - my Step Away the Inches and Step It To The Max dvds came in the mail today! So my DH will be putting that on our media server and on my iPad for me to work out to soon. I'm excited to try them, these are two TTap workouts I've been wanting for months and when they were on sale this month I finally splurged.

Working out has been excellent, I've been consistent and feeling so much more limber and strong because of it. I'm also noticing inch loss through my torso again, even WITH the giant belly. I can tell I'm carrying higher and with better posture, too, since resuming the TTap. And the cessation of the worst of the back and hip pain I'd been having just solidifies in my mind that this workout is absolutely necessary for my health and comfort. So just like my food commitments, I have no want or need to slack on the exercise now that I've slipped up and began again - nothing lays the benefits of adherence in quite such clear relief as taking and break and resuming!

No breaks were had on the diet front, either. I did perfectly, exactly as I had intended. With some stress (as mentioned above) I made my food contributions. My husband tasted the potatoes while I seasoned them, but the poor man was still very nauseous so when he couldn't stomach a bite I dabbed at the spoon with my tongue to ascertain the saltiness and adjusted accordingly. Didn't even LICK, just got away with the minimum test required to get the data I needed. Then at the actual lunch I had plenty of the salad I'd packed, the creamed spinach I made, a boatload of turkey and a small bit of gravy. I would have avoided the gravy but the amount of flour wasn't enough to cause me carb concerns or trigger cravings, and I used the minimum to moisten the turkey. I passed up dessert not once but TWICE, when it was brought out again several hours later. That was tricky, because I was hungry, but I persisted knowing the food was no good for me and wasn't worth the carbs. When I got home I fixed myself up a plate of plan-appropriate leftovers and made a pumpkin cheesecake shake for a great, which is a DELICIOUS low carb recipe from Maria Emmerich and fits perfectly into my weight loss rung.

All in all I did exactly what I wanted, with the food I wanted, and didn't cheat. I'm very proud of myself and enjoyed the holiday immensely, even 'missing' the desserts just a bit. But I have a goal in mind and health to consider, while I may eat higher carb at Christmas, being at a family's home and having traveled the entire night (and having no dishes of my own prepared) I just wasn't willing to set myself back for Thanksgiving. So I didn't. Even with a rough start to the day I still stayed on plan, and couldn't have done better. No pecan pie tastes as good as that feeling of accomplishment.

I'm moving up a rung again this week, to add back in nuts/cocoa/etc. My net carbs might go up to 30, but honestly I've been having a difficult time getting in 25 net right now, even trying! When you're not eating fruit, grains, or sugar, it is actually quite tough to get that limit in veggies (and I love veggies and eat 4+ cups per day!). So for my purposes I am allowing a higher ceiling on carbs but probably not by much more, even in future weeks. I'm really content where I am and feeling excellent, so adding in more food variety at the same-ish carb level is a better choice for me than upping the carbs AND variation. My weight has remained steady on the scale for three weeks now, but knowing how much weight the baby is putting on that means I'm probably losing at a modest clip. My torso is trimmer and my face is much slimmer, in addition to the energy I have, so I don't doubt I am losing some fat. But I'm eating until I'm satisfied of highly nutritious, energy dense food, and MUCH healthier feeling than I was a few months ago. Six weeks back to consisten low carb, and I have absolutely no complaints.

And that's the scoop for this week. Good workouts, good food, iffy health and sleep, but good progress despite the stomach bugs and holiday :)

taryl | General | 24 November, 6:47am | 38 comments

Okay so we have a house of pukies last night and today. Right as we were going to bed we realized our 5 year old threw up in her sleep. She didn't stop pretty much all night so I was up with her and DH took the morning shift. Then our 2 year old woke up in a pile, too, and was rather perplexed about who ralphed on his blankie. Throughout all this stress last night. I didn't once turn to food and stress eat, though the urge was there. I was well satisfied from my big lunch/dinner and hunger wasn't the problem, so I made a conscious decision to feel grossed out, exhausted, frustrated, and stressed, instead of turning to food. This is one of my major hurtles in maintenance, even after four years. So beating the urge to temporarily soothe myself with food, even on plan food, left me feeling so much better for it. Victorious might be a good word to describe it ;)

Middle daughter is still healthy, praise the Lord! And the whole thing seems to have been just a 24 hour bug. I was feeling a bit nauseous by afternoonut no throwing up, we all got in a good nap and had a movie day and everyone seems to be doing better. DH made it home safely and there was room on a midday flight that had previous been full, so we got in a nice date yesterday evening before sickness hit and I didn't have to do the epic cleanup entirely alone. The timing was quite a blessing, and has left me even more grateful for a) our general excellent health as a family, this is VERY rare, and b) my wonderful, helpful husband!

Was feeling sluggish this evening so I knew TTap would improve that. Sure enough, I'm feeling warmer and more energetic even after just doing the first move (I'm posting as a mid-workout break). I always forget how excellent I feel when regularly doing TTap, and I really shouldn't let it lapse because it is its own encouragement to keep going when I'm otherwise drained. My back and hips are feeling much better for it, too.

Back to the exercise, now, and then a shower, knitting, and a little tv time with DH. Good night!

taryl | General | 19 November, 5:23am | 29 comments

Since I can't remember to track this anywhere else, I'll just do it here. I'm increasing my carbs by five grams this week, and adding in new foods on this rung, too, since the induction experiment has gone very well thus far. I haven't even been strict, in that if there has been a craving for on-plan food I've eaten it, as well as gone higher on my carbs when necessary (like restaurant salads that are a cup or two bigger than I'd eat at home) but I've still seen a lot of benefits and the busting of the cravings cycle. However I'm wanting a more systematic approach and so I'll be adding in foods I haven't been eating for awhile by the rung system, just to make sure I'm not missing any sensitivity of cravings inducer. Thus my aim, unless I'm needing more, is 25 net this week.

Nothing much else to comment on - workouts have been good, but sore! I'm amazed at how my quads are shaking by fifteen minutes into the workout (granted, you're in a power squat the entire time, with just a few quick shakeouts). Those mommy muscles have needed the work so as much as I'm quivering, it's a necessary thing and I can already feel myself get stronger. I also haven't been to a chiropractor in about six weeks, which is a long stretch for me, but my back and hips are actually feeling fine (miraculously). I can only credit that with strengthening the supporting muscles again, as I noticed that same change in my posture and spinal alignment the first time I did TTap consistently.

So diet is going well, baby is bopping around like crazy and responding the the poke-the-belly game, workouts are consistent, piano's not shabby, either. No complaining here!

taryl | General | 13 November, 7:39pm | 56 comments

Hello all! Been recovering from the election busyness and getting back in a normal groove. It all went very well for us on a state level and my husband has been great in letting me sleep in when he is home, so by this afternoon I can report to feeling much less sluggish and much more human than I did before.

My eating was the best it could be at each venue we were at, mission accomplished! I also got back to my TTap yesterday, and it was quite necessary. I was a little sore from ending up taking most of the week off, but it was a good wibble in my quads upon completion! I'm right back to it and doing my best each day, which is really I can ask from myself.

Piano lesson went very well today, I am feeling a lot of progress in my technique even if I'm not playing significantly more difficult pieces than I was before. They sound much more beautiful and my teacher commented that I am worlds apart from where I was when I began with her. It's encouraging to see growth and she is very patient with me and my crazy schedule. It's easy to get disheartened that I cannot spend more time on practicing even when I'd like to, but I do my best and she goes at my pace and assigns work accordingly. So thank you Shirley, you're wonderful!

My appointment Thursday went very well. The baby looked great and was measuring on target to slightly big, especially in the legs. All my kids have been short when born but the midwife said this one looked a lanky to her eye, and the measurement confirmed it, so we may have someone taking after daddy's height after all! I mentioned my dietary changes to the midwife and she was curious but unconcerned. So that was an issue avoided. Heartbeat, brain, kidneys, head, etc all looked excellent and the baby was already making the suckling face, which was super cute to watch. I told her not to announce the sex but that didn't mind looking at the various angles for myself and making a guess. The glimpses I saw have me thinking one way, but I'm not positive. Given that she said she could tell what I was having, I'm feeling more confident my own estimations are correct. My gut has been pretty ambivalent this whole pregnancy on sex guesses, it will be fun to see if my amateur sonography deciphering was accurate or not.

I got my results back for my prenatal panel with some antibody funkiness that seems to point to me having some autoimmune issue, but I have other symptoms outside of pregnancy that indicate that. I'm producing a lot of antibodies, some specific to conditions I don't have, and things like Lupus can be culprits for the discrepancy. But the levels were low and like my OB last time, the midwives weren't concerned and said it would be no issue for risking me out of a homebirth, and I think watching my symptoms and keeping my inflammation low (however I chose to do it) is just going to be a necessary, ongoing part of my health maintenance. For as funky as the labs looked on paper with several weird results (antibodies for syphilis without ever having been exposed, hemolytic antigen present even though my blood type is B+, etc) the conclusion is that I'm healthy as a horse and there's no cause for concern. It was a fun appointment, as the midwife kept looking like she was waiting for me to freak out on her as she gave me the results (at least one of which I've had before) and realized I am neither reactionary nor easily upset by weird medical news. Her sigh of relief at the end was gold ;). A whole lot of weird amounting to a whole lot of nothing isn't going to throw me into a conniption fit, but some mothers aren't as relaxed as me (which makes me wonder why they're going to midwives instead of OBs? Hmm..)

I think that is about the size of it. Nothing terribly interesting, but I've been busy. That's not stopping anytime soon, though!

taryl | General | 10 November, 11:58pm | 67 comments

Just as I'd says, I know I've been terribly lazy about pictures this pregnancy - these are the first I've taken! But progress is important and since I'm officially halfway through the pregnancy now, and my weight and habits are on track nicely again, too, I figured it was time to post something more visual.

So here I am last night (excuse any makeup deficiencies) at 20 weeks pregnant with the mystery baby!

I'm up exactly 20 pounds from pre-pregnancy, at 183, which is fine by me. I've been holding steady there for almost a month and my face and back and has slimmed back down a bit, which means I'm losing fat at about the rate I'm gaining baby weight. As far as I can tell all the vacation junk eating has been dealt with and now I'm working on the consequences of eating to my cravings for four months ;)

In hindsight it's slightly annoying to deal with the consequences of choosing meals off plan, but given how long I've been dieting and managing my weight taking a sanity break when my exhaustion and nausea were worst made sense. I got away without much 'damage', as it were, despite the off plan eating for months, and nothing that being on plan now and breastfeeding calorie burning won't take care of. It was definitely time to get back on the wagon and I've been feeling much better for it. More energy, less cravings, easier weight management.

Pregnancy is tricky for weight management, since hCG in these quantities preferentially stores fat and does it quickly. That, and massive water retention and increasing weight from baby/placenta/amniotic fluid tends to mask what fat loss has occurred in ever increasing scale numbers. Holding fairly steady until the last trimester is really the best I can hope for and what I did with Seth. I ended up having minimal weight gain with him and was under prepregnancy weight shortly after he was born. I weighed forty pounds more for that pregnancy and I've noticed here, at a lower weight, my body is storing more fat that it did in previous pregnancies (even with the same habits) and my weight has gone up a bit faster than it did when I was obese and pregnant. I'm thinking that is because of the hormonal effects of fat and the fact that I have less reserves now than I did before, but either way it is coming on a little easier and coming off a little slower. Overall control of my eating with low carb has made it much easier and more comfortable for me to manage than when I was battling blood sugar crashes and starch cravings, but I've definitely had to be vigilant and smart with my choices.

To be at a pound a week gain, on average, with the gain slowing down now that I'm controlling my intake better, is really a good spot to be in for 20 weeks. I'm right on target where I need to be for the recommended weight gain for me (30-40 pounds total) and that will leave me with minimal post-baby weight to lose, which is the goal. When I'm looking at closely spaced pregnancies controlling my habits and minimizing gains with each baby is a lot more crucial than a woman who has one or two kids and they're four or five years apart. An additional ten or fifteen pounds with each baby and back to back pregnancies can leave you fifty pounds heavier after a few children and the health consequences during gestation will climb with that excess weight, especially as mom ages.

In that respect I am so lucky I was fat when I was a teen and fixed it after my second baby. I had to deal with my weight early on and plenty of it, so my habits for pregnancy have been vastly improved than if I hadn't had anything to fix and therefore had no coping skills to do it, after babies came. I haven't experienced the phenomenon of baby weight largely because I have good dietary and exercise habits now and don't let myself stay off the wagon for too long before correcting and getting back on track. Spending so long on this weight loss journey has, if nothing else, equipped me with a TON of mainenance practice and skills, and now when I find myself ballooning up and eating like crud, I don't have to panic and just accept the outcome but have an active set of skills to manage and correct the behavior, that's a BIG victory.

So here at 20 weeks, with my 4th viable pregnancy, at 26 years old, I can say I'm pretty happy with where I am and have a solid plan for where I'm going. Things are back to normal in terms of eating and exercise, no more off plan indulgences (I do have cravings but satisfy them in controlled ways again, rather than going whole hog into whatever sounds yummy) or lack of accountability. It was a nice brain break for the first sixteen weeks but I was quite ready to regain control and get back to normal. I'd say I am back up 7-10 pounds of real fat since my prepregnancy low, that isn't baby weight, but I've been watching that come off the last few weeks. Some is being stubborn and that will continue as long as my hormones are wonky, but for a pregnant lady I think I look pretty good! Here's to a happy, healthy, rest of the pregnancy on plan!

taryl | General | 5 November, 5:42pm | 44 comments

It wasn't by accident, but it worked out better than even I planned. Yesterday was the great candy binge for most of the country, and I managed to avoid all candy and even shuffle some junk out of my house, at the same time. Perfect!

The day didn't start well, I woke up exhausted and it felt like I was literally strapped to the bed, my arms were SO heavy. That persisted, and the entire day was a struggle against physical exhaustion (my brain was fine, my body was just molasses). I'm thinking the baby was having a growth spurt, because that's exactly what it felt like. All energy just sucked out of me. And I worked out the previous day AND that day, but it still didn't explain the complete fatigue I was having. I knew just making it to the evening would be a challenge, let alone getting out at 6:30 for Reformation Night at church.

The day was spent eating cleanly, I was perfectly on plan and wasn't really having cravings, not for candy or anything else. Other than the tired, I really was 100% on and very pleased with myself. I knew that the evening event would be tough with the candy, potluck, and socializing in general, but figured I'd cross that hurdle when I got to it. Well, the hurdle never came! My husband indicated that if I could barely get out of bed or up off a chair, I probably couldn't fellowship, either. And he was right. Thought I was feeling a little more energized after some TTap I was still pooped, and my husband said he'd take the kids to the church without me, and I could go to bed early (I chose to rest and watch some tv, instead, knowing my brain couldn't fall asleep that early no matter how tired my body was!).

So one bullet dodged, even though I did miss everyone it was the best decision. I still had to send along potluck food, but with how tired I was, preparing anything elaborate was beyond me. An idea struck me, and it worked perfectly. In my pantry I have several bags of the giant marshmallows (they're about 2x3 inches!) that haven't been used. I decided to out two bags of them in a bowl and send them along as a dessert. Very lazy, for someone who usually takes potluck dishes as an opportunity to make extra yummy food for everyone, but it was tasty AND dispatched of potential temptations from my home. So not only did I not eat any Halloween candy, I actually moved two BAGS of off-plan food out of my house, all while not making myself more tired. YAY!

We don't get trick-or-treaters (we've had maybe two or three in the six years we've lived here) and so I've decided there's no reason to buy a bag of candy 'just in case'. That mitigates a ton of temptation, right there. But avoiding the social situation really was the best choice. It doesn't always work, and then I'll do what I did for Ladies Craft Night (pack food I can ea and only sample other foods than comply with my plan). But the entire thing went fabulously, especially given the inauspicious beginning.

I'm still tired, especially after our crazy Thursday I can't say I'm any more rested or energetic. But I survived yesterday AND today, even if I'm not vibrant and bouncy ;). Working out isn't happening today, but I played in the pool with the kids after their lesson, and even got in a short piano practice (it was like pulling teeth today, so I don't force it but may come back to it later tonight). All in all, for being busy and tired, I'm doing as well as I could hope for. Victory, even if I still need a nap. Blah!

taryl | General | 2 November, 12:50am | 17 comments

Title says it all. We survived (just barely) the insanity of last week. My husband took his 16 hour SE exam and thinks he did pretty well (I'm translating, he always assumes the worst so not to be disappointed ;) ). It was exhausting and stressful to have to take on extra tasks and time while he was busy with that, but I know he,was grateful and it helped him. The election craziness also continues, but we're managing through that, as well. There were lots of a tantrums and behavioral issues with Seth last week, which has to do with being two, but despite it getting very frustrating at times The Lord brought us BOTH through!

This week shouldn't be inordinately bad for me. My husband will still be very busy with treasurer duties and such, and I have a campaign meeting tonight, bible study tomorrow morning, and Reformation Night celebration Wednesday evening. Yet none of these things are big enough to derail my progress or drive me batty, even if they would have a year or two ago. I don't love it, but I can cope with one activity in the schedule, per day, pretty well now. It's not just the kids who are growing around these parts ;)

There is almost no way I'm making it to the pool before Nov 6. Just too much stuff going on in the evenings, and Peter is unavailable to clean up dinner or watch the kids most night because of his own workload. So I'm going to continue my focus on TTap this week and not stress about no pool time. I also need to get solid hours of piano in, after an overly busy/sleepy/lazy/stressful time last week, where every afternoon I was lucky to move out of a chair, let alone be productive. My goal this week is to tighten that block of time back up.

Food is going very well. My carbs are still settling in quite low but I'm not hungry for more. Interestingly, I find it easier to settle in at induction levels OR much higher, but a little bit more is tough to nail. I have no idea why this is, maybe it has something to do with cravings or my natural preferences? Either way I ended up on plan each day of the week, including Ladies Craft Night, though the composition of my meals varied immensely with the occasions. I am very pleased I stayed on target. Rinse and repeat is the name of the game this week. As I've noticed many times in the past, once I get over the initial hurdle of compliance when I go back to being strict, it becomes easy again. But the first few days are always crucial and often involve white knuckles ;)

As mentioned above, I'm 19 weeks into this pregnancy. The kid is about half a pound and eight or nine inches long. Kicks and wiggles galore right now, but the fun kind (not the painful ones I'm expecting down the road). The on, downside is that I've been havi g some pain below my sternum and I truly can't ascertain whether it is heartburn/irritated esophagus or I strained a muscle Ttapping on Friday. It really could be either one, and since it never stops hurting and the Gaviscon hasn't touched it, I'm now leaning toward muscle soreness/strain as the cause. It has improved a bit, but is still quite uncomfortable while eating/shifting/laying down/etc. No other troublesome symptoms to report, thankfully.

That's the Monday update!

taryl | General | 29 October, 4:46pm | 18 comments

As my alarm has woken me up, been reset, and woken me up later, I could feel the little one rolling round a few inches above my belly button (I'm short, it gets up there very quickly) and put my hand down to feel. Lo and behold. I got three little kicks over the course of a few minutes that I could feel from the outside. Yay!

taryl | General | 25 October, 3:59pm | 15 comments

I have an insane week to end and the busiest scheduled day for us is today, as per usual. And what am I doing? Typing at 5:40 AM, after tossing and turning for two hours. Seth had a nightmare (I think) and I woke up to help him, but couldn't get back to sleep. My brain was churning about the trip down to California in December, what's going on with family, even issues like diet and salvation. Classic insomnia. I tend to get it more during pregnancy, even as I'm more tired during the day. I have some 5-HTP and Valerian I can take for sleep help, as well as diphenhydramine, but I have to wake up in just over an hour and don't want to over-sedate myself. Boo!

I've been doing well this week. Got in two sessions of TTap since my last blog and would have done one yesterday but I got caught up emailing my mom, who I haven't talked with in a few months. It was good to hear from her and respond so the sacrifice was worth it. I was quite sore from the TTap, too, so a day break was likely wise.

Diet has been right on. Though I keep hitting shoddy and conflicting data about ketones and pregnancy, which is frustrating. That anyone with a brain in their head could posit a nutritionally dense, grain/sugar free diet causing some fat burning is the same health concern for a baby as a gestationally diabetic womb environment experiencing ketoacidosis, is maddening. Physiologically the two conditions are opposites, even if they both involve spilling of ketones the mechanisms causing it within the body are biologically opposed, with one being incredibly dangerous and one being tightly controlled by the endocrine system. But nobody wants to experiment with pregnant women and the bias against low carb diets is strong in general, so it isn't surprised the would affect research in the area of controlled carbohydrate pregnancies.

Given the data I have seen, both the anecdotal (fine outcomes for mom and baby on the zero carb to moderate carb spectrum) and the scientific studies (bad science and shoddy epidemiology showing either no effect or some growth restriction and IQ drops) I waffle back and forth on what the wisest course of action may be. The little bit of scientifically researched damage involving ketones has NOT proven it is the ketone bodies, and not the underlying condition causing them (uncontrolled diabetes), that is the danger. That's a big red flag to me, from a logical standpoint. Add to that plenty of testimonial from other women who've ignored the conventional advice of upping carbs to 100+ grams per day and persisted in their pre-pregnancy low carb routines, only to experience mild pregnancies and normal infants... It is a lot of conflicting food for thought!

So I'm experimenting right now. I really want to stick to induction level carbs but I want to be smart about my nutrition. I am craving a cup or two more of vegetable matter per day than induction allows, so I bumped my total carbs up to 40-60 grams, max, to work in some extra salad veggies, a half cup of pumpkin, and berries if I want them. That keeps me low carb enough that I don't have insane cravings (so far) and mitigates ketosis to some degree (I'm not testing my ketones so it is tough to say, but I still feel like I'm in mild ketosis from wellness symptoms end energy level). It may even be enough to manage the weight bounce I had from too much pasta and sushi in the first trimester. But unless they're just going by ketone presence, alone, my diet is almost nutritionally bulletproof for pregnancy. To give my current menu, which fluctuates a bit depending on whether I'm craving more protein or carbs:

Breakfast: 3 eggs fried in 1/2 tbsp butter, pot of tea with stevia and 1 tbsp whipping cream

Snack: 3-5 Brazil nuts, 1 square 88% dark chocolate

Lunch: Salad of 3 cups lettuce, 1/3 cup bell pepper, 1/4 cup each celery and cucumber, 2 oz. marinated artichoke, 1 cup mushroom. 1 oz feta cheese, 3 tbsp herb vinaigrette (homemade). 5 oz cooked turkey or ham, iced tea

Dinner: 1/2 cup pumpkin with 1 tbsp whipping cream and some stevia, 1/2 cup berries with 1 tbsp whipping cream and some stevia, 5-8 oz salmon/steak/tin of sardines/tuna salad

Possible snack: 1/2 oz pork rinds for some crunch, Italian cream soda

Now as far as menus go, that's pretty clean. I have a few 'fun' foods in there, like the little bit of chocolate and pork rinds, or some sugar free coffee syrup, but overall it is very clean. It is in NO way short on vegetable matter, either. But the carbs are still under 60 total, or 30-40 net. It is a little high for weight loss but should be fine pregnancy and breastfeeding, if ketosis is a concern. I'd still like to drop it by ten carbs and am playing around with it (smaller salad, one less carb with dinner, etc) but if my midwife corners me on spilling ketones and is concerned about it being a risk factor against homebirth, I want to have a nutritionally dense, in-no-way-restricted few weeks of menus to show her I'm not insane, sick, or trying to retard anything about my baby just because I'm burning fat instead of glucose. So it's a bit of a balancing act with my preferences and not freaking her out to where she backs out of doing my homebirth because perceived risk factors regarding my health (babies of mothers with poor blood sugar control often have problems upon birth, including hypoglycemia, shoulder dystocia, and macrosomia... I highly doubt I'd magically have these issues from having this diet, when I have no history of them with prior babies and worse diets [and more fat tissues and their accompanying hormones] with each of them, but that's where the science breaks down quite a bit for me).

So this is where I'm at, heading into a crazy weekend and sleepless but tired. A lot churning around and no definitive answers that make sense, which sucks. To some extent I'm just trusting my body's feedback of energy/inflammation/cravings/etc and adjusting my choices from there. But since induction did the job of kicking me into appetite suppression and killing my cravings, I wasn't entirely opposed to slightly higher carbs. I hate making dietary choices based on the perception of others, but neither do I want to be foolish with nutrition when my body is under a lot of heavy demands already. It's just not very straightforward, as it is when not pregnant, and I really wish more research and experimenting had go into the subject before Dr. Atkins had passed. The current body of data just doesn't make sense with dietary ketosis as opposed to uncontrolled diabetes, but I'm on my own if I deviate from standard recommendations in this area.

And now I'm tired enough to fall asleep, with 45 minutes until my alarm. Boo.

taryl | General | 25 October, 2:14pm | 17 comments

Someone asked on the 3FC forum today what we consider 'fat', and though the concept is extremely subjective, I thought it was thought provoking and wanted to out my thoughts down here, too.

'Fat' is SO individual. And most people have no clue, besides their own body and measurements, what the actual dimensions of someone else are. I've been considered healthy and quite attractive at a weight the same person would say is fat, because my body composition and measurements differ from their litmus as the same weight.

So I really try not to get into justifying, measuring, and eyeballing other people if I can at all help it, because too many factors beyond just weight determine whether someone is fat, and quite frankly it is their health and happiness that matters more than their size!

So for ME, I can answer that my start weight was unbearably obese - when I was in the prime of my life (21!) and got tired going up stairs, couldn't easily get down to play with my kids, let alone get back up. Where nothing I put on, no matter how expensive or elegant, looked good. My fat as inescapable and no angle I turned my head could hide it from me anymore. At my height then, of 5'2", with a broad but not overly dense frame, 260-ish pounds was morbidly obese in both appearance and BMI. That didn't make me ugly, a bad person, or even miserable from day to day, but it did become a stumbling block to me serving my family rightly, and I was convicted that I needed to fix it.

My original goal is what I remember 'not fat' being. Back when I was in highschool I was 160-165 and though I got called fat by a few rude boys, I was healthy, active, and considered quite lovely by many others (including myself - I didn't mind looking in the mirror). And it was a good litmus - when I got down to 163 right before this pregnancy most of my excess torso fat was gone - back and neck fat, flanks, apron fat, etc. It was reduced enough to give me a normal silhouette and my clothing was firmly a size 12/medium, except in button up tops (I have still been blessed with broad shoulders and a big chest, regardless of my weight). For me, that was a size that I could consider myself healthy and normal, even if I never lost anther pound. I was fit, looked good, and felt even better.

I ended up lowering my goal because once I got there I could see that additional fat could and should be lost from my body. There was a lot more work that could be done to improve my shape without too much difficulty in maintaining it. So I lowered the goal twenty to forty pounds, intent on stopping wherever I looked and felt best without excess daily struggle to stay there. Then iwas richly blessed with a little metabolic bomb called pregnancy and additional fat loss was somewhat stalled out by fatigue, cravings, food aversion, and the occasional bout of ravenous hunger. My goal still stands, but it will have to wait just a bit longer since I'm not quite halfway through this pregnancy. But I'm back on my plan and working off some vacation/fun eating weight, and will be raring to go when this baby is born and I'm breastfeeding. My original self-assessment still stands.

*****

On a related note, as mentioned above, I am right on track in my current plan of choice (went back to clean, no sugar/starch, Atkins) because I looked and felt best while adopting it. Since I cannot do the protocol while pregnant or nursing, I have had to do some serious searching as to what fits my tastes and lifestyle while still getting my to my goals. Good old Atkins has been the very best fit and I enjoy it. For some silly reason the diet is still considered taboo, despite piles of research proving it excellent and forty years of clinical and personal examples showing its' safety and success. But I've never minded being subversive, and reading through DANDR (Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, 2002 printing) has disabused me of the last of my erroneous notions that this isn't safe, sustainable long term, and a good choice for me given my specific body, allergies, and the metabolic demands placed on me through pregnancy and breastfeeding.

I won't get into specifics on here right now because it's not necessary, and the use of ketogenic approaches during pregnancy is controversial despite no significant evidence to prove that assumption and a fair bit to the contrary of it. But suffice to say I am eating nutritious food, to my hunger. After two days I've broken my cravings again and am feeling SO much more energetic and clear-headed. I can't even tell you the difference, it's so stark. And I always seem to forget, when I've fallen off the wagon, how much improved I look and feel when I'm sane and on plan. I can still eat delicious, rich food, and substitutes for my old, grain-y and sugary favorites. I had major hormonal insanity the first trimester that made going off plan and following my hunger a saner choice, but now that the urgency of those impulses has gone and I've scratched that mental itch, it's back to my normal with for me. I've spent over four years working through my weight, adjusting my approach as my needs have changed and taking breaks here and there for mental fatigue, pregnancy, vacations, etc. But one thing that remains constant is my refusal to ever give up. I am dedicated to working on my health for life, and NO break is ever throwing up my hands and quitting. I have and will always continue to come back to what I know works. In my brain there is NO end to controlling my food habits, no 'goal' by which I can declare myself fixed and stop being vigilant. This pregnancy has confirmed for me what the past history of my journey has indicated - I have good choices and bad, seasons of excellence and seasons of struggle, but I am completely committed to this as part of my life routine, the same as praying and brushing my teeth. It's my reality, it's no burden, and I'm no quitter no matter how slow I may go and how many maintenance breaks I must take.

It feels good to lay it out and declare it like this, quite therapeutic ;). I don't know when I may be ale to undertake the rest of my hCG protocol with the supplies I have here at home - I will have to pray and discuss it with my husband, since we have decided to not prevent pregnancy anymore unless there is a pressing need (and thus I except to be expecting while still breastfeeding the next baby). I would pretty much have to choose preventing again to do the protocol and may well do so, but right now I can't see how it will fit in. So for now, things like Atkins and intermittent fasting, once I'm postpartum, are tools I can use that don't interfere with our prior decision regarding my body and children. The details will sort themselves out somewhere down the line postpartum, but for now I am perfectly happy to proceed with this plan, more slowly, and see where it takes me. Such is the nature of this journey!

taryl | General | 19 October, 4:27pm | 17 comments

We made it back home from Michigan yesterday, and while the trip went VERY well, I am thrilled to be back in my own domain. Food was unmentionable as the cooking style of my husband'a family is white bread, jam, canned soup, and the occasional apple from the orchard (with cider and a donut, of course!). That's really about the size of it. And honestly there was no cause for me to protest, it was more gracious of me to grin and bear it while we were eating with them, and do the best I could with restaurant choices when we were on our own for a meal. The point of the trip was to make a VERY elderly woman happy and show off the grandkids, not keep me on my diet ;).

The aforementioned kids did amazingly and I know Peter's family were very blessed to have them and his sister, aunt, and grandmother really enjoyed their time with us. Of course, now that we're back home and they're not being spoiled rotten anymore it's time to get back on course - my day today has been focused heavily on correction and training for the kids who have conveniently forgotten the specifics of compliance in this household, but that was to be expected! For my part I'm back on plan and going through the predictable sugar withdrawal as I transition back to clean and low carb again. I had such an insatiable appetite and cravings in Michigan it really crystallized my resolve as to why eat the way I do. At this point I am just eager to be free of the sugar monster that makes me feel terrible and sick. Induction flu is really nothing compared to that!

I've been fighting a migraine and diarrhea all day today, which could be either related to the dietary shift today (unlikely) or to food poisoning or a bug acquired on the trip (almost guaranteed after junk food, sleep deprivation, gross airplanes, and grosser airports!). I had a whole list of things to do today and most haven't been achieved, thanks to the extra time spent working on the kids and their discipline sucking up the first half of the day, and the awful head pounding and gut wrenching of the second half of it! So now I'm parked on the couch with an iced tea and some Tylenol working on the headache, thinking about my plan and contemplating more knitting. It isn't piano practice, working out, swimming, or even cleaning up my entryway after the stuff that got dumped into it from the trip. But it's the best I can manage today and, just like the food in Michigan, the best choice for me at this time!

taryl | General | 17 October, 11:49pm | 19 comments

Just a quick update - things are going much better here. I've been on plan with exercising and food, except for some cupcakes and icing today because of Seth's birthday. Still within my caloric allotment but I'm hoping the sugar won't give me a headache. Everything else has been within calories, carbs, and nutritious, so I can accept a birthday treat without sweating it. My husband ended up having to work late and had a meeting after that, too, so I completely missed swimming on Friday. However I didn't let that get me down - I just did TTap in its' place and felt great! My hips and tailbone are bugging me more and more, so any stretching and working the joints is a good thing (I just have to be careful as I'm more prone to injury when everything is loosened up as it is now).

I am pretty much off sugar again, so I deliberated long and hard about having any cake or frosting. I'm bracing and hoping I didn't kick up any cravings this way, but I'm accepting that as a possibility. Still, it was white knuckles Friday and Saturday and today was much easier, so I'm looking forward to, overall, being off grain/sugar/most dairy again. The cupcakes were tasty, but not excellent, and that itch has been scratched. I'm feeling much better now that I'm off it and remembering why I like being on plan. Sometimes it takes a whack upside the head and a few 'apostate' diet weeks (or months!) to remember that I like living with energy, no inflammation, and easy weight control. It's much better than the temporary satisfaction of tasty junk food. But as I said, sometimes it is easy to forget that!

Piano practice has been going much better as well, though my poor teacher missed my last lesson! She had two performances on Friday and figured she'd still be able to sleep without an alarm and wake up on time. That wasn't the case and she slept into the afternoon on Saturday, completely sleeping through my lesson time :). I still got good practice in and I've done the same thing, but she was pretty mortified!

As previously mentioned, today is when we're celebrating Seth's birthday - he is technically two later on this week, but that's the day we arrive in Chigago and drive to Michigan, so we're doing the presents and cupcakes today. My sweet baby boy is TWO! Time sure flies!

Hopefully I'll update again before our trip. I've been knitting more right now, cleaned parts of the house I hadn't previously had the energy to do for a few months past, and generally been more diligent with homeschooling, cooking, etc. not perfect, but better. The Lord has really been sustaining me and I'd like to tell more about that later on. See you then!

taryl | General | 8 October, 12:55am | 12 comments

Just need to get out there how terrible my food was. I planned the day to be so good but with running around and not saying no to myself, I ended up (again) massively over calories, and with WAY too much sugar and starch. I have been terrible at stopping myself and getting back on my dietary wagon, partially because being off it tastes so good! But it only tastes good immediately, in the long term I feel awful, look awful, and it isn't particularly nourishing for my offspring, either.

What is more bothersome is that this isn't in isolation, I've been eating terribly for two months. Even a my exercise, piano, and organization kicks back up my eating is WAY off. So this is me, confessing the issue and committing to put a stop to it, just as I did my laziness a few weeks ago. Pregnant or not, I'm going to have a heck of a time getting off baby weight if I allow myself to continue overdoing it. My face is puffy, my bras are tight, and I'm about 20 pounds up from my prepregnancy weight with slightly over half the pregnancy to go! I can drop a lot of the excess, non-baby weight fairly quickly if I catch it now, especially with my metabolism revved up. And I can still eat to satiety and not scale obsess. But the quality of my food has to be better than it is now. I'm back to the cravings cycle that is SO hard to kick because I allowed the junk back in, but for me, I have to maintain tighter control than this or I regain. I know this, but it was sobering to have the reminder.

Now. I know a good 5-8 pounds of this is baby related weight that makes sense. That makes 10-15 pounds or so I really need to lose back off my butt. I'm doing it, with self discipline, the very next choice I get to make. It's been a four month holiday from strict maintenance behaviors and dieting and was fun, but playtime is over and my body needs me to do better than Carl's Jr, cake, and popcorn.

I feel energized and better already, just getting this off my chest and committing to my previous course of action again. Even around the food bloat! I don't really care if anyone reads this, it's really just making substantive the private commitment I need to make to myself, and isn't for anything but personal accountability. But just writing it out makes it more real. I'm not perfect, but I know I can do better than this!

taryl | General | 5 October, 6:04am | 13 comments

So Seth has been a miserable guy this morning. He woke up at 4:30-ish with what we thought were just bad dreams, but continued to sleep badly and fitfully, dozing and waking up yelling. I finally brought him in to sleep with me so I could pat his head and watch him more closely, and it turns it he's likely getting sick (with mucous from a cold, I think). He would wake up, gag and cough up phlegm, go back to sleep, repeat. He finally threw up on my bed and was quite annoyed, so I moved him back into his room for a little more rest. Unfortunately he is still waking and crying in turns.

I was originally going to bible study this morning but that idea is right out, as it has already started. We had a late night last night due to a campaign meeting, and that plus a mad Seth is making this look more like a movie day. I'm a little afraid to give him breakfast and possibly load him up for more vomiting and gagging, but there's not much for it. Poor guy. It's an hour past our usual wake time and the girls are probably up and talking, so I really should get going. But man, I'm tired and a day of cleaning up after at least one sick kid just sounds icky. That's life, though!

taryl | General | 2 October, 5:18pm | 11 comments

Funny baby news - I have been looking quite pregnant for weeks, but I just noticed in the mirror this morning that I've really popped out. I don't *think* I ate that much dinner, at least! But the belly is definitely in the lead, now.

Swimming is going well, I'm focusing on form and stroke length in the water with my crawl and back stroke, and my breast stroke I'm working on gliding between my kick and my pull, so I'm not making more resistance and drag than I need to be and fighting the water. I've got to have parameters of self improvement or its not worth doing, so focusing on being an efficient distance swimmer and working on good technique are my goals.

This week I actually have a fighting chance of getting TTap in, too! If I could actually do my 3x per week swimming and 2x per week TTap I'd be thrilled. I just wish the swim time was more convenient for my family.

Dietary focus is still the same - nutritional dense food, in controlled quantities (eating to satiety and noting the calories), as much as possible. Since I am not a food blogger, my dietary blogging gets quite boring when weight loss isn't the focus!

That's the (non)news for today!

taryl | General | 1 October, 4:59pm | 15 comments

I realize I keep not getting around to updates, my apologies! It's lazy of me and when I'm not highly focused on my diet and exercise, blogging about it gets a bit sparse. Things are actually going very well, the appointment was uneventful and the midwives did indeed agree to take me on. We heard the heartbeat on Doppler and talked over what services I'd be using and which I'd decline. I'm measuring ahead, of course, but not by a concerning amount given the number of kids I've had!

I'm officially in my second trimester by ALL possible guidelines now, and doing fairly well. Still having a hard time getting up in the mornings, unfortunately, which throws off the rest of my day, but there's not much for it. I'm prioritizing sleep and bible study, then fitting in workouts and piano in the afternoon. But my mornings just needed less going on so I've made peace with that for a season.

Swimming is going well, this is my last week of lessons. I managed to check out the local pool closest to me for lap swim and was pleasantly surprised. It gets to be a zoo for open swim but the lap swim is pretty lightly attended, and for being at a high school the gym isn't too gross. I'm spoiled with things like the sauna, free towels and blow dryers, massages, tanning, etc at the fitness club I am taking lessons with, but I simply cannot afford a membership in 2012. All our money is going toward our health savings account to pay for this birth and it isn't in the cards unless I quit piano, which I'm unwilling to do. So as it goes with adults the prioritizing comes in, and I decided I can manage a $60 a month family pass for as much swimming as I want at Chugiak High School, as opposed to $137 a month plus childcare for a family pass to the Alaska Club, with additional yearly fees unless you but during a special. Yes, it offers more, but we can't take advantage of it properly with our schedule and ages of the kids, anyway. An individual membership would be $89 a month, but then my family couldn't come swim, either. So Chugiak makes more sense.

They have lap swims M-F from 6-7:25, and the open swim is after that from 7:30-9:00. I can manage to get dinner done before the lap swim and head off without sacrificing a lot of family time, which is quite convenient. And since the kids are swimming now, too, we figured that one of the days I go they can come along with daddy and do the open swim. It's a little on the late side, since Seth is supposed to go to bed at 7:30, but he's old enough to manage the occasional later evening without issue. So once these lessons conclude I plan on continuing MWF with the lap swim, and Tues/Thurs is earmarked for TTap. Thursdays are rough, since that is our busy, out of the house day, but if I'm feeling good I see no reason why some light TTap would break the physiological bank. My hips are starting to get very loose and sore, so I am seeing more need to work the strength training of TTap back in. I'm less tired, which makes it more doable too!

That's the kid and exercise situation. Things look pretty good. I've also managed to get a fair chunk of the prep for my homeschooling math materials done, so now I need to figure out approximately how long our current school needs to take, and then I can go about editing my daily schedule accordingly to fit the current groove. I'd like to have that done by the end of the week.

taryl | General | 24 September, 6:31pm | 13 comments

Another sleepy morning, unfortunately. We got to bed late because of a party for one of the candidates last night, as well as me generally being lazy and not getting myself to bed when it was time. My husband also had to go off to the airport super early for a flight that was then cancelled and delayed until next week, so I'm late and out of sorts beginning this day. Oh well!

I can't remember if I mentioned it on here, but I'm taking swim lessons for myself right now and have another one tonight. They're turning out to be a lot of fun and I enjoy them very much, though I need to find a way to get less fatigued so quickly. I'm looking into the Total Immersion techniques for that, we'll see if it helps me fight the water less. I wish I had more time to go for lap swims to practice but it's another crazy two months for us (it was SUPPOSED to taper down, but that never happened!) involving work, tests, trips, and other assorted things that make us stressed.

In three weeks we head off to Michigan to visit Peter's family, do the yearly clothes shopping, and take a break. Unfortunately trips at this stage in life are far more work than just staying at home, in addition to being exorbitantly expensive, so after this year's visits we will be putting an embargo on them for the foreseeable future. If people want to see us and the kids, they can fly up themselves. We've spent six years taking all our time off and spending money we really don't have to visit family, with no other breaks or vacations than that. No more. Our focus needs to be on debt repayment and home improvement projects, neither of which we have money or time to do if we keep having to spend 7k to visit family down south! There's just too many seats to buy now, and too many difficult hotel and rental car arrangements, to make sense for us anymore.

Food here is going well some days and poorly others (like last night at the party!). I'm rather unhappy with my body settling back up to the previous round's losses but not terribly surprised, since I wasn't able to properly stabilize. And I have overeaten enough to account for a small regain, even if pregnancy cravings and hunger are the reason. Fortunately, I'm feeling more human these days and it is easier to eat normally and control myself again - nausea has mostly subsided and food aversions have, too. I'm still pretty tired most days but it is manageable. Either way, things are settling back into my preferred groove, just fifteen pounds up from where I wish they would! Four of that is baby/placenta/amniotic fluid weight, at this point, but it's still slightly annoying to feel body fat on my torso I'd previously kicked to the curb. Now tha my energy is a little better and I'm feeling less bad, I'm looking forward to keeping up with the swimming in addition to my TTap. Piano is getting time again, too, I just need to be personally diligent about not skipping that timeslot.

I still haven't figured out the greater schedule issues, though I did finish the ILP assessment for my kids and get that submitted on time. School is going well but it's still looking like we'll need to begin it earlier than 10:00, which is what we do now, if we want to be done by 11:30 (at the latest). It probably won't require me getting up earlier, but it may require more hustle and less relaxation, which is too bad. There's not a lot I can do to improve that, other than to keep the shift as minimally disruptive as possible. My church also started the ladies on a new bible study two weeks ago, which is taking much more time to complete than the previous ones. This isn't a bad thing, per se, but it is making the morning even more full and causing me issues with completing the other studies I as already in. Again, if I am tight and diligent on my time management I'll be fine, but that seems to be the thing I struggle most against these days! If there is anything I need to improve on, it is getting back to whipping myself to task in getting things done at their appointed times. Easier said than done, though!

And that's the news right now. I have an appointment tomorrow with the midwives and will update baby related stuff after that.

taryl | General | 17 September, 5:20pm | 16 comments

Sorry I've been MIA. Status is fairly unchanged and there isn't much to say.

Hanging out with the food routine and doing better than previously, though still feeling nauseous and craving junk up the wazoo, including lots of grains (which I eat and then feel more sick than I started, you think I'd learn!). I haven't bothered getting on the scale in a week because I wanted to just focus on eating on track for a bit before worrying about whether it was helping with the excess weight gain (over my desired target) or not. Truly, the scale does its own thing during pregnancy, and I know based on my food journals whether I've been on the ball or not ;). Having spent two pregnancies unaware of food, one entirely on a plan and weighing daily, and now one on and off plan with spotty scale use, it will be interesting to compare and contrast my results by the end, in terms of what was the easiest, healthiest, comparative weights, comparative *birth* weights, etc. It's just more data for me to amalgamate into the massive story that is Me, I suppose!

TTap has still been spotty to non-existent, I'm battling exhaustion every day and losing by afternoon. I keep waking in the middle of the night with insomnia, too, and then when I fall back asleep it is usually right before my alarm goes off and I wake up tired, again. My main focus on this front is to NOT reset the alarm later, but at least get in my bible study even if piano and working out are much less frequent than I'd like. My longer term project in this area is to rewrite my schedule to account for my sleeping issues, factor in the longer school time my kids are now requiring, and see if I can't be wiser with my time and get it all in. If I am diligent, I think I can make it. We'll see.

Regarding school time, after this blog post is up I am sitting down to complete the individual learning plan required by my homeschool group and contact teacher. I have a bunch of receipts that require reimbursing, but I can't submit them without the ILP in place. It's been insanely busy but I finally have the time to complete these and don't want to dawdle any longer on it. I was originally going to tackle this earlier in the week, but our power was knocked out by a windstorm right after labor day and that put a major kink in Tuesday and Wednesday. Then Thursday was the insane homeschooling activity day, where we begin the day with swimming, have lunch on the road, head to piano, and drag our butts home in time for an hour nap (which the kids keep not falling asleep for) and dinner. It splats me against the wall. Hard.

I officially requested a records transfer from the OB to the midwives today, and need to fill that out and fax it in. Next appointment is the 18th.

On the pregnancy front, I'm just shy of 12 weeks and doing well enough. Still tired, still nauseous, still sore. Back and neck are getting worse, which is making me prioritize TTap more readily. But that won't fix it all - my chiropractic needs necessarily increase the further along I get, and it's unavoidable with a back like mine.

Umm... Can't think of much more to say, really. I'm busy every day, but feel like I'm not getting much done. Just the basics of keeping everything running is quite challenging, with no kids old enough to help much, and I'm trying to cut myself some slack instead of berating myself on all I'm not getting done. People are fed, the house is reasonably clean and uncluttered, laundry is all caught up on, schooling is crawling along, and I'm still dressed every morning, even if it is without makeup (the kids are dressed, too!). If I have to lounge on the couch for two hours to get up enough energy for making dinner, and can't use nap time to good effect, it isn't the end of the world.

I still keep trying for more, and one of these days I will be feeling well enough to actually MAKE it!

taryl | General | 7 September, 11:21pm | 23 comments

It was a wild ride, by not only did our candidates win, the most contested race was won in a sound spanking! My husband and I guessed, to the percent the outcome of the race. Even the paid and retained political consultant was way off in believing it would be close. So Lora Reinbold won the House District 26 primary with 45% of the vote, and her opponents had 27% and 28% a piece, despite lots of mine and establishment support backing them. Woohoooooo! Her general election opponent isn't a real threat in a district like 26, but getting turnout will be important to giving Lora big numbers.

My MIL won her race with almost 70% of the vote. Not as high as she wanted, but still very good. Her general election race against an independent is going to be the tough fight.

Our house rep here for District 12 ran against an opponent who raised no money and ran no real campaign. He trounced him, plain and simple. Said representative is running unopposed in the general election, so our work for him is done.

The two propositions, both of which we wanted to fail, were defeated. Again, thrilled. Good stuff.

The only other news right now is that I have my appointment with the homebirth midwife this afternoon to assess if she can attend me. I'm praying all goes well and the homebirth option is both feasible and financially reasonable for us. I sat down with my doppler this morning and was able to find a good, strong baby heartbeat within about five minutes, higher up than I guessed it would be. No wonder I look huge! So all is well there, as far as I can tell. Excellent news all the way around for me today.

taryl | General | 29 August, 8:30pm | 50 comments

That's me right now! Though the primary is tomorrow, I am still taking this opportunity to get back in the swing of things as best I can. We did school time today, after taking about two weeks off. I got up, though I was late. I will work out this afternoon me get in some piano time, even if it kills me. I just have to do it, or it won't get done. There's nothing for the craziness we're stuck in right now, but I do know that if I don't ever get started back to normal it won't happen on its' own!

In that way, I'm a good demonstration of philosophical entropy, which is a true but slight overreaching application of the second law of thermodynamics - all systems move in gradients away from energy, order, motion, and any force. There is always a gradient, except in a perfect vacuum. And I'm no vacuum! Left to my lonesome, I move from order to disorder, from energy to exhaustion, from clean to dirty, disciplined to lazy. I move on gradients as well as the rest of the universe, and without artificially imposing rules upon myself to force me into action, things quickly degrade into sloth, disorder, and general chaos. Entropy, really, is as effective a description as any. But I'm so lucky - God gave me agency and free will. I can CHOOSE to counteract these tendencies, like restoring order from chaos or organization from the mess of things. I am not out of control of myself or my environment, and can act upon it and improve things whenever I choose!

That's a powerful concept, not only in thermodynamics and philosophy, but dieting, too. We can be the force that starts the gradient, the restoring order, the intelligence acting upon the chaos to impose order and rectify chaos. It's never done, never lost, and can be recovered at any time. What it requires is determination. Choice. Will. If we decide it, acting upon it is just a matter of ordering our steps and disciplining our choices to follow our predetermined will. Sometimes it is easy, like choosing to clean or practice my piano instead of let dust accumulate and skills atrophy. Sometimes it is harder, like saying no to watching a movie and doing dishes instead, or choosing to busy my hands rather than stuff my face with chocolate. But all these scenarios have something in common - a choice. And I'm the one who can make it.

I've been in survival mode for almost two months - thanks to pregnancy and accompanying symptoms, and then an overly full schedule that has swallowed me and my family whole. Sometimes the choices stink - and bearing with the circumstances was the best choice I could make at the time. But I've still seen decay and entropy in our daily routine - in my own self discipline, in the control of my children and their choices and behaviors, in the order and atmosphere of our home. Whether it was necessary for a time or not is immaterial going forward - it is NOT the goal I am working toward and not suitable means to the end I desire. And now that I'm slightly less busy, a little less tired, and a whole lot more fed up with the deteriorating status quo, I am using that God given will and CHANGING things. Moving back to where we need to be, really.

This takes some teeth gritting, some repetition when it feels like no fun, a lot of saying no to fun things to do what is truly more profitable in the long run. And as always, lots and LOTS of prayer. But one area at a time I'm retraining my will, taking my thoughts captive for Christ, and being the servant and helpmeet I need to be. Order, discipline, and a worshipful attitude is what my home needs, as well as much grace and a spirit of humility. These are qualities our Lord models for us and ones that we are commanded to emulate. So now that I am being relieved of my prior circumstances and facing a new season of challenges and blessings, I'm going forward with one foot in front of the other, until it becomes habit again. Order, discipline, and diligence need to be imposed on my home and self again. It's time, and I'm more than ready.

That's where I'm at. I am in the driver's seat of my choices, and I've been making poor ones across the board as I justified and excused away diligence for other less profitable turns. And while that was what it took in August, that isn't where I will continue on in September. There is too much I must do, too much for husband, my kids, and myself, too. To help us all, I must choose what seems harder for a time. It's the best choice, even if it isn't the easiest.

And the primary? It will take care of itself! Updates will follow Wednesday morning :)

taryl | General | 27 August, 7:43pm | 16 comments

That's me, unfortunately. And since two of my volunteers completely flaked out on me, I have had lots of extra work to do that shouldn't have fallen on my shoulders. Over-committing and underperforming is not something you want to be known for, folks!

I did one sheet of the phone bank this morning (just shy of 100 names, about an hour and a half of calls) but am finding myself with a headache here in the afternoon. This is the second or third one this week, and I pushed my chiropractic back two weeks this last time and am not due for it until September - unfortunately a recurring headache and not enough chiro are often related, for me. So I may call in and schedule an impromptu adjustment for Monday, if this persists, rather than waiting until the first Tuesday in September, which is my next official appointment.

Weight has been maintaining despite the lack of sleep, stress, and junky dinners I keep ending up with. Given the circumstances, I'm pleased as punch over that ;). Sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and declare a situation 'good enough', and that's where I'm at right now. Every day I do my best and don't stress the rest as much as I can, it's the best way to manage so many deadlines, responsibilities, icky pregnancy symptoms, and general life duties that have all piled up in a spectacular heap this week.

If you're praying for me, please pray these headaches go away. They are more debilitating to me than the exhaustion and nausea I've been dealing with for weeks. I can work through those, but loud kids, endless phone calls, and a throbbing brain and neck is a little too much for me. Also, that I would continue to be patient with the people I'm working with when they are unreliable, and not dwell on their failures and take them on as my own stress. It makes me angry, when I know I need to just focus on doing the best *I* can do and let their own inconstancy be between them and God. Easier said than done, though, when my husband and I keep getting more shifted to us because we will get it done, and dozens of others somehow think they're busier and more important, and therefore can't be bothered. Ugh.

Obviously the 'not letting it get to me' bit is a work in progress! But that's the news right now, and will be until Wednesday, at least!

taryl | General | 24 August, 10:22pm | 21 comments

I had my appointment yesterday that was my first actual exam. Everything looks great! The doctor was so sweet and didn't even bill me for the ultrasound he conducted (which saved us $480) and the results were what I was hoping - my dates were right on the money and I'm now officially due March 24th (not that it means a whole lot with me, who always goes overdue). One baby only, attached in a good spot, with a strong heartbeat and lots of wiggles - and nothing amiss for the gestational age. I've had no cramping or spotting, nothing but normal and healthy pregnancy symptoms. And now that everything looks good on ultrasound and we have confirmed a viable, healthy pregnancy, the risk of a miscarriage is extremely low. It doesn't mean something couldn't happen, as God is in control of life and death and not me, but it is as unlikely as it can get at this point.

The dr is also completely supportive of me transferring to the midwife if I want. And he cut my bill down AFTER I told him I might not stay in his care. That's a saint, right there ;)

So on the baby front, all is well and as it should be. I'm 9w2d right now, if anyone is keeping track other than me. And in the middle of this crazy week-before-the-primary-elections, it was the best news I could get.

Regarding those elections, this week and the beginning of next will be insane, no doubt. With food, exercise, and sleep, I am prioritizing and mitigating damages much as possible. Right now that looks like not stressing the junk food when it happens and making good choices whenever I can, saying 'screw it' to the exercise block until I have more time, and choosing extra sleep above all else, especially when I'm already fatigued to the point of barely functioning with just the pregnancy and day to day activities. So far, so good. I got my biggest pre-election responsibility - the phone bank - distributed and accounted for. I began with thirty pages and 2770 names, and now I have one page left in my purview with 96 names or so on it. So having other volunteers to do the phone calling is a huge blessing. Now I'm sure some will not finish their lists by Friday and I left time this weekend to cover whatever gets returned to me, unfinished, but my week is much less packed now that I'm not looking at doing three hours of phone calls per day, every day, all by myself.

This is also good news because the rest of life didn't just stop for the election. I still have kids to manage, a house to keep from being a total disaster, meals to cook, and even a badly-timed baby shower to attend for a friend on Sunday. Somehow, in the middle of sign waiving and phone calling and mass emailing and general living, I also have to knit a baby hat for this infant before 3 pm on Sunday afternoon. I can do it, but I'm going to have to cast on tonight and work on it in any and all spare time. And I feel guilty about this but it can't be helped - I am not volunteering for anything else relating to the shower. No food, no cleanup, no cake or decorating... I am so bad at saying no, but I think it is infinitely unwise forms to sign on to ANYTHING until this massive task of getting three people past their primaries is completed. And I'm usually first in line to signup to bring things, but I'm praying other ladies are convicted to take up that slack, because I can't do it! I might cave last minute if things look good and verify there isn't something small that has been left undone, but right now everything other than knitting and the phone bank is out of sight, out of mind.

I am craving normalcy after this week. I still have homeschooling to plan out for the year, new activities to schedule, routines to tweak, etc etc. I will be thrilled when the primary is over, because the general election is only a (small) fight for one of the three candidates we're helping. She'll win, and by a large margin, but she's still stressed about it. The other two will skate - one has no opponent and the other has a district with dominance of her party. With all the exposure in the primary fight, she'll nearly walk to victory once the general rolls around, in a district that goes 70% Republican every time.

So that's where I'm at. Things aren't perfect, especially my eating and exercising, but I can accept that each day I do the very best I can with how I feel and what situations I have to navigate and just let the rest go for now. If I stress the details and try to do it all I will burn out even harder than I already have. And that's NOT worth it!

taryl | General | 21 August, 5:19pm | 12 comments

Just a general update this week. I'm hanging in there, though we're insanely busy. I've had three meals cooked for various friends, as of today, and nausea has been making the food ministry tough. I'm glad to help out, though, even if it is not ideal for me.

My first appointment for this pregnancy was yesterday, though it was more of a consultation. The first physical is next week, when I'm nine weeks and some change (if I'm calculating my due date accurately). We got excellent news - there is a certified nurse midwife who is now practicing with a local midwifery clinic and she is willing to take successful vbaccers as homebirths! It was actually the nurse at this OB clinic I went to who told me of this, when she heard we were cash paying the birth and would loe to go out of hospital, except for the lack of attendant in this state. She thinks I'm a perfect candidate and her husband, the head OB of this practice, is willing to support the midwife as a backup doctor should I need a transfer (unlikely but it sometimes happens). Their flexibility in working with me and willingness to send me to another practitioner if it suited our situation better was EXCELLENT. And the final bit of good news relating to this - the OB and his wife are actually breaking ground on their own birth center, which will be done by winter of next year. It's too late to use for this birth, as I'm due in March, but having a stand alone birth center with an OB and direct entry and nurse midwives is awesome - it allows vbaccers like me and other 'high risk' moms like those with mild gestational diabetes, twins, or other conditions that would usually risk them out of home care, to have an alternate birthing option with a trained OB on staff. The new birth center is less than 1/4 mile from the local hospital and the OB has hospital privileges, so if someone needs to transfer they can still be cared for by the practice. It's absolutely excellent and I was excited to hear that rumor confirmed by the practice!

So all good things on the care provider front and news I never thought I'd hear. I was sure I'd have to go unattended or with an unlicensed midwife if I ever wanted to try for a homebirth again, which I wasn't completely comfortable with. But a licensed, certified midwife with full backup support from both a clinic and an OB is an excellent solution, both financially (much less expensive for me and my husband) and from a health standpoint (if someone goes awry she is trained to handle it and more extensive care is easily available, fully legally and with no concerns). It's good news I never thought I'd hear as long as I lived in Alaska. So I scheduled an appointment with that midwife for Aug. 29th (she's busy doing physicals for the new school year right now, as she is also the advanced nurse practitioner for the group she's with) and will continue my care with the OB until then.

Exercise is still a wish I don't regularly fulfill, either due to laziness, nausea, or sheer busyness and not fitting it in. I just set out each day to do my best to fit it in and have stopped stressing if I can't make it like I want. At this point I just wish to survive August! We have not one but TWO debates scheduled for tomorrow, and a fundraiser on Friday, too, in addition to me needing to make that last meal for a friend today and get it dropped off in a few hours. Blah!

On a side note, I'm officially in maternity clothes, which makes hiding this pregnancy from friends and family almost impossible. After my next appointment on Monday I should have an ultrasound to confirm dates, number of babies, and viability at this point (I'm not too worried, but you never know) and then I'll officially confirm with anyone nosy enough to ask ;)

And that's my update for the beginning of this week.

taryl | General | 15 August, 9:11pm | 27 comments

So I'm actually going to consider my intuitive eating experiment an official failure. I really do better with more rigid guidelines, even if it means not eating to my hunger as consistently as I should. I ended up stuck in this weird cycle of undereating and then overeating and on all sorts of food I shouldn't be consuming, like grains and sugar. Some of this was food aversions and counterbalancing nausea, which is proving to be quite a challenge for me. But some of it is just rebelling against structure, I think, or missing the crutches of food journalling I have gotten used to. I still am listening to hunger cues, but when I feel bad and am stressed, as well as coming off a protocol without stabilizing (I'm back to where I was in the previous round and that's fine, especially since my pants don't fit anymore anyway ;), it probably isn't the wisest of things to ditch previous well known crutches for something new.

I'm having a hard time eating low carb right now, or even anti-inflammatorily. This is happening somewhat providentially with the events and meetings and social obligations we're stuck with for the next three weeks. Between having massive food aversions to some things, outright nausea with others, and having at least one out-of-house thing going every day of the week (including tonight, it is a barbecue/picnic thing with the ARP) I end up eating on plan for two meals and doing my best for the third. Sometimes that is good enough, and sometimes it's pretty stinking bad. I do NOT mind my weight being five pounds above my low point, since I never did stabilize on the last round. 167-169 is right about where I want to stay before I hit twenty weeks or so. I'm two pounds above that and correcting downward until I'm in the window again. I didn't think I'd do any correcting during this pregnancy, but I've hit a point I don't want to ignore and am feeling well enough that I think I can make wiser choices with my body and lose the extra weight I put on through loosey goosey choices the last two weeks without much difficulty. I wouldn't advise this for anyone else, but I know my body and what it can do and where it should be, some modest correction efforts in the moderate carb/whole foods zone is no burden. And furthermore, it's about all I can manage with how painfully stressed we've been. Church, homeschooling, and politics is cluttering what was already a fairly busy schedule and throwing quite a wrench in the works. So I need to do the best I can to cope through the end of August, with both pregnancy and the busy times that can't be helped.

Today, I'm keeping my food simple here at home, so I don't have to worry so much about the barbecue and the sugary/bready options tonight. Breakfast is going to be two hardboiled eggs as per usual and maybe some coffee. I've been having food aversions to coffee and sticking with tea lately, so either is a possibility. But you get the picture.

Lunch is planned to be one chicken thigh (two if I am still hungry), a cup of pumpkin with some cream and spices, and some fresh cherries (about a cup each of pumpkin and cherries). That should be more than filling.

Even with two chicken breasts that leaves me with over 1000 calories in my budget for the evening, and only puts me at about 30 net carbs, with plenty of protein to stave off nausea. That's what I define as 'the best can do' right now. My steps to correct include controlling my intake when at home and not socially/boredom eating, or succumbing to cravings like frozen yogurt (as I did last night) and then not over-complicating things by refusing to eat when I'm out and about and then getting overly nauseous or hungry and bingeing. Instead, keeping things standard at home gives me leeway to eat sensibly and to hunger when I'm out of the house at these things and not have to worry too much about eating excess food or calories. I'm expecting this to drop my weight down that extra two pounds by next weekend or thereabouts, and will just continue on with my maintenance plan from there. I've gone beyond my own limits, even during pregnancy, due to a lack of planning and some poor choices. But here's the thing about me - I NEVER give up. I NEVER phone it in. There is no quitting, even when I get off track. If an experiment like the one I tried the last few weeks doesn't give me the results I want, I don't throw in the towel and say 'screw it!', I keep trying and tweaking and persevering day after day until I hold steady or lose as I desire.

That's my only secret to losing or maintaining for four years straight, and what will keep me where I need to be. I am committed. I will not go back, my health depends on it. I have on-track streaks, like earlier this year, where I lost a bunch of weight and maintained well and it was all easy. And then I have rough patches, like lately where my schedule and head are conspiring against me and I am having almost as many bad choices as good, and slipping up the scale more than I want or baby expansion can account for. But that perseverence and commitment is what helps me so much, along with a lot of forgiveness and prayer for help. Weight is always going to be my health struggle, I just can't envision it not being something to watch vigilantly and stay within a healthy range. But it IS manageable. It IS doable. I need to just keep on with healthy maintenance behaviors and accountability, as I have been, and changing what isn't working, if it proves necessary.

So that's where I am. I'm not doing too badly, actually, but I know I can make better choices regardless of what the scale says, and that is where my focus is. Eat to hunger, make those choices count, stay accountable, and let the chips fall where they may. After August I may be able to go back to cleaner eating overall, once most of our political obligations are sewn up with the completion of the primary... But right now there is still much I can do to stay on track that isn't a burden. I'm still trying to work out as often as possible and not stressing over it. I'm logging my food when I'm home and trying to check for overeating and boredom eating. I'm keeping things in perspective and realizing that right now, during pregnancy, a little leeway with eating a hot dog and some chips at a barbecue just isn't the end of the world, even if I know I won't feel the best due to food allergies afterward. But I can't eat that every single day and expect to maintain my weight where I want. It's a tradeoff and I'm doing the best I can. But blogging regularly or not, be assured I will never, ever give up.

taryl | General | 9 August, 4:23pm | 10 comments

Despite still being overly busy and feeling terrible, I actually stayed reasonably on plan and well within my calorie preferences yesterday, as well as getting in a workout! It's nothing big, but definite progress. I'm in the roughest pregnancy time for me, weeks 7-12, and so between nausea and exhaustion (and other unpleasant side effects like round ligament pain and excess saliva) times are pretty miserable around here. I'm just doing the best I can and aiming for rest above all else. It seems to be working, fortunately!

Rinse and repeat today, that's the plan. I have a meeting at 2:00 at the IDEA office for some homeschooling stuff and my husband is out of town until the evening, but I think I can still swing a fairly normal, predictable day.

taryl | General | 7 August, 5:05pm | 34 comments

Hello all! Things are still busier than they should be, every single day, and that's done a number on the routine I depend on for normalcy and consistency with diet, exercise, and sleep. Nausea, food aversions, and cravings haven't helped. So I've overindulged in food on the run and bounced my weight up past my magical marker that I wanted to stay below until 20-ish weeks and now I'm taking modest steps to correct the gain and be healthier.

It's official - I am a carb addict! I added some back in and the cravings and overeating kicked up almost immediately. Every time I do this experiment with sugar and starch I come to the same conclusion stronger and more quickly than before - I need a low carb diet to maintain without much effort. So to get back to my 'happy' weight place in the next week I will be cutting out rice, sugar, and bread products that creeped in with some excess the past week and focus back on whole foods that don't trigger me. Carbohydrates will come from food like pumpkin or even a potato, and not the grain or sugar sources I tend to overdo it on.

I also started ignoring my hunger cues again and am rectifying that. I gained fair and square - eating when I was NOT hungry of too much of the wrong types of stuff. No good, across the board. Fortunately I know what to do to fix it :)

TTap has fallen by the wayside again with my busyness and my goal today is a simple, ten minute MORE workout, just to be doing SOMETHING. I have a lot of stuff on my to-do list with organizing my homeschooling for the upcoming year, cleaning, not throwing up multiple times per day, etc, but I still need to focus on regaining my normal routine and fitting working out and piano back in. So that's my aim!

taryl | General | 4 August, 5:50pm | 51 comments

I thought this one would be fun. Thirty Days of Songs, and I'm altering it to just fill in the meme all at once, because I'll forget to do it over the course of a month and will only consist of songs I actually own (or I'd never be able to limit it down!) ;)

******

day 01 – your favorite song - "Gravity" Vienna Teng

day 02 – your least favorite song - "Money Bought" Nickleback

day 03 – a song that makes you happy - "Someday" Rob Thomas

day 04 – a song that makes you sad - "Not Alone" Patty Griffin

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone - "I Will Be Here" Steven Curtis Chapman

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere - "Under These Gravel Skies" Charlotte Martin

day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event - "Princes, Friends, and Lovers" The Wild Oats

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to - "Poison and Wine" The Civil Wars

day 09 – a song that you can dance to - "Hot N' Cold" Katy Perry

day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep - "Sov Gott" Jewel

day 11 – a song from your favorite band - "Bright Lights" Matchbox Twenty

day 12 – a song from a band you hate - "Higher" Creed

day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure - "Don't Say You Love Me" M2M

day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love - "Animal" Nine Inch Nails

day 15 – a song that describes you - "Flying Backwards" Megan Slankard

day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate - "Bleeding Love" Leona Lewis

day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio - "Iris" Goo Goo Dolls

day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio - "Once Upon a Time in the West" Hayley Westenra

day 19 – a song from your favorite album - "Bent" Matchbox Twenty

day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry - "Blue" A Perfect Circle

day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy - "Extraordinary" Liz Phair

day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad - "Hello" Evanescence

day 23 – a song that you played at your wedding - "I Will Be Here" Steven Curtis Chapman

day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral - "The Water Is Wide" Hayley Westenra

day 25 – a song that makes you laugh - "Weasel Stomping Day" Weird Al Yankovic

day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument - "Father Abraham" Children's Top 30 Bible Songs

day 27 – a song that you wish you could play - "Gymnopedie No. 1" Erik Satie

day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty - "Problem Child" Leah Andreone

day 29 – a song from your childhood - "Human Behavior" Bjork

day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year - "Cosmic Love" Florence + The Machine

******

WHEW! Big list and doesn't nearly cover the scope of my music collection, but it's a start. That was a fun exercise and completely not related to my working out (non-existent today, thanks to nausea), piano (ditto), and eating (not noteworthy on any count).

taryl | General | 2 August, 3:56am | 12 comments

Things have been insane around here, sorry for the bloggy silence.

Among the issues - campaigns, conferences, get togethers, nursery duty, shopping, schooling, materials hauling, trailer renting, and a funeral to top it off. Saturday to this moment has been an overly busy, unpleasant blur. It will continue through this evening (unloading a ton, literally, of trex decking) and beyond (tomorrow night is a campaign meeting, Thursday is a meeting at IDEA about homeschooling). I'm trying to keep my head above water while being tired and not feeling great, but it's a big challenge.

No TTap yesterday but I intend to do some today. I'm also planning, by hook or crook, to get in at least a smidge of piano. I have several loads of laundry to fold, bread to bake, and the normal daily routine to try and maintain for my sake and the kids.

Eating has been the best it can be, given the circumstances. No complaints there, I'm going as cleanly as I can manage.

Now excuse me while I pass out in a corner, whimpering under the weight of my excessively packed schedule. Ack!

taryl | General | 31 July, 7:29pm | 14 comments

As the title says, I'm off to the zoo with the kids in a bit, as it is a beautiful day out and perhaps one of the last we'll have like this. Feeling a little queasy this morning but eating helped it go away. My lower digestive tract isn't thrilled either and it's a pretty consistent pregnancy symptom with me that I get that way for the first month. Ugh.

I did get in my TTap yesterday, though I was pretty pathetic with my form and felt really weak after the break. I'm going to get in a really light MOREchair this afternoon before taking a much-needed nap, I think! Tonight is ladies craft night and I'll never make it through if I don't get some sleep, first. I am having the HARDEST time getting out of bed and staying awake right now. It's sad.

Oh well!

taryl | General | 27 July, 7:53pm | 22 comments

Yes. I believe unless it is awfully special I may resort to either dating entries for titles, or going with #4:5:2 for baby #4, week 5, day 2 of gestation. Oy!

When I'm not focusing hard on diet I have much less to blog about, but I did want to indicate that despite some weight bouncing the overall satiety/ intuitive eating moves have gone well. I am still low to moderate carb, even with a slice of pizza thrown in for lunch yesterday. My hunger has varied pretty wildly between no hunger at all yesterday morning to genuine gnawing hunger this morning and needing to eat a real breakfast as opposed a late morning/early afternoon snack.

This is where observing my cues and not falling into eating because it's lunchtime or I'm bored is hard. Clock hunger, especially, can be tough to defeat because I am a creature of habit. I like schedules and consistency, so not being able to schedule my meals without fear of overeating is a bit obnoxious. However I'm getting more attuned to it.

After that big breakfast I was feeling a bit peckish for lunch and ate a cup or so of pumpkin with heavy cream, stevia, and spices. That took the edge off, and was complimented by three brazil nuts and a teaspoon of Boursin cheese. One sheet of seaweed and I felt satisfied but not stuffed, which was nice. But it was a small and random lunch of food I was craving. As long as it is nutritious food and I'm not eating past my body's demands I am good with not counting things, though I am still cogent of serving sizes. Trace minerals, tons of vitamin a and c, and bit of fat, and selenium were the stars of lunch. Breakfast was a two egg omelet with two tbsp of butter to sauté my mushrooms, peppers, and onion. That and my coffee were enough to calm the hunger without overdoing it and while I could have eaten more I decided I was satiated, if not full. Again, though, the food was nutritious (plenty of fat, choline, vitamins, minerals, and fiber) and I didn't eat past what my body was signalling. If I gain from eating this way I'd honestly be surprised, as I think my calories are varying from 1400-2000 each day, which is still below my maintenance level. So knowing that and being aware of the types of food I am reaching for when hungry, I'm still comfortable doing intuitive eating.

I confess the desire to log the food and count it at the same time is still there, but if I trust my body to regulate every other system I don't know why I wouldn't trust my leptin feedback loop as well. I've well and truly broken most of the habits that calorie counting helped me with, like not knowing or caring what a serving was, or that some food is definitely better for my body than others, and it isn what common wisdom would suggest. So knowing that it is well and truly time to commence this sort of eating operation and see how it serves me. I admit it is slightly freaking me out but I know it is the best route at this point in time.

Today I'm doing the basic plus workout for my TTap and need to get back into a regular habit of that. The fatigue is making me want to park on the couch every afternoon with a book or closed eyes, but it is the best time for me to work out and I can feel my back and neck is unhappy for my lack of activity and increase in sitting lately. Thus, I have decided I can suck it up for fifteen minutes a day unless I am feeling emergency cruddy.

So blog entry naming troubles, continued eating experiments, and lazy workout issues is where I'm at. What about you?

taryl | General | 25 July, 9:52pm | 32 comments

I'm doing well here and haven't fallen off the map. Though I've been rebelling without calorie counting a bit and am needing more practice with hunger cues, I do think this was a wise system to adopt. We'll see what happens postpartum, but no complaints for now. Peter and I had a nice date yesterday afternoon which was much needed, to unwind from an insanely busy week, and I have leftover steak and part of a potato waiting for me for lunch.

Unfortunately the fish were being scooped up by the commercial fishermen on days they weren't even supposed to be there, so the catch down on the Kenai was awful. Peter and our friend Rob have agreed to give it one last go at Chitina instead, which is where Peter usually goes to fish. It is a much more dangerous spot (neither one of us would want him going alone) but better catching is more reliable there. So he will be gone again from next Sunday to Tuesday (le sigh).

My TTap hasn't been going great, mainly because I keep collapsing on the couch in the afternoons instead of working out. I really dislike the fatigue at this stage of pregnancy but there isn't much to be done for it. Still, I will make a concerted effort to get in short workouts this week and keep my tone up. My back needs it, if nothing else!

Piano is still on hiatus but I'll also be getting back to that soon, since the crazy times are ebbing a bit. Lilah, my middle daughter, has her birthday tomorrow and I need to make a cake for her. I'm drawing a complete blank on what to do for it. She indicated she wanted a strawberry cake so I'm thinking I might actually cut and decorate her cake as a giant strawberry. We'll see...

taryl | General | 22 July, 8:35pm | 20 comments

Woah there. Just blogging for accountability. Lack of sleep, stress, boredom, and general mental justifying has lead to quite the nasty eating tonight. Way too much food over and above my plan. I'm putting a halt to it right now. Not another bite enters my mouth tonight.

This just underscores the need to listen to my hunger cues. I ate when I wasn't hungry. I'm quite stuffed now, but emotionally ate. If I am not hungry, I should not eat, and I know this. Time to be accountable and act on it. I feel AND look better when I adhere to that. So no more food, and no more ignoring accountability for indulgence just because of stress. There will ALWAYS be stress. It's still no excuse to abuse my body.

So there we go. Putting down the fork and putting on the accountability. Good night, friends!

*******

I have been thinking about it and will do something radical. I am realizing that calories are really, really distracting me now. So I'm nixing calories is entire pregnancy. I am pulling out my OLD paper food logs that my husband made for the Don't Go Hungry Diet. They record food, hunger scale and satisfaction, and any emotions/circumstances surrounding the eating. I am going to go entirely intuitive and see how it ends up.

I will keep weighing daily and recording my weight data, but I'm going to keep it private and off the blog. I am recording only for obstetrical purposes right now, and because it is so habitual. I want to see how I do now that I have portions and calories under general control. I think I am psyching myself out and second guessing/not listening to my body because calories are familiar and easier than saying no to my brain when my body is demanding NO MORE FOOD.

So here it is, for the record. My pre-pregnancy weight is 163.2, counted from 4 weeks gestation. No more weight. My focus is working out with my TTap and LISTENING to my hunger cues. I need more practice doing it. If I can gain between 20-30 pounds, max, this pregnancy, just listening to satiety cues, I will consider it a complete success. That was about how much I gained with Seth doing calorie counting through the pregnancy, so I am using that as a baseline. I'm focusing on nutrition and cues, and not on weight or calories. I've been doing the latter so long that it is truly difficult to break that mindset, but I believe it is now leading me to binge or at least justify eating when not hungry, because the calories are still there. So no more. I'm going to work at having a healthy pregnancy without scale watching and calorie logging. I will still log my foods, but only note the type, not the quantity. Quantity is to be dictated entirely by my hunger.

Should I find myself having been unsuccessful with this postpartum, I'll adjust and lose weight as needed. But I am just overweight (which given my history is incredible!) and healthy, at this point. I am doing myself no favors using coping mechanisms for my weight that are no longer working as I need them to. So after several years, I am officially declaring a change. It's going to be hard, but it needs to be done.

taryl | General | 19 July, 5:15am | 10 comments

Man, it's going to be hard not to duplicate blog titles now that I am out of the ticker-style ones. Given that I have hundred of entries, now, and the database doesn't archive comments properly when the titles are dupes, I have to be creative every time I post. That could be doom!

No real news here. I scheduled my first appointment with a new OB next month and I am excited about that. He is very VBAC friendly and has excellent reviews. His office staff also seems to adore him, which I think says a lot about his character, given that they have to work with him every day. I'm a bit of an old hat at this now and so I'm just coasting until then, hoping for no cramps or bleeds (miscarriages suck, they really do). So far, so good. A little nausea, the massive sledgehammer of fatigue, but that's about the bulk of it.

My TTap today is Tempo, I want to see what my stamina is like. Wish me luck :)

On the intuitive eating/hunger scale front I have been doing really well, except for last night. Everything that could have gone wrong in my day did - stress, tiredness, frequently changing plans, culminating in my husband being gone and impromptu guests coming over when our meeting was moved to my home. They brought Japanese and while I was planning on eating a little for dinner, as I was hungry, I was busy and stressed enough that I just kept shoveling more. I was a little uncomfortably full after that and mad at myself that I didn't give more thought to my actions until they were over.

However I was on track after everyone left and have continued on in that way, listening to my hunger and not overeating. It means half my salad is in the fridge, and I'm having to knit or chew gum rather than graze because I'm avoiding some chore, but it is good to confront that. Not easy, but necessary.

On another random note, I pulled out my blood pressure cuff today and decided to see where I'm at. Even at my high weight I've always had good blood pressure, and today was no exception. I clocked in at 114/69, which is very healthy and in the range I'd like to be - not too high or low. I am interested in having a blood panel done, maybe after this pregnancy, to check some of my other health markers, but I'm really not concerned. I feel great and eat a healthy, low-inflammation diet. At this point I'm looking for validation more than evidence ;)

Thanks to the overmuch rice and teriyaki last night I was 165.0 this morning. If I was keeping a weight window for maintenance I'd still be inside of it and not needing to correct, which is good, but either way I am eating to my hunger and doing my thing. I wasn't hungry this morning until almost 11:00 and am at 1150 calories, here right before dinner. I plan on eating in a few hours when I am hungry again, maybe finishing the salad I didn't eat for lunch and munching on some leftover brisket, then calling it good. It's way below my maintenance calories but if my body doesn't want food, I'm not feeding it. I am almost, ALMOST tempted to change my journalling software to one that just tracks intake, not calorie counts, because I am actually now fighting the urge to eat food just because I know I have calories for it, even when I'm not hungry! I hadn't realized it but this is something I have been shooting myself in the foot with for several years. A calorie count gives me an excuse to overeat or undereat (let's face it, usually overeat) and lets me tune out the signals my body is giving. Now that I am relearning them I am painfully aware the external nutritional information is a crutch at bet and distracting noise, at worst. I understand what healthy and unhealthy choices and portions look like, I know how to make a varied, nutritious diet. Much of what I gained from food logging has been achieved, and though I never thought I'd see the day it now seems like it could do more harm than good, in discouraging me to eat for my body instead of for some artificial count.

Huh.

taryl | General | 18 July, 1:05am | 19 comments

Yeah.

So I ended my round early, on Friday evening, actually. I was getting progressively more hungry despite being perfectly on protocol. My original intention was to stay on P2 until I hit 20 effective doses, since I was on day 16 it didn't seem that far away. But with my blood serum hCG was raising higher and higher with pregnancy and I think it hit the level, like with too much hCG dosing during P2, that caused hunger instead of prevented it. Robin would theorize it has to do with hCG suppressing leptin at certain levels and stimulating it at others, but either way by Saturday morning I knew eating would be wise.

I consulted the Internet gurus on the hCG dieters group and they seemed to think transitioning slowly off the VLCD would be both ineffective (since I would continually have hCG in my system) and pointless, given my hunger, so I went into the Bearpaw festival with some eggs in my system, didn't bother with the muffins (wasn't hungry for them) but did have some of the brisket barbecue until I was satisfied. It worked quite well and my weight was actually 163.2 by Sunday morning!

----------

I actually took three tests, one as a 'control' at 10 days past ovulation and a few hours after my hCG dose, where even if I was pregnant I could only reasonably expect a weak positive. So I figured if the hCG from the diet dosing was showing up on a test I would get a decent baseline with that one, as the hCG from a pregnancy would be negligible.

The second test was taken the next day, first thing in the morning. It had been a full twelve hours since hCG dosing and yet that test was noticeably darker than the previous day's. Though I figured I was pregnant and was cautiously excited I didn't say anything to my husband, as I wanted to give it a few more days and see what happened. After miscarrying in October I didn't want to unnecessarily distress him if I lost the pregnancy early on.

The third test was taken at 13 days past ovulation and the test line was almost as strong as the control line - the progression in three days was obvious enough that I called it and showed my husband, who was thrilled. That was Friday night, I didn't want to say anything on here until I was sure nothing funky could be happening ith the protocol or my body. However my weight seems quite stable (I was hungry and ate at 10:30 last night and still weighed in at 164.2 this morning), I'm having normal pregnancy symptoms, and as you can see by the test from this morning, pictured above, I have been several days without hCG doses and still testing blazingly positive.

We are very excited - I will be maintaining with the Perfect Health Diet/general low carb during this pregnancy, with a strong emphasis on following my hunger cues and not eating when not hungry, only eating until satisfied, and focusing on nutritious foods when I do eat. Then a little cake here or hot dog there, every few weeks, makes little difference. I am already having some nausea and food aversions so at this point I'm playing it by ear, but I am not to worried about my health during pregnancy. If I managed to lose bodyfat while pregnant with Seth and on a much more iffy diet, I know I can do just fine with my increased knowledge and practice maintaining this time!

I will be doing TTap through this pregnancy without the organs-in-place move (which is the only one not recommended for pregnancy) to continue to build core strength and maintain flexibility and alignment. I am looking forward to it, actually, and will be resuming a more vigorous TTap schedule now that I am out of P2, adjusting as needed if I am fatigued. That's my biggest obstacle in the first trimester, we'll see how it goes. I'm already feeling it!

So that's my news. Baby #4 is due sometime around March 24th, 2013, and we couldn't be happier. If you know me in real life please don't spread the news around yet, as we're keeping it to ourselves until the risk of miscarriage is a bit lower. But you may privately email me if you want ;). I will be taking final measurements and a first belly picture soon.

And that's the story of what happened to my round three. Poof, it's gone, in favor of gestation. Not a bad trade, I don't think!

taryl | General | 16 July, 6:43pm | 23 comments

Meh, I prefer the acronym! But no matter how it's written the object is the same - today I weighed in at 164.8, the scale bounce of the past two days making sense when I remember my period is due Sunday! Doh! I always forget, even though I chart it and everything.

The first day of Bearpaw is upon us and our first shift (my husband and me) is tonight. I've decided to consciously deal with the fun and stress completely independent of food and NOT allow myself to fall into any non-hunger eating. No more. Even on protocol I can find myself overeating due to emotions and I'm focusing on feeling everything and finding new ways to experience to without food as a prop or cushion. It's so simple, yet shockingly hard. But I am truly at peace and GOOD with missing the barbecue and booth foods and the like... Because I'm not MISSING anything. I HAVE food I can eat when I am hungry, and the rest is just... Food. It isn't an experience, it isn't joy, it isn't friendship, it isn't the best thing in my day. I hadn't realized how long I made it into maintaining my weight while still not totally redefining my relationship with eating. Oh, it's better than it was when I was morbidly obese, which is how I haven't given up and regained everything. But it still has a long way to go. I need to go back to the beginning, charting my hunger and satiety signals and relegating food to hunger only, not overeating and not consuming for reasons outside of sustenance. I can still enjoy social events, but they aren't about FOOD.

While I've been able to do a number of them without eating, I still had the mental 'deprivation', 'unfair', 'gimme more!' track going in my head. Our society is one that celebrates gluttonously and pushes food at numerous inappropriate times. And that is a fair bit of the reason I am fat. As the very intelligent Mizfit mentioned and it bears repeating - genetics loaded the gun, environment pulled the trigger. It is so true. I have proven I don't have to be fat, if I make certain food choices I am capable of losing weight and maintaining a loss. So the question becomes, can I fix my relationship with food enough to let my body shed the fat I forced it to gain with constantly stuffing it? I do believe I can.

What that is going to require is more mindfulness than I've practiced before. Food can still be delicious and I can still enjoy flavors AND eating, but I have to stop before I am full (just satisfied) and est when my body tells me to, without getting ravenous. That's tricky, and I'm not good at listening to those signals. HCG, however, gives me a unique opportunity to try this out. I can't rely on food for entertainment or comfort because of the restraints of the protocol. And instead of railing against it and being miserable, Robin has really helped me identify this as a GOLDEN opportunity to create new, healthier habits and emotions regarding nutrition and have the practice solicited into maintenance. It's like having a golden ticket - hCG stimulates my leptin to the point where I clearly feel hunger and satiety cues and do observe them. Just adding the next step of consciously watching the process and how I feel throughout this, so I can identify these cues into P3/P4 is simply habit reinforcement if I set my mind to it. And mindful eating is the last piece of the puzzle for me. Really trusting my body and listening to it, because it isn't broken and I have discovered I CAN differentiate mental and physical hunger and CAN eat less than I do. I've simply been ignoring it in favor of calorie counts and diets, which are less work and allow me to indulge my unhealthy emotional eating habits while not gaining as much weight. It's a tool I hadn't even realized I'd abused.

So yeah. This is a huge, lifelong step for me to recognize and commit to. And can I say how READY I am to do it?! Now I'm excited to persist on the protocol, not because of weight loss (which is a nice side effect) but because I have a chance to really fix this critical thing that I've been avoiding and cure my overeating issues once and for all. Adopting this habit is exactly what I need and I am committing myself to eating mindfully according to my hunger. This isn't a nice sentiment or option anymore, I am as firmly dedicated to it as my overall maintenance and health. I will succeed and stop struggling against myself in this area. I will stop abusing food and my body because it is easier than dealing with emotions another way.

Big step today. WOOHOOOOO!

taryl | General | 12 July, 5:24pm | 16 comments

I was bound to happen, my losses have bounced a bit. This morning found me at 165.4, which is explainable for two simple reasons:

1) I worked out at 8:30 last night

2) I'm a little backed up, as it were, and the weight of yesterday's food is reflected on the scale

Such is life and I'm not worried. I would have loved to keep up this rate of a pound or so per day for longer but I knew I'd end up slowing down a bit. That's the way it goes!

As I mentioned, I got in my TTap MOREchair routine yesterday and it felt great! I'm a little sore, but nothing too bad. No cravings or hunger anymore, which is very encouraging, and yesterday I mixed another batch of hCG for the second half of this round. I did go ahead and mix it for sublingual use, because I didn't have syringes on hand and I'm feeling better. No sense in risking the freeze/thaw potency issues if I don't have to, right?

I finished reading the Perfect Health Diet last night, finally, and it was great! Really a good framework for nutrition for maintenance.

I began reading a new book that came highly recommended for hCG-ers and I'm finding it very eye opening. It is Weight Loss Apocalypse by Robin Phipps Woodall. A short kindle book but densely packed with information and new science regarding the the protocol and why it works (Simeons was never able to get laboratory data to correlate with his observations before dying, new research in the function of leptin provides an answer) and it is genuinely solid science. I was a little skeptical of anything 'building off' the protocol, but Robin's work is excellent and her maintenance discussions regarding emotional eating and the hunger scale are necessary and incredible. I have every intention of enacting them.

More interestingly, her hunger scale and satiety ideas are the very same ones my first weight loss foray focused on, "The Don't Go Hungry Diet" by Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis. The concepts and crossover are immense. And perhaps not coincidentally, Dr. Amanda is one of the groundbreakers in the field of leptin research and her book focuses extensively on that. I just love it when all these steps in the journey connect with one another, it's exciting! The nutritional maximization of the Perfect Health Diet focuses on eating food for health (emotional eating is not discussed or supported, this is about maximizing the quality of the fuel our bodies run on the eliminate deficiencies and battle chronic pathogens). They use ketogenic fasts to help heal tissues and regain good health. Robin and Amanda focus on when to eat those foods and not over-restrict, which is in line with the Jaminets completely, and in once and for all divorcing emotions from eating. Dr. Atkins' work also ties in, regarding the best ways to fuel a body for weight loss.

There's even room for one more puzzle piece - possible alternate day fasts to lose excess weight as a tool for maintenance. Dr. Johnson's diet on that subject is next on my list.

But back on topic - I'm not even through with it yet and can still highly, highly recommend Weight Loss Apocalypse as solid material, especially for those who have completed their hCG rounds and are working on maintenance. Excellent stuff.

taryl | General | 11 July, 4:49pm | 15 comments

This morning found, remarkably again, at 164.6. That's a weight I have no recollection of ever seeing. Though once a high 150's number popped up (in the middle of soccer season, I think) I am officially counting a lot hese weights as virgin territory. I've never been so light and it feels AMAZING!

No hunger issues and no insane cravings still, praise the Lord for bringing me through such a trial! My energy is a little better but I still get lightheaded if I do too much. I got in my TTap yesterday though piano was swapped out for massive fish tank maintenance. All in all, nothing but good news from these parts.

I have some pictures to share with you, sent back to me from Kitty at TTap, these are the official compiled before and after's from the TTap challenge. The first picture on the left was 4/10/12 and I weighed around 168. The afters were taken 6/10/12 and I weighed 170, it was the day after we'd come back from Seward and I'd been sick and not working out for a week. I'm pretty sure I also had a pound or three of pizza in my stomach ;)

So I weighed two pounds MORE in the afters, and my inch loss was actually on the low side (I lost in my abdomen but gained in my limbs as muscle as built). But do you see a difference? I confess to wearing a new bra because my old one got too loose, but every other piece of clothing is the same.

TTap difference

TTap side

taryl | General | 10 July, 5:00pm | 9 comments

I had a lot of milestones coming up in the 160's - including hitting new loss territory, no longer being obese, my high school weight, original goal weight set when I was in the 250-260 range, and only a few pounds outside of this territory is the monumental goal of 100 pounds lost.

I've hit virgin weight territory and crossed the BMI threshold into 'overweight', and now another line has been crossed - 165.8 this morning puts me in range of my highschool weight! That picture of me weaving in my 'Before' pictures? I've reached that, at least on the scale. In fact that skirt and tunic fit more loosely in the waist now than they did, then, as I am more curvy than I was when I first wore them. I'm officially in my 'best weight of my life' zone and everything below 165 is new ground. If I weighed below this I was either a child or it was a scale fluke from a time I was particularly active or busy. 165 has been my golden standard and 160 my goal. I've made one and will make and surpass the other in due time.

No pictures yet but I DO look good. Some of my jeans and skirts are already getting big from the last round and I had to ditch two cardigans I loved because they were hanging off of me. Today I got my bible study done (yay!) and will do piano and working out this afternoon. Though the end of this week is insane I am going to do my very best to stay on track until I literally can't be home to do my schedule as written. And the scale will take care of itself.

As for my rough start to the round, including the hunger and crazy pica, much of that has subsided. I am thinking that it either took me longer to acclimate to the hCG in sublingual form or my body is used to the method by now and it takes longer to kick in. That is one reason Simeons includes ever longer P4 breaks - to forestall immunity and get the body well replenished before another physically taxing round. But whatever the reason I am feeling much better and more in control, which I am SO thankful for. We were at a fundraiser last night with tons of yummy food to eat and I had some celery sticks, a Melba toast and about three raspberries in place of strawberries (shockingly there were none, I was expecting them!). I went home and had some sirloin fried up in a skillet with cumin, salt, and pepper. I drank a lot of water and had sf shaved ice for dessert. And then, despite some head hunger, I went to bed feeling pretty good and very proud of myself.

This upcoming Bearpaw Festival weekend seems much more doable now that I'm in the groove. It may still be a struggle and I have every intention of freezing some of the food so I don't go totally crazy with wanting it, but I don't see it being an impossible battle of willpower all weekend now. Just one step at a time is what I need to focus on and the rest takes care of itself.

165.8. Wow. At 257 pounds (after two weeks of eating much more cleanly, I might add!) I hoped I'd see those numbers but they seemed SO far away. And now I'm revising my goals downward to the 120-130 range, knowing I can get there and just wondering how much time will pass for me to do it! Who'd have thought, right? If I can do it, ANYONE can!

taryl | General | 9 July, 4:43pm | 9 comments

That's right folks, after a decade I did it - I am no longer obese. This morning my weight was 166.6, whichis completely new weight loss territory, just half a pound away from my all time low high school weight, and puts me at a BMI of 29.4. I am officially overweight and not obese anymore. And given that I started this journey super morbidly obese, it's a big step downward.

We had to reassess our insurance a few months ago and my weight then (a few pounds higher than this) wasn't a factor. No restrictions or penalties on our insurance for me, none. My weight, to them, is normal to low levels of risk.

Wow, right? I can't wait to take some pictures in a few more pounds and show everyone the changes!

taryl | General | 8 July, 4:20pm | 16 comments

I'm feeling better today! I may even continue dosing with sublingual, since the issues I was feeling have mostly cleared themselves up over the past few days. I was 167.4 this morning, thanks to using a few too many sugar alcohol products yesterday, but that is still .6 down from yesterday's weight and 10.6 pounds down from the beginning of the round. This is right on track with other rounds I have done and I'm pleased.

I've decided for the barbecue next weekend that if there are any leftovers of meat and cake (which I bet there will be) I will freeze myself some and have it in P3 or P4. I did this last time I was given cake and actually tossed it before I ate the pieces, because the temptation/desire to eat it had gone away by the time I could. And even if that doesn't happen, knowing I am not 'missing out', but rather just having it at a later, more dietarily appropriate time, does good for my mind on the issue.

I found six or seven (can't remember, sorry!) more tops at the Salvation Army that either fit well now or are slightly tight, and will fit better in a week or two. I also bought a few more under-tanks/camisoles to layer with them, both for warm and the fact that many of these tops are a little sheer for my taste. They keep making cotton shirts thinner and cheaper, so they show my bra even when they shouldn't! It's annoying and hard to find quality tops that will last, but we make do. Until I can afford all mail-order/boutique/expensive clothing from shops who don't skimp on materials, layering and thrift store finds are what I abide by and it works well enough for the time being.

My non-scale victory from that trip is that I fit into an American Eagle Outfitter's large! They're sizing tends to run true to a little small for the Juniors it is cut for, so the fact that I can wear the top is awesome! It looks pretty good, too :)

When I hit the next weight milestone I'll take more pictures, but I am pleased with how I look even here, just a little below my last dose weight. Maintaining attentively, strength training with TTap, and taking care of myself helps a lot, I don't look like I did as a teen but arguably better - a healthy, mature woman who has a confidence in myself and who I am (and who I'm not!) that I NEVER had at this weight, a decade ago. My husband firmly agrees that, weight aside, I've grown more beautiful with the past few years. Who knows why, but I'm grateful! I'm no model but between healthy habits and more than serviceable looks, I am very content even here, at the threshold of obese and overweight for my BMI. I'd still like to drop another twenty or even forty pounds, but it's just not crucial.

Another related topic Peter and I discussed was children. We did it. We hit the point where both of us have no interesting preventing future pregnancies, and all our reasons for doing so seem selfish or outright lame. We make enough money to support more children and the ones we have. Our home is suitable, as is our schedules. Our hearts have really been bent towards loving more children and the desire hasn't gone away - it is the same in me as it always has been and has strongly increased in my husband (much to our surprise! He has always been 'meh' about children, but no longer). We look at the time we spent preventing, especially in light of some slight difficulties in conceiving the last six months, and feel very foolish. We gained nothing for our 'control', not time or money, and arguably lost out of many opportunities to enjoy our fertility or at least let it go and not stress about it! Weight loss is important to me, but it is a vanity at this point and I am feeling, more and more strongly, that I need to focus on the FEW things that are important. I can't take this body with me - being a good steward of it in this life is important, but in the long run raising a family and serving others is so much more important and worth seeking than what society says is 'ideal' for my size, our family, you name it.

So. We had a discussion and were both on the same page - I can continue trying to lose weight and will, but if I get pregnant during a round we're just considering it a blessing, and will move on from there. We're done with preventing pregnancy at this point in our lives and, though we will re-evaluate after every baby, we can't see this changing in the future. We're not 'Quiverfull', this is no great theological statement or legalistic stance, just the way God has turned our hearts on this matter. It's been very profound, actually, and we have great peace and much joy over the official change in our marching orders, as it were, on this issue. Most importantly, my husband and I are of one mind on the issue and in complete agreement that this is wise and what we are being called to. It's great to be on the same page as him and both of us are ready for this stage. If God blesses us with a dozen more children, we'll hang onto our hats and be faithful with them. If he closes my womb for a time, as he has the last few months, I will not be anxious or despair over that, either. At this point we're just enjoying the ride and leaving it up to the one who ACTUALLY exerts control over each life created. It's too exhausting and stressful to do it ourselves, and above our pay grade, too.

I haven't gone nuts, I promise, but I figured this would come up sooner than later in bloggy discourse and thought recording my thoughts would be good. It may or may not impact this round, we'll see. But it is a change in me and my husband I am so happy to see - keeping a right perspective on our priorities and where our vocations are. It doesn't matter that most of the world isn't called to the same thing - we are, and we will be faithful. Even just consciously acknowledging the leading we've been feeling for over a year has made a HUGE difference in the contentment in our relationship with one another, not to mention our gratitude for and trust in our God. Believe me when I say this is a happy, happy place to be :)

taryl | General | 7 July, 7:25pm | 38 comments

Today is VLCD8 for me and I'm doing pretty good - down .8 pounds to 168.8 and only a smidge away from my LDW last round (168.0 was that target and I dropped slightly lower in maintaining, but for the most part spent P3 in the 168-170 range). It is tough to say if the weight loss is slowing smidge lightly because I am on top of my previous set point or if it is just that my load weight is gone be so I am losing real, stored body fat as opposed to load fluff. But either way my losses have been about on track for me and I'm feeling decently enough.

I worked out yesterday and overdid it with chores, as I mentioned before on here, so I am a little sore today. I'm not sure if that is impacting my losses either, with water retention in my muscle. Either way, TTap went fine, but sealing a sandbox lid with weatherproofing on TOP of doing my workout? Way too much and it fatigued me to the point of shaking and weakness. My stamina on P2 is pretty terrible, unfortunately.

I have been asking around the yahoo group but I am almost sure that I will be compounding my next vial of hCG for injecting instead of sublingual use. Honestly the rough round was only part of my reason for considering changing my dosing method.  I have a really hard time keeping the fluid under my tongue and I keep forgetting my evening dose in the busyness of the night.  Just dosing once per day, with a procedure I am comfortable with already, will be more straightforward for me even if the round continues to suck.

I do have my concerns about the dosing method and they may well be unfounded.  I keep feeling like I have no hCG in my system, compared to the early days of past rounds, it just seems like I'm not absorbing like I should, even though I'm leaving the hCG under my tongue for at LEAST two minutes and giving it a little time before eating or drinking (which I have heard isn't necessary for sublingual rXhCG, and is more a concern with hhCG).

Either way, a single dose each day with an injection just seems more straightforward for me, even with concerns about lysing the hCG molecule and plastic leeching from the syringe and such.  I'm open to compelling arguments to the contrary, but at this point I just want some sort of relief and tweaking my dosing method back to what I am more comfortable with seems like a decent start. I can officially say this round is the worst of the ones I have done and eliminating the dosing as a variable seems wise. So we'll see. I've hit predictable resistance on the email group in bringing this up, as there is insistence that frozen hCG doesn't work and alters the protein. The altering the protein is fact, but there is conflicting information as to whether it still effectively works enough for our purposes. Some gals say yes, some say no. I'd rather try it and toss the syringes if it doesn't work, than just have to throw away half my hCG every month without even giving it a try. If it doesn't work I'll know within a few days and if it does then I bought myself much more bang for my dosing buck by giving it a shot.

That's where I'm at today. Hopefully this afternoon will bring more TTap and another trip to the Salvation Army. I am really short on shirts right now, with the number of old ones I tossed I am consistently short in my wardrobe on casual tops. So to tide me over I wanted to check out their selection and see what I could get by with. I will happily purchase more and newer clothes after my round, but right now I'm looking for economy, not the height of fashion. I am very lucky our Salvation Army is excellent and has a lot of great inventory that gets refreshed frequently. Piano will ga e to be an afternoon thing, as I overslept my alarm AGAIN. It was worth the staying up late with my husband, though ;)

taryl | General | 5 July, 4:50pm | 18 comments

I hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July! This morning finds me down .8 pounds to 169.6, or 8.4 pounds below where I began seven days ago. While I do love losing a pound each day, minimum, I'm certainly not grumbling over it slowing down. I'm due for a stall to catch up and ease the rate of loss, too, and expect that in the next two weeks. But overall I'm losing way above what is normal for women and my own personal round average.

My husband came home early yesterday and I was taking a break reading, thinking I had more time before he arrived, so I missed my TTap block. With everyone home today it is going to be tricky but I am still tentatively scheduling myself in for a MORE workout this afternoon, and hopefully piano, too.

Finally, I'll leave you all with a quote worth remembering:

"Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.  We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.  Happy Fourth of July." - Ronald Reagan, President of the United States (1981)

taryl | General | 4 July, 7:04pm | 16 comments

This morning finds me at 170.4, which isn't bad at all. I made it through the meeting last night relatively unscathed, though I cobbled together a meal there that included eating a lemon (technically the protocol is the juice of a lemon, not the rind, too) to prevent me from scarfing the pizza and cheesecake I was feeding the kids. Everything else was pretty much spot on and the losses show that. I have another half dozen or so events like this in July and I'm praying I can stay on plan during them, since there is really no leeway for cheats in P2. We'll see, but I'm hopeful I can take it one day at a time and make it through, giving it my all, as intended. Any prayer on that count would be appreciated, though ;)

Unfortunately I was hungry last night and am hungry this morning. At this point I can say I have had noted increases in my hunger on this round, though not the gnawing, starving hunger of a round done with no hCG. I don't know if this is because of my new dosing method (sublingual instead of subcutaneous) or if this is just a rough round, and it is coincidental that I changed the dosing method. But it is definitely harder to stay on plan when I'm not feeling satisfied. Some of that is my fault - my veggie servings have been small because my fridge is bare of most protocol vegetables and shopping HAS to happen today. So I have been getting by on the ends of a celery and half a chopped onion, etc, to stretch things. No more of that, I have more calories available for more veggies and at all these ridiculous things I keep have to go to they have fruit, but not veggies, and so my fruit servings have been emergency increased. That could also be contributing to the hunger. I'm very proud of myself for making the protocol work for me in these awkward and challenging (and frustrating) food situations, but at this rate I won't be able to finish out even a short round, as I am not willing to persist in hunger for the entire duration. So I'm going to deal with the veggie situation first and hope that helps things.

Overall it is going well, and the weight is just falling off (which could also be signalling my hunger, even on protocol the hungrier the day the better I tend to lose), but I will remedy the issues I have the past three or four days with getting enough veggies and see if that helps.

taryl | General | 3 July, 5:17pm | 8 comments

This morning finds me at 171.6, down .6 pounds from yesterday for a total of 6.4 pounds lost this round. I'm pleased as punch with this, because I was very uncomfortable last night and honestly expecting a gain. It shouldn't have surprised me, but I wasn't looking at my calendar and therefore wasn't expecting major ovulation pains for a few hours yesterday evening. I knew I was fertile but was kind of expecting to not notice or have it be a few days later (don't ask me why, I have no clue why that was my assumption!).

Given that I almost always stall or gain for the few days around ovulating, even on hCG, the continued losses (even if they aren't huge) are absolutely excellent.

Unfortunately my plan of being 'on' this morning, regarding my schedule, was shot to you-know-where a bit. I had caffeine too close to bed and couldn't fall asleep until 1:00 am. I also somehow overslept my alarm by an hour and half, completely breezing through the bible study and piano blocks without even a choice. I must have either rolled over and turned off my alarm without realizing it or my husband turned it off for me, but the former is much more likely. Oh well! Today is my baking day so the afternoon will already be somewhat busy, but I think I can get a short workout and piano in, even then. This evening is another campaign meeting but fortunately the prep work for me is minimal. I'll just eat before I go and the kids have leftovers to consume, so no major alterations to the evening schedule besides driving out to it wll be noticeable.

And that's what's going on here, anyway!

taryl | General | 2 July, 5:11pm | 10 comments

Down to 172.2 this morning, which is about where I was prior to loading and busy-weekend overeating about a week ago. 5.8 pound loss is four days is excellent, but I do expect the rate to slow significantly when I get into virgin territory of sub-167.

This next week I am making a concerted effort to get back to my normal schedule. No excuses, get it done-time. My workouts will resume and I WILL drag myself to bed, no matter how busy I am, no later than 10:00. Piano and bible study will not bed slept through. I had plenty of valid reasons to shelve these activities the past few weeks and make half-hearted efforts at them, my brain was literally too full to process any more activities without me cracking! But if I don't stick to my schedules the next few weeks I will not be able to keep my head above water when I get more busy here in July. Thus, the crazytimes-holiday-that-wasn't is over and I'm back to the grindstone. If I don't pledge this to myself and just do it, I never will.

My acne is clearing up again, as a noted side effect. The Atkins induction level of carbs worked fine for me, or even 10-20 grams above that, but the amounts of cheese I was consuming was delicious but not friendly with my hormones. That is the only food I am really not partaking of in P2 that I had in copious amounts the last month, and the last month I've been quite broken out. So unfortunately I think cheese needs to stay at an ounce or less per day if I wish to control my skin issues. Bummer! Heavy cream doesn't seem to affect me one way or the other, but cheese is just too concentrated with the milk proteins and hormones deposited in the fat.

taryl | General | 1 July, 8:26pm | 8 comments

This morning found me at 173.8, down 4.2 pounds from VLCD1. Not bad, not bad. I went to the baby shower and it was without adieu, there was some food I could eat and I pretty much stayed on plan, except that I had two types of vegetables instead of just one. But as far as meals go, it was almost precisely protocol and no cheats. The day has been exhausting and busy, with us getting into bed after midnight and waking at 7:00 or so to begin the craziness scheduled, but we've surmounted all except the last meeting, which is tonight. I'm seriously debating whether a nap would make me feel better or worse.

My husband continues to be the hardest worker I know, pulling late nights, early mornings, and busy day to get things done. It is awfully hard for me to slack when he sets such a great example.

So nap or no, my first big P2 obstacle of a social rent has gone very well and I'm pleased. Fast dropping weight and no cheats is the best I can hope for :)

taryl | General | 1 July, 12:15am | 11 comments

This morning finds me down to 175.8, which is a great loss for the first day's efforts. Thought I won't really be getting excited until I surpass my last dose weight from the previous round, I definitely see progress!

Yesterday was a little rough, I felt nauseous and 'off' all day, and ended the evening late and with a headache. Fortunately all those symptoms abated today and if that is the worst of my detox and transition then I lucked out. I have noticed no discernible different in the effectiveness of the sublingual vs the subcutaneous dosing, but I do find I almost forget my evening doses and getting in the habit of dosing twice per day instead of once has taken a surprising amount of mental energy to remember!

No exercise yet and probably none until next Monday, as things are just too busy. I haven't touched the piano except for school time with the kids in two weeks, too. I HATE being this busy, but none of it is really optional, except things like fellowship and a baby shower for my friend tomorrow. And I'd feel like scum for skipping either of those, so they aren't really on the chopping block, either.

I'm not hungry but I AM feeling the fatigue pretty strongly right now. I'd do anything for a nap and have even less time to take one than normal. I expect the abnormal levels of exhaustion will go away sometime next week.

taryl | General | 29 June, 7:15pm | 7 comments

Another load day yesterday did jump my weight up a bit more, to 178.0, for the start of this round. That is ten pounds above my LDW and six of those are from loading, so I'm quite looking forward to dispatching the weight and some of its' friends as soon as possible!

We'll see what the progress looks like tomorrow.

taryl | General | 28 June, 7:28pm | 8 comments

I inquired online with the wonderful, wise gals of the hCGDieters yahoo group, regarding what I should do for dinner tonight. They seemed to think another load day was just fine and wouldn't interfere with the diet at all. It makes things much more straightforward. So today is load day three and tomorrow is VLCD1, then, and all is well.

taryl | General | 27 June, 10:13pm | 17 comments

Hello strangers! As life has been insane, my apologies for the bloggy silence.

I just finished loading the last two days and am beginning my VLCD for round three today. It unfortunately falls on a family dinner with my inlaws, but that's life! I weighed in at 176.4 today, which is about four pounds up from my pre-load weight. I kept hitting busy spot after stressful busy spot and was eating badly, on the go, and prepared by others, so my weight was on the higher side and needed correcting. But since I knew I was beginning another round I just let things sit the way they were and marked off the small uncorrected gain. For the sake of my sanity this was the wisest course of action!

The painfully, exhaustingly busy days aren't near over and this weekend promises much craziness, too (I have FIVE different events scheduled for Saturday, alone), I'm thinking just prepping P2 food and ignoring all else may make life a bit easier than not.

To summarize this round, I began it only two pounds outside my window which is really good for maintenance - had I not been starting another round I'd have just corrected it and continued maintaining). I had over two months of maintenance and my weight is pretty nicely set at this current range. Notching it downward with another round is an exciting prospect and I think I can get comfortably in the 150's with a 35-ish day round.

Now. The round length for round three is something I am mulling. Two vials of my current strength of hCG gets me forty days of doses, which equals two load days and thirty eight VLCD days, plus the 72 hour transition off hCG, if I dose perfectly. Dosing and mixing exactly enough to yield that many days is tough, so I assume I'll realistically get a few days less out of my hCG than that. If I do this round cleanly and follow my previous weight loss pattern I should see 20-30 pounds lost during this time.

Here's the thing - I'm considering being crazy and doing a longer round. My husband was very bummed about no baby for us during our last bout of trying to conceive and I know he wants to give it another earnest go after the VLCD, so the continued need to get off as much weight as possible is still in my mind. I am dosing this third round sublingually, instead of subcutaneous injections, and sublingual tends to not have the issues of immunity that subcutaneous does, so long rounds are definitely possible. The losses during the longer rounds can either be excellent or mediocre, and depending on how the first two vials go I may seriously consider adding in a third for an approximately 55 day round of VLCD's. I am playing that entirely by ear because if I am feeling physically or mentally drained I don't want to push longer and have a freak out moment like I did last round. But if things are going well I am seriously considering continuing the hCG until I end up in the 140's, if possible. There is mixed success with longer rounds but I want to give it a try unless the situation or my tolerance for the VLCD makes a shorter round more logical.

So.

Round three is on as of now, the length is yet to be determined but at LEAST into the beginning week of August. There are some events, like the Bearpaw festival, that will make sticking to the VLCD tough, so I will plan for and tackle those as I can. Exercise will be mild TTap like Basic Workout Plus, Tempo, and the MORE routines. Beyond that and I don't think I have the energy or stamina to do it well.

I think I can successfully land in the 150's on this round, it's only 16 pounds away, and I'd ideally like to continue down to 147 if my brain can handle it, so my maintenance window keeps me below 150 altogether (I'd be maintaining in the 145-149 range). That's the best case scenario, and while I am hopeful I'm not considering myself a failure if I don't get there!

Now that I have more to say, if not more time to say it, I will be blogging regularly again. I'm not sure how this sublingual round will differ from my previous injected rounds, if at all, but I am hoping the energy and weight loss are comparable and the hunger is what I have come to expect (mild to non-existent).

My size 12's are very tight, here at the end of loading and with serious slacking on my workouts the past three weeks. I am SO eager to rectify this. So stay tuned and watch me shrink ;)

taryl | General | 27 June, 9:03pm | 11 comments

I hate being busy. And that's the very definition of this summer. My TTap has definitely suffered for it, and I missed it. I am supposed to get in a total workout today, but I'll be lucky to squeeze in a basic workout. Too much on the books and I am SO eager for August, already, which signals a less busy schedule.

My weight was 169.4 today, which is fine and fully down from my hormones and overeating earlier in the week. I took some steps to correct and am back in my window again. My period just started today, too, which means no baby this cycle (oh well!) and I will begin another P2 at the end of this week. I will probably start loading Friday and Saturday and begin P2 Sunday, or something to that effect. This round will be sublingual instead of subcutaneous dosing, and should be around 37 days long, after loading. So this week I am just staying in my window and then commencing the round.

Can I just claim a major victory over my last round? I maintained SO much better this time, and will be beginning my round right at my window plus any load weight, instead of 8 pounds above my window, as was the case last time. I stayed on top of my correcting consistently and I am very proud of myself. Even eight weeks later I am still within my window, with several swings outside of it and corrections to fix those. I feel I have much more control over my weight and better understand the process of removing pounds quickly gained through holidays and such. That is a massive milestone for maintaining, as I can hold my weight steady (and have before) but never had much experience with regains and fixing them. Now I have many more tools in my mental and dietary toolkit to adjust to various eating situations and it shows on the scale.

So I enter this next P2 with my head held high and real hopes for seeing 20-ish pounds lost and entering the 140's when all is said and done. I am only four pounds away from my high school average weight and a new low, and about ten pounds away from 100 pounds lost, if I am using my non-pregnant high weight (otherwise I've already lost over 100! Wow!). While I don't understand more than God's sovereignty and providence over my womb, when it comes to perfectly timing my cycles for conception and seeing none, I do accept it and so does my husband. His will is perfect, after all! I'm taking this as a blessing and seeking to make the very best of my time without a pregnancy to really give this P2 everything I have. I had two or three small slips last round and I am seeking to do it spotlessly this go-around. This week I will be doing my darndest to get TTap in as scheduled, and when I am back in P2 I will be doing alternate chair/step and BWO+ routines. They are shorter and easier, since I fatigue quickly in P2, but still do a fair bit of toning and reshaping.

It looks like I will hit another holiday (Independence Day) on P2, but it will be fine. I would rather lose weight that eat hot dogs, anyway! If I am calculating correctly the next round should be completed by the third week of July.

So that is what is going on in my house. Busy times, menstrual cramps, missing my workouts, weight maintenance victories.

taryl | General | 18 June, 4:37pm | 14 comments

Yay! Good news this morning, my correcting netted me 1.8 pounds and I'm down to 170.6. Almost back in my window! I managed my time badly (quite frankly) yesterday and didn't work out, but today is another day. I'm scheduled for Hit The Floor Softer and that is what I'll do unless there are major issues. But even if I can't get that in, I'm at least doing a chair routine! No more missing, I hate it when that happens.

I had a late night and didn't get my morning piano in, either. So this afternoon is going to be chock full. I also have a friend who just had a baby and I am dropping off a meal for her today, along with normal errands, so extra busy times all around. But on the upside, dinner would be pretty easy for us - I roasted a turkey on Monday and have been boiling the bones for broth for the last two days. I'm going to strain it, add other ingredients, and the family will have turkey soup tonight. As for me, I'm just continuing on my plan and chugging along. I am SO close to being back in my window, hopefully tomorrow will be the day :)

taryl | General | 13 June, 5:40pm | 8 comments

Wow, it has been a LONG time since I last checked in! Illness, travel, and general busy times have derailed me.

The trip to Seward was fun and about half on plan, half convenience food. I was up to 173.something when I got back and down to 171.8 after my first day of correcting. Yesterday was going smashingly well on diet but I had olives (read: little sodium bombs) right before bedtime and clocked a gain this morning because of them, at 172.4. I'm continuing on my induction-style correction method until these gains rectify themselves, but overall things went well and continue to do so.

With the illness and travel I did neither TTap nor piano for over a week. For shame! The TTap 60 Day Challenge ended and I took my measurements and pictures, but while the visual difference in photographs is there, the tape measure was getting the weekend of fast food and the bloat of being out of my routine for a week, and thus I don't think there was much change. We'll see what Teresa thinks when she reviews my application.

Last night, in the evening, I knew I HAD to finally do my TTap. Though I am still sick, I am feeling stiff and weak after being so used to more regular exercise, and it was time to come out of retirement, so to speak. So I did the BWO+ instead of the longer TWO I had scheduled, to transition back into activity. Come to think of it, that may be accounting for some of the water weight fluctuation, too. Even that simple workout felt hard after the time away and I definitely need to regain tone and strength. Today I have tempo scheduled and every plan to adhere to it, but it will be a busy afternoon as I have chiropractic and groceries to fit into the evening and that may impede the workout block.

Piano has also been resumed and it going well, though I did have to email a question to my teacher regarding fingering. Scales and warmups are fine, but she is having me take a note and build the Maj, min, and diminished chord from it, and the fingering on the diminished is feeling awkward. I want to make sure I'm learning it correctly, so verification is in order. Also this week, I am memorizing the Hook Minuet I have been working on, and tomorrow I will be improving/splitting apart the blocked chord of the Prelude. It's going to be at a painfully slow speed, to keep everything dynamic and in tempo with the weakest sections, but my fingers are crossed it will coalesce nicely and I won't have made too embarrassingly little progress as my lesson, given that half of the time I had to practice the past week was spent convalescing or absent.

Campaign busy times are also accelerating, which is cutting into my already-limited sleep. Peter and I have to find a better way to juggle that, but we're just drawing a blank right now.

That's what's been happening. With me, no news is generally good news. I'm not off the wagon, dead, or wishing I was dead, so I can't complain :)

PS: I can hardly believe it, but this is my 350th blog entry on this site. Who knew I was so long-winded? ;)

taryl | General | 12 June, 4:55pm | 10 comments

I'm convinced I'm dying today. Well, okay, that's a little melodramatic, but not as far off the mark as I'd like!

We have been ridiculously busy the past few days (hence the bloggy silence) and just yesterday I could feel a nasty cold coming on. Despite lots of vitamin c loading it is here with a vengeance and a nasty, congested headcold with body aches, to boot. What's worse, one of the reasons we are so busy is because we are going camping tomorrow evening, and so I have been cleaning out and then packing our trailer for the trip. Now I am barely functional (instead of homeschooling the kids get a cartoon day today) and still have to do all the cooking prep, clothes packing, and reassembling the trailer bits I just washed. I keep hoping I'll feel better by tomorrow, but it looks like I'm just going to have to swill NyQuil and DayQuil in turns and hope for the best.

My weight has been all over the place - I decided to have some cookies on Sunday evening, as I was toward the bottom of my window. That would have been fine but they triggered me big time (I intended to eat one and justified eating six, instead) AND I'm sensitive to some of the ingredients, so that tossed me a smidge above my window. After those digested I was right back down, but not by much, because of unknown water retention. It turns out that retention was due to this illness.

Today I'm at 169.8, which is still inside my window, and just doing my thing now and this weekend. I'm hoping I won't need to correct when I get back, as I'm still eating low carb/Atkins induction for the trip, but we'll see. At this point I feel so awful I hardly care about my weight, swollen lymph nodes and a gunky, raw throat are more pressing concerns.

Since I last blogged my weight has been as low as 167.4 and as high as 170.2, which is still a very tight window with the lower end being the losses I have accumulated from being strict on plan the past few weeks and the higher end representing the cookies and illness. I'm actually pretty pleased with that, and a normal day on plan was all it took to bring even the high end of that weight back down into my window. If that isn't stabilized set points I don't know what is!

On an unfortunate and related note, all this busyness is coming here at the end of the TTap challenge and I haven't managed to tap in a WEEK. It's awful. Today I am going to *try* to get in my little chair TTap routine to get some energy and pump my lymphatic system a bit. Despite being very consistent up to this past week I am not sure if I have had much in the way of result and inch loss or not, which is a shame at the end of the 60 day challenge. It can't really be helped, though.

Piano has suffered a similar fate as working out, thanks to having too much on the books and not enough time or energy to do it all. I have been foregoing my morning practice block in favor of more sleep and I don't see that changing the next two days. I need to rest and kick this as fast as possible, and waking early to play piano isn't going to do that. My goal right now is to work diligently when I get back into town, but I'm not stressing about it until then. My place is on the couch or in bed, doing the absolute minimum. I hardly have energy for even that, which sucks.

So that's my rambling update. Not much to say, weight is doing it's thing, and other than the cookie overage Sunday night I have had no issues on plan (and was right back on it the next day, not derailed but fairly convinced that cookies are worth the trouble and icky feelings less and less!). I'm packing precooked chicken drumsticks, cheese, and hardboiled eggs for snacks when we're camping and will also pack my normal dinner salad in ziploc bags. That will be supplemented with lunches that will be at our destinations, which I'll make as low carb and unprocessed as I can. That's the best I can do, really. Pack appropriate snacks and make wise choices. The rest we'll see when I weigh in on Monday.

taryl | General | 6 June, 7:25pm | 10 comments

Things are still going well in this neck of the woods. Despite the hormonal water retention I am gripped in right now, I still manage to shed .4 pounds to end this week at 169.2. Not bad at all, actually.

I had my brutal but thoroughly useful Hit The Floor Softer workout yesterday, in which the 'softer' is a thorough misnomer. So to not be retaining a pound or two of water from that incredibly difficult workout, alone, is a really blessing to me today.

I'm still eating Atkins-induction style, no cheats or issues to speak of. I honestly find it enjoyable, and while I will be eager to add back in a serving or two of fruit and maybe two more servings of veggies, that's the only modifications I can see to adopting this as my maintenance form of eating. 40-50 net carbs is more than enough to satisfy me and my body still runs well in that range. If there is one thing the hCG protocol has taught me, it is the value of wholesale eliminating certain foods that don't play nicely with me and vastly restricting others. After a month or three of this I can honestly say I do not find myself missing the sugar/grains/legumes/vegetable oil/unfermented dairy on a daily basis. I can still have these things on occasion and be fine, but having them not comprise my daily fare has been shockingly easy. I'm downright used to making my own meals and feeding my family more standard fare, or gravitating toward a lower carb appetizer than a higher carb one. And since I'm a perfectly on plan for all but maybe one meal every two weeks or so, at this rate, my compliance to a body-friendly diet is high enough that I have no ill effects from the occasional splurge.

In other news, piano continues to go well. I'm dissecting my scale with precision and it is really a mind-bend to look at a run of notes from a compositional/theory standpoint, instead of just rote memory. Both more difficult and more useful, all at once. The JCB Prelude is still going swimmingly, too, and I'm about ready to play it with the pedal and full score, where I have been (up to this point) blocking the segments into chord shapes instead. The Hook Minuet is lacking something right now, so I am going to work that one hard today and see if I can't get that elusive last bit of quality it is lacking. It has emotion and the right speed, I'm relaxed when playing it, but I think a smidge more of freedom and ease is what will make it really sing. So wish me luck in capturing the elusive ringing lightness I seek. It's almost there, but I think I can push it just a bit further before declaring the piece complete.

Today is a simple MORE Chair workout and it is pizza/fajita Thursday around here, so the evening is shaping up nicely. I'm still as dog tired as I was Tuesday, for no explicable reason, and will try to get into bed on time or early. And that's the news of this Thursday, May 31. Bye ;)

taryl | General | 31 May, 11:51pm | 17 comments

Quickie, here! This morning I was 169.6, which isn't bad given I exercised before bedtime and ate corned beef (read: salt bomb). I have zero complaints on that weigh in.

As I guessed, having my family home made exercising a bit challenging, so I couldn't do the TWO I had scheduled but slipped a tempo workout in after my shower, of all times. Today will be equally challenging, as I have a friend coming to knit during that block of time, so I imagine I will do the same thing today of moving my workout into the evening and keeping it short and intense.

Piano is going well, I'm still blocking out the JC Bach Prelude and now adding dynamics, as well as observing the patterns among the progression of the chords (it is so pretty!). Shirley also has me redoing my basic C Maj scale but puzzling out the similarities and differences between the hands, as well as common notes, to memorize it more thoroughly and better than just rote. It is MUCH more tricky this way, but I am seeing her point about really understanding the scale, as opposed to just performing it. It is an exercise in mindful music playing, if nothing else!

Still eating induction-style, still in ketosis as far as I can tell. That's all I can think to talk about today!

taryl | General | 29 May, 4:50pm | 17 comments

Excuse the absence the past few days, it's been busy times and I haven't had much to say.

I have been on plan and chugging along as I said I would in the previous post and as we guessed, it has indeed paid off. I have been downward trending since that day and this morning sees me at 168.4, which is BELOW where I started May. My window for maintaining has been 166-170, so I am on the right track to get to the bottom of it and even a bit below, as I wanted. I have officially lost the fat gained from indulging during my May holidays, and another pound gone will see me at a new low.

Today's TTap is supposed to be a total workout. I'm not sure I can get that in with my family all home for Memorial day, but I will try. If not, I will do a basic workout instead, which is a shorter time commitment.

*******

Tangent addendum: I was looking at my weight chart this month and posted it on a message board, then realized it was really rather useful to have here, as well.

Here is my weight chart for May:

It is hilarious to me to see the chart, which so clearly shows what I did this month. You can see the ups from the first and second weekend in May, which were my anniversary and birthday dates, respectively. Then there's the correcting from them, maintaining, overeating at two meetings and subsequent correcting, then ending the trend with my period gains, losses, and here I am today.

Weight is NOT static, but I think this proves that with vigilance and persistence any gains can be corrected and we can continue on. If I produced the entire chart of my weightloss over four years, the pattern would also be obvious - lose, maintain, lose, maintain, slight gain, get it under control, lose and maintain again. Such is life!

taryl | General | 28 May, 5:37pm | 9 comments

Okay ladies, I need to have a pity party, a the title indicates.

I have been perfectly on plan and my weight stayed the same yesterday and then went UP today, despite the fact that everything indicates it should have gone down. My period is almost over (bloat has ended), jeans aren't tight, eating is perfectly clean and on plan, maintaining a 250 calorie deficit a day (both nutrients and quantities should have me losing), and I have been continually consistent on my five day a week workouts. Nothing has changed, but I'm up .4 today to 171.0.

Now, there could be one possible culprit - I have a slight cold, and that is about the only thing short of mystical elves in my scale that could be causing the number issue. I should be at 169 or 168, given the way my body generally responds to what I have been doing. And yet, a GAIN. Grr.....

Now, my plans aren't changing, I am patient and know what I am doing works and that I need to persist with it. So I will. But can I just say how obnoxious it is when the scale doesn't cooperate despite all efforts to the contrary? I won't stop weighing and won't let it get me down today, but I think I need a moment of growling on here to feel better about the whole thing. Maybe it is sickness, maybe it is building muscle with these continual workouts, but I am getting visibly smaller even as the scale stays high. Seriously?!

In other news, TTap continues as planned and well. Yesterday was surprisingly fatiguing for a Tempo/Basic Workout, which makes me think I just need to rest a bit. I likely WON'T get in a workout today as I have a friend coming over during that block of the day, but I may make it up on the weekend so I still get my regularly scheduled workout quantity in, even if the days are off. We'll see if this makes the scale more agreeable tomorrow. It can't stay high forever when everything I'm doing should be pushing it down, but how long it will stay up is a mystery at this point. This is one of those weeks of the month I generally lose very well, so who knows what it will look like now?

taryl | General | 23 May, 4:48pm | 8 comments

The weekend went well here on the weight front, I was back in my window at 169.6 and it was only nuts and cheesecake at 9:30 at night that sent me above it this morning, to 170.6. Considering how heavily I limit wheat and sugar that bounce was minimal and should correct very easily. I had a headache within ten minutes of eating the cheesecake and while it was tasty, I'm happy to limit such things to events such as the meeting last night and the correction days make maintenance easy enough. Day to day the induction style eating has been great - I'm well filled and energetic, with no cravings or hunger except the hormonally influenced stuff like what I had last week.

Other than partaking in dessert last night at the campaign meeting, I was exactly where I wanted to be on my meals for the day and weekend, in general. My cycle started over so there was no baby this month, unfortunately. I'll be continuing in my holding pattern this month, since I won't know if this cycle will have resulted in a pregnancy until the very end, or essentially right up until loading days. The catch is that the I have to delay another week if I am indeed not pregnant and can commence with a P2, because I'll be beginning my period and cannot start the hCG until the bulk of that is done. So another P2, if I can do one, will be in five weeks.

It seems like ages away but in the scheme of things it doesn't hurt to have longer P4's, quite the opposite. I just keep reminding myself it is SO unusual my husband requested not one month but ANOTHER for trying to conceive that I need to honor his request. He doesn't make ones like that very often, so I'll trust his judgment and preferences, especially given that I want more children as well. It just so happens I want to lose more weight, too, and both with about equal fervor.

I can't keep up induction-level carbs the entire month, even if the weight loss is good, however. Higher carb intake is much more beneficial for fertility and so I will be raising the level back to where I like it (40-60 net carbs) for the remainder of the time once I am at the bottom of my window or a smidge lower. I have a good two weeks I can have them at this level without any deleterious effects, though, and I feel excellent, so I'm not in a hurry to prematurely raise them when it makes maintaining or losing really comfortable for me.

Not much has changed, but that's the plan going forward. One more shot at a baby before another P2, and my focus right now is staying in my window, and preferably at the bottom of it. So I'm taking steps with my food to do just that.

Not much to mention on TTap, as the weekend is my break period. I have TWO scheduled today but might drop that down to a BWO instead, if I get too busy. I have a ton of piano to do today and unfortunately we didn't even get home until about 10:00 last night and not into bed until midnight, so I traded my morning practice block for more sleep, as that was more beneficial at the time. So now I have that to do during the afternoon, in the same timeslot as my workout. Add to that the fact of Monday being baking day and that my bread tends to go into the afternoon and I'm a bit overbooked for the 1:00-5:00 stretch. Seth has been wanting to play outside with the big kids lately, so I can't even get that extra hour after lunchtime inside the house for chores while the girls play outside and Seth plays in the living room. I have to be out with him since he is too little to play out there alone and the girls aren't old enough to watch him yet. Thus, even less time than I used to have to do MORE things. Bleh!

I was just given new piano pieces to work through, a Prelude by JC Bach (one of JS's sons) and a few staccato pieces to chose among from Gillock and Kabalebsky. I am still trying to decide but I am leaning toward "A Game" from Kabakevsky and "Clowns" from Gillock. After the Prelude there is a really pretty Mozart dance I think I'll do next. And somehow I need to keep fitting in time to learn more singalongs for the children and school time. Ack!

All the sudden I have gotten quite busy with the piano, it's a bit of a gearshift when the rest of our lives just randomly got more busy, as well. Really the end of April and all of May have been crazy. I'm ready for the busy times to subside a bit and we're keeping our summer schedule lighter than it could be to help with that. TTap will continue at the same rate even after the challenge is over, and piano is a constant, but the busy evenings ith family stuff should lighten up a bit. Throughout the summer I will continue our school schedule as I like going year round, but we only go four days a week right now and the fifth day is either a playdate with friends or things like a trip to the zoo and lunch with daddy. That, plus relatively free evenings, is a good balance for us.

That's the size of things right now. We'll see what today's correction day brings on the scale - I'm doing a clean, by the book Greek Yogurt day to get back in my window, with the exception that I have allowed myself my normal coffee this morning ;)

taryl | General | 21 May, 6:23pm | 10 comments

Well ladies, I am down another .2 today to 170.4, which I'm pretty pleased about (I had fajita beef for dinner - lots of it - and it was delish!).

Today I'm doing another zero carb/correction day with the correction day known as A Day In Poultry Paradise. I'm allowing myself coffee with cream for breakfast and possibly an induction-friendly salad for dinner, if hunger is an issue, but my goal is to do this by the alt. correction days book, so to speak, and keep it as close to pure flesh protein as possible. But worst case scenario, it ends up being a normal induction day instead of a correction day, and I still lose weight. Win/win!

I'm very close to my window and doing well. Though it was small losses on Monday and today I am still down from 173.6 to 170.4 in five days. That's a 3.2 pound loss, and not bad at all, given that I've been correcting and then overeating for two weekends. Fortunately nothing else dietarily significant is coming up and so continuing in ketosis and controlling my weight for the time being is the plan. If this wasn't our cycle for TTC my husband requested one more shot at it before I do another P2, which fits in with the end of this P4, anyway, as I have about another month on this phase before I can start again with losing. So just coasting and controlling my weight by whatever means I like fits his plan and mine well.

Yesterday I just did my Chair TTap from the MORE DVD, which was light and relaxing. I didn't feel sore from HTFS until I actually started working out again and then I was glad I didn't do a harder routine. Today is scheduled for TWO and then the weekend for a break. As far as I can tell that lineup is just fine and I have no plans to alter it.

Piano is going well, though I am going to spend some concerted effort today on my warmup to iron out the technique that isn't really sounding or feeling like I want it to. It's not bad, but I can do better, if you know what I mean? The minuet, itself, is doing great! I ironed out the rough spots and have been working on the dynamic expression, now it sounds quite lovely to my ears. Not exactly like my teacher's version of it, but very nice in its' own right. After my lesson Saturday we will run some errands and the kids will go hang out with grandpa. Then Peter and I will be working in building the girls a long-planned sandbox in our back yard, to go with their playset. This year we also need to finish the deck and pour the sidewalks, so getting in the sandbox before we stake out the path of the sidewalk is going to be very helpful. The kids really like their box at grandma and grandpa's so I think it will be a hit.

And that's the news for today!

taryl | General | 18 May, 4:53pm | 10 comments

The Burgers Over Easy day was a success. I did it as written with no issues except I added in two servings of coffee.m this morning found me down 1.2 pounds to 170.6. I'm doing a 'normal' keto/induction day today to get some broader nutrition while losing and if I am still outside my window tomorrow I will do a Chicken or Greek Yogurt correction day to assist.

I feel great and have tons of energy right now, which is excellent. I did my HTFS TTap routine yesterday and I'm either crazy or doing it wrong but it was much easier this go-around. Still some very challenging exercises, but while I was sore I wasn't winded through most of it, and my muscles got worked out without me feeling worked over, if you get my drift ;)

Since that was a full workout and still very intense, today is just my MORE workout - either Chair, Step Away, or both if I am feeling up for it. Proceeding as scheduled, basically!

With piano I need to tune up my walking/running exercises a bit more, they are struggle this week even as the actually piece I'm assigned is going excellently. Go figure! The easy warmup is causing me more problems than the actual work, because it is isolating and exaggerating my weaknesses. I needs to happen so I can fix them, but I'm still annoyed ;)

taryl | General | 17 May, 5:10pm | 9 comments

Good news today - despite nuts and restaurant food (on plan but not ideal) it appears I stayed in ketosis and was down 1.8 pounds this morning, to 171.8. After no drop yesterday (yay water retention!) it is a welcome sight. I am not known for losing weight around this time of my cycle so any pound is excellent.

I'm slightly switching things up on correction days. I have been doing Atkins induction, but I actually plan on doing it today with even less carbs, if I am feeling good. I will be doing the "Burgers Over Easy" correction day from the Alternate Correction Day ebook, which is a zero carb day. If I find myself hungry I will add in my normal induction dinner which has been a salad with mushrooms, avocado, radish, celery, and some bell pepper, and comes out to about 12 net carbs. That will not bump me out of ketosis at all, but it may make the predicted correction day losses slightly less. Thus, my aim is to do a clean correction day according to the book (literally!) and then alter it if needed. These pure protein correction days can really kill cravings and jumpstart fat burning, so they are very useful. The hybridization of the protocol and Atkins continues!

TTap went very well last night, a solid tempo workout completed and I felt energetic and bouncy afterward. I've been dragging the past few weeks so it was really nice to hit mid afternoon, exercise, and actually feel refreshed instead of just sore AND tired. I am planning on adopting hoedowns more regularly into my routine, too, as post-meal insulin control. I haven't done this specifically and regularly for the duration of the TTap 60 Day Challenge, but I have enough of a baseline now that I can see if it makes a difference in how I look or feel. I asked the wise lovelies on the TTap forum when the best timeframe to do hoedowns after a meal would be, if insulin control was the desired goal, and they told me the sweet spot was 20-40 minutes after eating. A sweet and very helpful poster named Ayj dug up an old thread for me on the subject and it was an interesting read: Hoedown Window

In terms of piano, this is what my teacher is having me practice (and do browse her blog, it is amazing!) - Hook Minuet. It sounds very pretty when played the way she recommends, even though it is an incredibly simple piece it can still be beautiful when the phrases are shaped carefully. This is a skill Ipi haven't experienced much and it shows! I really enjoyed my practice this morning because it sounded lovely and was relaxing to fine-tune the piece, not at all a drudge. Shirley has really made me approach the piano, including pieces I already know, very deliberately and it has breathed new life into my playing. I was struggling with it being stale and stilted before, because I knew what I wanted to hear and couldn't make my hands do it. So in my opinion she is a miracle worker already, and well worth her fee and lesson format (the link discusses that a bit - she is wonderful about providing supplemental instruction and additional material to add to learning).

taryl | General | 16 May, 5:02pm | 8 comments

Well this is unfortunate, but I'm not surprised. I've hit the end of my cycle this month and am having premenstrual water retention, so despite being on plan I was the same today as yesterday, 173.6. Today was derailed by a potluck and lunch out but I stayed as close to plan as possible, so I'm hoping things will look better in the morning. Persistence and perseverence are my friends, and my weight loss looks the same around this time every month - stalled or gain!

Unless I'm hungry later I'm actually done eating for the day. I don't know where my calories are, but I feel quite full here, post-lunch. Tomorrow will proceed as planned. My workout today is tempo/BWO+ and I am eager to get to it. Some days I don't want to work out at all and others I am itching to move - today is the latter, so this should be nice.

Piano needs some serious additional attention, and my husband has to stay later at work since we did a lunch date with him today, so I have time before he comes home tonight to get that extra bit of practice in. My new piano teacher, Shirley, has taken me back to basics. And yet her approach is so different and focuses on a skillset I haven't developed and am sorely missing, so I find it challenging and enjoyable despite being somewhat elementary. She's an excellent teacher and the Skype for lessons format we use actually works very well.

I think that is the news for today. Weight issues are stagnant, exercise is normal, piano is proceeding, and life keeps on marching. Can't complain!

taryl | General | 15 May, 10:16pm | 8 comments

Good morning! I ended up having a lovely (and yes, very sugary) birthday/Mother's Day weekend and have some water retention and likely a pound of fat to show for it - this morning was 173.6, which I'm fine with. Clothes still fit and the like, so much of this is probably nutrient-related inflammation and bloat. It was nice to spend a day without counting, though I do need to get the goodies out of the house so the temptation is minimal to keep eating them!

Sugar and wheat do indeed make me feel cruddy once metabolized. I'm noting this correlation more and more strongly as I listen to the feedback my body gives me. I wonder if I felt this way when I was at my highest, non-dieted weight and just didn't realize it? I can't remember specifics but I felt tired and rundown all the time, and nutrition/inflammation issues likely had something to do with it, as much as all the excess weight did!

I'm back on the induction diet until the end of the week, maybe a smidge longer, then will transition slowly back up to my normal level of carbohydrates (sans the foods I don't tolerate, of course). We'll see how long it takes my body to adjust back downward this time, I'm curious to see if it is faster or slower than last week and what factors may affect that (like hormones, or the fact that this was a quick regain due to cruddy food and not several weeks of slightly high calories).

TTap is planned for today, though I have been incredibly sore all weekend from the last total workout on Friday. I was surprised to be so sore, actually, it was abnormal for me at that workout. I'm taking that as a good sign I activated and fine tuned my form a bit more, since that ups the efficacy and intensity quite a bit. But either way, I am playing it by ear today. I have a TWO schedules but I may dial it back to the basic, instead, so I don't overdo it.

I think that is about the size of it right now. Looking forward to tomorrow's weigh-in!

taryl | General | 14 May, 5:09pm | 10 comments

Good afternoon!

I'm back inside my window today. Despite eating slightly excess calories over what I wanted I actually dropped another full pound to 169.2 today. That means I began Monday at 173.6 of earned fat from overeating, and have reduced it 4.4 pounds in as many days. Induction has been a total blessing for correction days for me.

Tomorrow is my 26th birthday and I'm combining it with Mother's Day so my eating it relegated to just Saturday. In addition to the cake and dinner my husband had planned for me (Sushi, yay!) my daughters also conned their grandma into baking a chocolate cake as a Saturday activity, so I'm being given two cakes. Oy! I have given myself permission to eat whatever tomorrow and not count a thing, but Sunday and thereafter is completely on track. I do fine that way - with special occasions being relaxed provided my eating day in and day out is on plan. Then Chrismas Day or my birthday is no big deal.

I assume I will need a correction day Sunday, but even if I don't I'm resuming the induction days until I get a positive or negative pregnancy test at the end of this week (I should know by next Sunday). That way I've gotten off excess weight and maybe a bit more either for maintaining until my next P2 (if the test is negative I'm doing another weight loss round) or to transition to higher carbohydrates and maintain or lose slowly during pregnancy. It is a win/win for weight control, regardless. I feel GREAT on ketosis and it has been a great tool for correcting.

With the exception of multiple junk food days in series I can maintain in my window just fine (I only needed one correction day in my entire P3, that was a big victory!), but to get slightly higher regains off I think this is my method of choice. It is easy to adhere to, no hunger, and I feel excellent. So if I am just slightly out of my window I'll do a steak day or other simple correction day, but after the holidays or a vacation, the way to get off slightly higher pounds that works wonders for me is definitely Induction, by the book. My maintenance eating is so close to later stages of Atkins anyway, it's an easy transition for me. And as I said before, the Perfect Health Diet is essentially Atkins with better nutrient balance and lower inflammation foods, so all these approaches are very naturally flowing into each other and giving me a lots of tools in my toolbox for simple maintenance. Just a little vigilance and daily weighing, plus committing to correcting immediately when my weight strays a bit, is the golden ticket for me.

TTap - workouts yesterday went very well. I was very sore in my upper and lower abs from the floor work Wednesday so I just did MORE Chair and skipped the slightly more strenuous second workout. Today is supposed to be TWO and I am planning on doing it, getting ready, and then I have that monthly babysitting for the Military Wives Potluck that our church hosts (we adopted the spouses of one of the regiments on base, and are witnessing to them and offering fellowship and a break from their kids for the evening ;) ). If I run out of time to get ready AND out the door I'll cut it short and just do the Basic workout, but the plan is for the Total as of right now.

This is my husband's day off work (he works ten hour days so every other Friday is an additional off day, which is very nice!) and we're taking the kids to the park with their bikes after lunch instead of the usual playing in the yard. Now that the snow is mostly melted (there is still a bit in our yard, but just patches) we want to really improve the girls' bike skills and our park has a great paved flat area for learning, as well as trails for when Callie gets better. She actually does very well and just figured out her hand break, but Lilah is having issues with peddling the same direction and not going backwards. She forgets which way she was going and reverses it, which of course brakes her little bike and brings everything to a screeching halt. Hopefully she'll learn ;)

And that's my day today. Can't complain!

taryl | General | 11 May, 7:38pm | 8 comments

This morning finds me at 170.2. That's .8 down and 3.4 pounds down in three days of this ketogenic fasting for correction days. WOW! I officially have that lovely metal-mouth keto-breath thing going on this morning, so hopefully I'll get the appetite suppressing effects of keto as well. I'm not hungry, but still eating fairly close to maintenance calories each day. I'd like to effortlessly drop it by about 200 calories for the next few days, but I'm not pushing it.

Only .2 until I'm back inside my range! I'll just continue this correction cycle until Saturday, and then resume it as needed. If I am losing this well each day I have no problem doing the induction-thing until then end of next week, honestly. It is a comfortable way of eating except for being light on the veggies compared to what I am used to, and I miss having grapefruit with breakfast and berries with dinner (allowed in Atkins phase two, but not induction). Transitioning back to slightly higher carbs overall will be nice, but I could comfortably lose weight this way for as long as needed. I hadn't realized just how close to induction I was already eating, in terms of nutrient composition, anyway. It's not a lifelong thing and shouldn't be, but for losing it is very nice. Beats the pants off of simple calorie restriction, in terms of losses and lack of hunger.

I got in my Hit The Floor Softer workout yesterday and dare I say it was easier this time? It's still ridiculously difficult, especially some of the more aerobic/strength sequences, but it wasn't impossible, either. My abs are a bit sore, but no punched-in-the-gut feeling. I just 'notice' them ;)

Today is an easy TTap day with MORE Chair and Step Away. Tomorrow will probably make up for it, as TWO is the scheduled DVD, but for today I am looking forward to intense activation and brief but energizing workouts, as I have come to expect with MORE. Good stuff. My mother was kind enough to send me some birthday money (and a lovely candle that smells like cake and looks like the ones she always made me when I was growing up) and it's totally going toward Step Away/Step It To The Max and Tempo Arms TTap DVDs. I'm turning into a junkie for it, but the results are addictive!

taryl | General | 10 May, 4:38pm | 8 comments

Atkins Induction experiment as a correction day has worked very well so far! It is essentially a high fat, moderate protein day with very low carbs. I'm actually sticking to the induction food list and rules to a T, so that should explain the nutrition side of it for anyone familiar with the program. I'm down another .6 pounds to 171.0. For doing in a series, this is tough to beat. I ate my last meal at 9:30 last night thanks to the debate and not having time to cook for myself before leaving, and yet even eating a huge salad and accoutrements that late at night, the scale was still very nicely down.

The issue with correction days is that doing them in a series is very tough and the losses slow immensely after the first one. So when larger corrections are needed, like after holidays (or anniversary weekend with rough eating ;) ) finding a way to get back in the weight window is really tough if you can't or don't correct immediately. Now some of this is my luck - I am well keto-adapted already and have no side effects from going into fairly deep ketosis. No headaches, flu symptoms, or anything like that. I just feel energetic (almost to the point of having a hard time sleeping!), clear headed, and have almost no hunger unless it has literally been 6-8 hours in the middle of the day between meals.

To put this dietary/correction day experiment in context as to why I chose it and how it fits with the other things I am trying, here are the main points:

- The Perfect Health Diet I am already committed to practicing during pregnancy or maintenance is essentially a low-inflammation version of phases 3-4 of Atkins anyway. Very similar nutrient compositions overall, except the PHD is focused on optimizing nutrition out of the same dietary percentages and eliminating inflammation from foods like soy, sugar, or wheat, which Atkins does not. The basic dietary philosophies are similar, and the PHD actually recommends ketogenic fasts once every week or two or to therapeutically treat health issues, as they are very beneficial to blood chemistry and work marvelously to kill off pathogens and microorganisms that can cause many maladies. And just like induction, the Jaminets (authors of the aforementioned PHD) have researched and concluded that our bodies are not meant to run exclusively ketotic and such a diet is hard on the liver long term. It is good for losing weight or working on specific health issues, but ultra-low carb is not an indefinite solution and many do better on 60-100 grams a day longer term, from quality sources. This is what the final phases of Atkins seek as well.

- Thus, for weight correction, short or long term, both philosophies agree that ketosis is superior for burning stored fat and correcting underlying issues like candida overgrowth or leaky gut syndrome.

- I am prone to food sensitivities and they clearly and dramatically impact how I look and feel. So given that the two diets are both sound and in agreement in their basic philosophy, blending the two with an emphasis on not exacerbating my specific food issues works very well. The induction foods list provided in Atkins New Diet Revolution, as well as the instructions following it, are in harmony with what I have discovered about myself. The PHD is primarily a wellness/maintenance diet, so something else (like hCG or ketogenic/low carb) is more suited to losing body fat.

- The hCG protocol, which I am dedicated to, requires correction of weight outside of the maintenance range, especially in phase three (the stabilization phase). Dietarily it has almost the same food composition as the first two phases of Atkins, with no sugar or starch. Seeing a theme yet? ;)

- Phase four of the hCG protocol is essentially lifetime maintenance. So if one can't or won't do another hCG round for more weight lost, another method can then be used. In my case, I maintain well on the aforementioned low carb/low inflammation diet. And since I am in a holding pattern regarding my hCG use until I find out if we conceived this cycle, it behooves me to find another method of maintaining or losing weight that is more compatible with pregnancy (the higher carbohydrate amount of the PHD or maintenance phases of Atkins are perfect, as sustained ketosis through pregnancy has questionable safety). And if I am not pregnant I still must find a way to stay within my window or get back in it during the remainder of P4, so adopting lower carb thresholds and using ketosis to get back inside that window goes hand in hand with the methods I am already using. The diets are remarkably similar, actually, with slight differences relating to their corrective goals (hCG is meant to heal metabolic damage causing obesity, Atkins circumvents the metabolic damage using ketosis to keep the malfunctions in insulin secretion as minimal as possible, and the PHD uses ketosis therapeutically to correct digestive and immune system dysfunction and then maintain the healed systems thereafter).

- For either losing weight without the hCG or maintaining my window if I slip outside of the range (and one correction day is not sufficient) as I did this past weekend, using low inflammation foods in specific quantities to induce ketosis is fabulous and working very well. It nourishes well, doesn't induce hunger as calorie restricting to correct would create, and the induction rules are both very clear and straightforward (like any correction day should be) and not at all in conflict with either my weight loss or maintenance ways of eating. I am of the opinion that all these methods support one another in research and practice, and the effect is synergistic when ketosis is combined with low inflammation. No insulin spikes to create hunger or store fat, and no systemic damage due to improper nutrition. Weight can drop without difficulty and from the correct fat stores, and the foods that cause insulin spikes or allergic responses are excluded from all three diets.. Cool, huh?

- Regarding intermittent fasting, the last piece of the puzzle I am working out: I am only using IF as a method of more easily controlling calories, since overeating will be a temptation regardless of the method of losing or maintaining I settle on. This allows me to arrange my meals in a way that a larger dinner or a party can be accounted for, or late night eating habits can be accommodated or circumvented without much difficulty. Stacking my calories into a smaller window is more mentally satisfying since the meals are larger, and physically it works very well to fuel me during my peak times of the day, by simply putting off the fast- breaking until later in the morning and not snacking. And given that I am already so close to ketosis on a given day, even when not actively seeking it, I am more satiated anyway and better able to handle the fasting times due to no hypoglycemic swings. The lack of sugar and starch in my diet saves me from ravenous hunger and the awful feeling of low blood sugar. Put simply, the type of meals I eat makes fasting much easier, and then when I do eat I am consuming nourishing, substantial food that gives me energy without deleterious effects. The fasting is just another tool in the toolbox giving me more options to live life without food battles.

- TTap is awesome exercise for strengthening and energy, I love it, and that journey would occur regardless of what diet I choose.

That about sums up what I've been blogging about, in increments, for the past few months. My research has been focused on finding out how my body interacts with sugar and starch, which Simeons noted promoted obesity and lack of stable weight. This connected very nicely to what Atkins discovered was the insulin hypothesis of weight gain, where endocrinology affects fat storage and health (and Simeons sought to heal that regulatory damage). The Jaminets have acknowledged these hypotheses and practices to correct in dealing with excess body weight, but ignore the effects of high circulating sugar on other health issues and how many diseases and conditions are connected to improper nutrition or imbalances in blood chemistry. Their work seeks to strike a lifelong balance based on these endocrinology principles, which is what I want for maintenance. Health and weight control.

Each researcher had a piece of the same puzzle and came at it from a slightly different way. I am finding that connecting the methods and adjusting specifics as needed, based on where I am in time and what I am doing, has been perfect. My ultimate conclusion is that carbohydrate control is crucial for me, along with meeting my body's nutritional needs and not causing more food sensitivities or exacerbating the ones I have. But I can't do hCG all the time, and the Jaminets have too high a carbohydrate intake for correction days or losing weight, and ketosis can't be done during pregnancy. All these diets were missing pieces I needed based on the odd place I find myself right now - needing to control weight but not being able to use my proven method (hCG protocol) to do it. So for short term control or correction, ketosis is optimal (and induction is a healthful, balanced way to induce ketosis quickly). And should I find myself pregnant, the PHD is optimal for pregnancy and breastfeeding weight control. It is health promoting in numerous ways without exacerbating the conditions that cause my obesity.

I am glad I have found something to navigate the limbo I am in for the next few weeks. I am (obviously) a list-maker and like having a course of action, and so having great plans for every contingency (weight correction, pregnancy/maintenance, another round, etc) makes me feel more at ease. But without citing piles of research I am pretty sure my blog has just gotten confusing over the past few weeks as I have enacted but not fully explained several courses of action. Rest assured, just as with beginning the hCG I am not off-my-rocker-nuts or being extreme - these various causes and effects of obesity and endocrine regulation are well documented and agree with one another far more than it appears they do, on their faces. But none are mainstream and the misinformation, especially regarding low-carb or hCG protocol, is ridiculously prevalent.

The one thing that cannot be argued with, however, is success. I have been a successful loser and maintainer for almost four years now, and my journey continues. Figuring out that calories in/calories out isn't a magic bullet for me, with my body damaged from extreme obesity and metabolically programmed to resist maintaining lowered weights, has been SO key. Healing that damage and letting my poor regulatory system (hypothalamus and adrenals, thyroid as well!) rest and rebalance, eliminating foods that interfere with normal and healthful regulation of said systems, and finding a way to balance my weight day to day so that I don't regain, has been SO important. Key. I have been and continue to be dedicated to maintaining the body I have worked so hard for, improving it more as I can. That requires all parts of the equation discussed above, and finding a way to make what I know work together for the easiest and most fool-proof maintenance possible has been my journey over the past few months. I think I'm there, especially with now discovering that induction/ketosis is a marvelous way to correct slightly bigger weight swings than a steak day can handle.

Vigilance, low carb/low inflammatory daily nourishment, and reshaping through TTap, have been crucial to my success. And I am confident in what I have chosen. That peace of mind might almost be as priceless as giving my husband whiplash with a pencil skirt and stilettos ;)

taryl | General | 9 May, 7:19pm | 21 comments

Yesterday's ketogenic correction diet went well, I felt great and had no hunger. I am partially keto adapted anyway, after P2/P3 eating it isn't a far move to adjust macronutrients a bit more. The correction day used to correct the abortive steak day and weekend evens netted me a 1.8 pound loss, which I'm very happy with. I am now at 171.6 after about 20 net carbs and 1700-ish calories. We'll see what continuing today nets me in terms of loss, I should see the water retention receding as well which will be only be a good thing in terms of daily weighing.

I ended up having to shop yesterday instead of work out in my usual block, so I only was able to get in two sets of hoedowns. I'm bummed, I hate being this busy and getting in less TTap, but I do what I can throughout the day regardless of whether I get a solid block with the DVD or not. In fact, I was mysteriously sore yesterday morning and couldn't figure out why - then it occurred to me! I had been practicing my TTap sitting position during church and it engage my core and back muscles so much I was actually sore as though I'd had a vigorous workout! Pretty cool, I'd say.

On a final tangent, I am still doing intermittent fasting even with this current correction cycle. My eating window has shifted a bit, it is about 10:00-6:00 now, sometimes an hour longer. I am not sure if it will stay that way, but given when I feed the kids and that it isn't convenient to eat between 10:00-noon I sometimes have a hard time making it all the way to noon without anything, and thus have to shift the entire thing several hours earlier. The problem with that is that it isn't ideal with my preferred evening schedule, and so somewhere I have to compromise. Oy!

I'll think up a better solution one of these days, but right now I am still playing around with the variables. Three meals in an eight-to-nine hour spread, with one being small and two being larger quantities of food, has worked pretty well. Now it is just landing it on the schedule conveniently!

Tonight is another one of those busy nights, we have a debate we need to go and record at 6:30. I'm feeding everyone, myself included, before we go, and it is being held in a rented room at the back of a coffee shop here in town. I'm making my own coffee drink before I go so I am not tempted to buy one of theirs and have problems with how it is made. Going without being hungry will make saying no to any possible junk much easier. Though I have to start dinner an hour earlier than I'd like, to have everyone fed in time to go, I should still have a few minutes to get my BWO+ in today. Fingers crossed!

taryl | General | 8 May, 5:40pm | 9 comments

So I was doing perfectly fine with a correction day yesterday, as expected after big restaurant meals on Saturday. Then we had a meeting in the evening and the lovely host, who is a friend of mine, turns out to be a food pusher of the finest pedigree. I refused pie THREE TIMES before another guest passed me a plate thinking I just didn't want 'that piece'. I decided it wasn't a battle I could gracefully win, especially given the nature of the meeting (strategizing for a political campaign, pusher was the woman I am trying to get elected ;) ) and gave in. Rhubarb pie. Then later in the evening I ended up nibbling on a piece of stollen/sweet bread.

Yeah.

Perfect correction day, foiled!

I also ovulated last night (it was quite an achy, crampy affair, as it often is these days. I can actually tell which ovary is releasing an egg based on which side is tender, which I was never aware of before watching my cycles and having children), which causes massive water retention for me.

Between that and the aforementioned pie-spoiling-my-steak-day, I was actually UP to 173.4. Such is life, but it is a tad annoying. I'm now in P4 and want to get it back into my window post haste, so I am adopting a fat fast/ketogenic fast/Atkins induction for at least the next week. High fat, moderate protein, low carb, and controlled to keep calories around 1800 or so. That will get the weight off and help with my appetite, too, given that it doesn't stimulate cravings. Now that I am essentially off wheat and sugar, having it back three days in a row has stunk! It definitely makes me feel icky and achy, in addition to creating noticeable and severe hunger for more of the same. Sugar and starch noticeably shreds my appetite control, and it is just solidifying my already-firm commitment to have my daily eating be on the lower end of the carbohydrate scale. I can do a little, but I do better with a whole foods, fat-dominant, nutrient-heavy way of eating. And since eating ad lib of foods that aren't nice to me has caused massive weight jumps that hormones just exacerbated, it is an excellent time to correct.

And tonight, I have no sweet little pie pushers foiling my progress with their insistence that I gobble their creations. That is very helpful!

In terms of exercise, today is supposed to be TWO. I don't see any reason for that to be put off, so unless something goes awry I will plan that this afternoon. Also, I love my new piano teacher. That is all.

taryl | General | 7 May, 5:21pm | 7 comments

Good morning! This one is a quickly check-in, as the troops are getting restless and I have lots to do today. Last night my husband helped me get two of three desserts ready for a pro-life/ pregnancy resource center fundraiser I am helping with tonight. They need to be plated and the remaining dessert baked before my kids eat them ;)

I will be SO glad when this week is over, we have been getting to bed late every night for one reason or another and it is making staying of schedule in the morning tough. TWO in one form or another is planned for this afternoon and I have one more day for piano rehabbing before my Saturday lesson, too. Nothing else of note (that I remember, anyway!) is going on, and I'm grateful for it.

I am willing to call myself officially weight-stable for this P3 - I have only needed one correction day and that was a direct result of too much food, too late at night, with lots of sodium (ie: my weight didn't bounce around so much as the contents of my guts did!). Other than that, my weight has been in the 167-169 range, with 168.6 (about half a pound above my LDW, likely due to exercise and solidly refeeding myself!) being the number I have seen pop up often. So too, today - 168.6 was my weigh and tomorrow is the last day of P3.

Since I have been weigh stable I am decided to cut P3 just slightly short so I can enjoy some dessert with my husband for our anniversary. While it is officially on Sunday, the kids will be with their grandparents tomorrow and so we have time to do a date. I always look forward to those and am prepared to skip the breadbasket but consider the brownie in the meal. While my WOE for life is low to moderate carb (because they don't make me feel great, as well as causing cravings and weight gain with insulin spikes) out of the house special occasions are the few times I am willing to indulge in a great, since the quantity is controlled and not taunting me from the fridge.

If my weight was bouncing around more I'd be concerned, but to be fairly stable even with ovulation right around the corner makes me confident enough that a slightly more sugary food event is no big deal. I have a steak on hand for correcting Sunday, if I go outside my weight window.

The plan for P4 is still fuzzy in terms of losing/maintaining. I am debating going ketogenic for a bit and shuffling off some weight that way, along with the IF I have been doing, but it is more fertility-promoting to maintain on moderate carbs than low. So I'm waffling. Either way I'm ready to move onto the next stage of my diet but I haven't decided the specifics.

TTap continues to go well and I *think* I am seeing differences in my shape. I am not using the tape measure right now but will do so in a few weeks and we'll see what I've netted in terms of inches lost. I am certainly gaining better posture and strength, and those are worth it all on their own!

taryl | General | 4 May, 5:06pm | 9 comments

My brain is drawing a blank, this is what I get for blogging mid-afternoon instead of in the morning, like usual!

I was back down to 168.6 today, almost a two pound loss from my steak day. All in all it went well and my busy day contributed to making the fast easy - I wasn't home for most of it!

TTap went well yesterday and today - I did the BWO+ instead of HTFS, because I didn't get to it until after the kids were asleep, at 9:00-ish at night. Despite being a workout I have done a ton, it was very, very intense and I focused a lot of squeezing my shoulders together and pulling down my lats. You wouldn't believe how much that increased the difficulty. Then today was a restorative, refreshing session of MORE Chair and Step Away. Easy but it got my heart rate up and a fair bit of muscle activation.

No news is good news, what can I say?

taryl | General | 4 May, 1:49am | 8 comments

170.4 today, I earned a correction day fair and square through overeating!

I've been doing okay staying at maintenance calories most days, though I stopped fasting with the convention and am indeed finding it harder to stay in my calorie budget, so as much as I love breakfast foods I do better eating them at noon than 10:00!

Peter is gone through midnight tonight and I've been managing things fine without him when it comes to the house and kids, but my ability to get piano and exercise in is MUCH less, and given that I am still doing the 60 Day Challenge on the TTap front and have to polish up a few pieces for my first lesson with my new piano teacher Saturday morning, I really need that extra time I haven't had! It's stressing me out.

In fact, Peter being gone hasn't caused the eating issues - being insanely busy has! I have had something every day this week, including a meeting this afternoon at IDEA, a homeschooling co-op I have joined, regarding completion of paperwork for both Callie and Lilah. They basically oversees the homeschooling minimally and allot some of the student funds the state would be getting for the girls back to us, to supplement our schooling budget. They're an excellent group and don't control the curriculum or turn us into a charter school, which is nice, but they offer lots of support and expertise. Nothing but positive reports have come from all the families we know who work with them, and so while I am generally a fan of completely independent homeschooling I don't mind submitting quarterly work samples and exchanging the occasional email with a teacher for 5k added to our schooling budget each year! That will allow us to do things like put the girls in swimming and piano, which are very important to us, as well as supplement some of my school supplies and curriculum consumables like workbooks.

Anyway. That meeting is today, yesterday was chiropractor and shopping, the weekend was its' own beast of busyness, and this upcoming one isn't better. Today and tomorrow I need to make three chocolate desserts for a fundraiser at our local Pregnancy Resource Center, Saturday is my piano lesson, likely our anniversary date, and garage/yard work, and Sunday looks clear (which means I'm just going to get something sprung on me last minute ;) ).

I haven't succumbed to loneliness eating, but snagging bites here and there as the evening drags on or in between events? Yup. And I knew I was doing it, too, this is no surprise. I started feeling full and kept eating, and it was calorie dense food. That I was only a little outside my window is pretty impressive, actually.

I'm bummed my exercise didn't happen yesterday - I was dressed for it and everything, but literally ran out of time while making dinner and then having to get myself and everyone ready for my appointment and shopping. In fact, we were late as is! Today is scheduled for Hit The Floor Softer and I have every intention of doing it during the nap block, but I acknowledge it might not get done. The IDEA meeting starts at 1:00 and I'm going to pick up my steak on the way home, but by the time everyone gets down to nap I will likely have to be making dinner. Still, it is on the books and in my plans until otherwise bumped. Peter won't be coming home until midnight tonight, so I will use the evening to get in the piano practice I slept through this morning. Each night has been very late in just trying to get stuff done, and I am dragging by morning. I really just need a clean day overall - with eating AND time. I'm resolving that will likely come at the beginning of next week with time but the eating I can fix now, and will. We'll see where a steak day lands me tomorrow morning.

taryl | General | 2 May, 5:37pm | 10 comments

Well I survived the convention, and while it was busy and crazy, things went reasonably well from a personal perspective and unfortunate but not insurmountable, from the political side of things. It was the worst run convention I have been to and had major logistical issues and execution, in addition to a bevy of obnoxious attendees. But despite some undesirable policy shifts and new chair/vice chair of the Party whom I did not want to elect, nothing earth shattering happened.

I did a correction day Thursday and it worked well. Unfortunately the menu was fixed and cruddy, so my options for eating properly P3 or even generally low-carb were non-existent. I had bread, sugar, and even some things like chips. None were particularly delicious but I'd have been ravenously hungry if I avoided the meals completely and packing from home wasn't an option. Amazingly, after the correction day Thursday (since I was just above my range Thursday morning), even with the prohibited foods I never did rise outside my range for the rest of the weekend.

I felt terrible though, my nose started running and my throat was mucousy and itchy, along with body aches. At first I thought it might be a head cold coming on, but as soon as I resumed my normal, low-inflammation diet, all symptoms cleared. Literally within a day I felt back to normal. Thus, the malaise was food intolerance related.

There was one big upside to the weekend. I ended up having a badge picture taken after almost three hours in line for registration (just the beginning of the logistical nightmare and failures in executing a decent convention) and despite wearing six inch heels that entire time, talking off all my lipstick and sweating off half my makeup, my badge picture turned out pretty darn good! If my new license looks half as good as this impromptu mugshot does, I'll be thrilled! And I also think it captures me pretty frankly, with no manipulated camera angles or flattering light.

delegate badge 4/28/12

And you know what? I still look normal and attractive. Not obese, or in any way remarkable. That just makes me feel good! Not looking like the elephant in the room or feeling self conscious at all, just blending in with the professional crowd or even being on the more eye catching end of it... Major, major non-scale victory. All from a cruddy ID badge.

*****

My weight this morning was 168.6, right in range and fine by me! I'm looking forward to resuming my normal TTap schedule and not dealing with screaming political delegates this week. My husband is out of town until Wednesday at midnight, but me and the kids will manage fine.

My new bras came in from Poland literally a half hour before I left for the convention. They actually fit very well, except they are about a size too small in the cups (my previous experience with this company was that the cups ran big for my type of breasts, so I downsized my calculations to compensate. I just downsized a bit too much!). I am not returning them, because another five pounds of weight gone should make the cups fit perfectly, but I may order another of the same band size and a cup size up in the meantime, especially if I conceive on this cycle (breast growth and all).

I'm very pleased with things right now, all in all. Not much to report.

*****

I wanted to make a note of it here on my blog, as a last bit to this random, piecemeal report. I was responding to someone on 3FC about body image issues and perspective shifts regarding weight, and it was a good summary of my thoughts and feelings on the matter that I wanted to preserve here. So often women link their weight with confidence, self worth, and beauty. This is a destructive and false premise I want to disprove, if at all possible. I definitely understand the disconnect between what we seen the mirror and our actual size, and our brains do play tricks on us. That mental work is THE most important thing in the universe of weight loss. I truly believe it is what separates the regainers from those who maintain some or all of their losses. So here is what I posted:

I so hear you on the body/mind disconnect. I think that is honestly how I got so heavy - for so long I knew I was fat, but I didn't realize what I looked like in reality; the picture of myself in my head influenced what I saw in the mirror and it wasn't until pictures of LOSING weight that I truly 'saw' how I looked before. It wasn't 'me' in the mirror, my brain substituted images and impressions in for reality.

And quite honestly, on the way down it has been the other way around. My brain is lagging, still seeing an obese woman or all the blubber and flaws, instead of reality (which is a heavy but perfectly normal and very attractive lady!). So much of why this weight loss journey has been a constant, three and a half year effort for me, is because my brain and habits needed the work, not my body. My body is a result of how I am thinking and what I am doing, not the item directly affected by my efforts. I can't change my body without surgery, but I can change where my brain is going and what I am doing and consuming, and my body will respond accordingly.

Does that make any sense?

There is definitely some confidence that can come with losing weight, but I find they are less associated than we might be lead to believe by either our own preconceptions or the portrayal of others. This has been a big revelation for me, being on a weight loss forum. At my heaviest weight I still thought I was capable, valuable, beautiful, and very desirable. And I was! My accomplishments and personality weren't diminished by obesity, and they haven't been enhanced by weight loss. I am still me.

To that end, confidence needs to be obtained by evaluating yourself critically on the qualities that really matter, not the genetic lottery or habits! 110 or 410 pounds, if you hate yourself, feel worthless, or so uncomfortable in your skin that you want to be anybody but you (rather than just improving some things about yourself and habits), the likelihood of regaining the weight or maintaining a bevy of emotional issues is very, very high. And similarly, I think successful weight loss is dictated very much by the adjustments in our perspectives on ourselves and habits. Losing weight is just that - a reshaping of your body through reduction of the contents and size of adipocytes. It improves your health and fitness in many cases, and can make one more conventionally sized, but that's really about the extent of it. Everything outside that very superficial and physical realm is something that has to be worked on by itself.

The good news with that? Because value and confidence are NOT directly linked to your body mass, you can make vast improvements in how you feel about yourself and how you interact with those around you, even when the scale isn't moving. That is actually a very, very good thing. We can grow and progress in so much even if our calories are high or we ate the cake. We can be beautiful, valuable, and VERY confident while rocking a size 24. It is not a moral failing to be fat, we aren't bad, weak, or lazy just by virtue of our size. And being a tiny waif doesn't make one confident, kind, smart, or even necessarily beautiful. These things are determined by who we are, what we do, and how we treat others. And you can obtain them at ANY size.

There are definite benefits to being smaller in size and healthier in habits, I have seen dozens and very much enjoyed losing weight and will continue to do so. But it isn't a magic bullet or a cure all. And we benefit greatly from keeping that in perspective and not ascribing more value to weight and reducing than it deserves. Similarly, my biggest victories in this journey have not been related to the scale, but in revelations on how I think about myself and look at the world.

This is a huge issue in the weight loss community, and one that is played out here all the time.

To use an analogy, think of weight loss as a tent. The poles and structure are your habits, and they dictate the strength and shape of the tent. The ground beneath you is who you are, and it is unchanged and independent of the habit changes - it isn't improved or diminished by the thing above it. And the shell of the tent is our physical appearance. It is what everyone sees and the final product, but it is nothing without the strength and firmament underneath, no matter what appearances may suggest.

And that's a wrap for today, folks! Doing my piano and TWO later, will update on that tomorrow.

taryl | General | 30 April, 8:33pm | 8 comments

I'm not crazy, it is official. Two correction days in a row and I'm only down to 169.2 today, but I measured my waist and hips and am down an inch and a half total between them. My paunch is visibly tighter and my back is smoother, too. So hormones and exercise are exerting force on the scale, because I am positive I take up less space today than I did a week ago, despite being two pounds heavier. I'm not submitting to the mind games - I am within my range by just shy of a pound and stronger and more trim every day. I can't count that as anything less than a victory.

Speaking of TTap muscle density, the Beginner Rehab was insanely hard. Like a universe more challenging than Instructional #2. It may well be too much for me at this point, actually. I am giving it one more go next week and if it is still exhaustingly challenging I will just use half the video one day and half another, because the cumulative fatigue was almost too much for me. I found myself getting really emotional and frustrated with it, too. Turns out a fair number of those moves can be very stimulative in pumping the groin, among other things, and can cause hormonal fluctuations. In fact, the Ladybugs workout (aimed specifically at menopausal women) cautions on that very point, that users may feel emotional or weepy during the workout because of how lymphatic it is and that it triggers hormonal responses.

One of the TTap trainers cautioned me to dial it back a bit so I don't get burned out or overworked and I think I may take her advice. I like having a full workout schedule but I don't benefit by doing too much and overtaxing my system, either. So I may swap out my Monday workout for the BWO instead, at the very least. I need to mull it more.

Even with muscle gains, water retention, hormones, and eating dinner at night (7-8:00) I am still within my window. When I frame it that way, it's actually darn impressive ;)

taryl | General | 24 April, 5:07pm | 7 comments

Just what it says, folks! My weight isn't quite outside my window but I'm doing a correction day anyway, as it is close enough. Yesterday was the same and I did a high fat day, but no dice, still the same number this morning. I am thinking it is my period and the tapping, because my jeans are actually fitting better! It is likely I am building muscle density with how much I'm working and since a correction day yesterday didn't budge me it is unlikely to be diet related (or I should have seen a drop).

Either way I am still sticking to 1850 calories most days (rare exceptions here and there), working out five days a week, and having no issues with my new, smaller clothes, but I would like to try to sink more toward the bottom of my window if I can. I am torn between a steak day or an egg day today, and am still thinking it over. I'll fast until at least 2:00 either way, as I intended regardless, and today is the TWO day on my exercise schedule. I may be brave and try the beginner rehab TWO, which is a level up from the instructional and loooong (combines the basic and total workouts together), but I'll do some form of TWO either way.

I made some almond flour cookies yesterday at the request of my kids. I ate a few, and they were good but not addictive like a wheat flour/sugar based treat would be. I don't have a desire to binge on them nor are they 'calling' to me, which is nice! I have to say I just don't miss bread and sweets very much, more ketogenic diets seem to favor me these days. I still can't go super low carb if I am TTC, as it doesn't promote fertility, but I am quite happy with my calories being 15% protein, 15% carbohydrates, and 70% dietary fat, all from whole foods. This gives me energy, mental clarity, more weight stability/losses, and a lot more satiety for less calories. At this point I will likely enter P4 and begin using my fasting in earnest with a combination of 1600-1800 calories more strictly to weight reduce, as it seems unlikely (given my history) that I will have another hCG round before pregnancy.

My goal during pregnancy would be to keep my insulin as low and stable as possible, as this makes for very healthy babies, and keeps pregnancy weight gain to a minimum. I did this with Seth's pregnancy and not only lost a bit of excess weight underneath the belly, but had a very healthy and vigorous baby as a result. Eating to satiety on nutritious foods is never a bad plan, and I will keep up my tapping throughout to build and maintain muscle tone. I don't mind trying to lose some more weight here in two weeks in P4, while we are trying to conceive, since another hCG round is unlikely. If we were planning on delaying a baby I'd just focus on P4 being stable, but now it's a matter of getting off whatever I can while I can!

So. Almond flour treats are good but not very alluring. Another correction day today, because I'm toeing the line on my range. Workout set, too, and fasting until after that workout unless I'm ready to eat my arm off (right now I'm not even hungry, and it's been twelve hours since I ate). Everything looks great but the scale.

And that's your update for Monday, April 23, 2012 ;)

taryl | General | 23 April, 5:03pm | 13 comments

Good morning all! I have some interesting observations to make, which should preface my weigh in. Yesterday I did Instructional #2 again and it was SO challenging, even though I barely got movement in some of the moves because I was so focused on keeping my core activated and in linear alignment. Despite less motion, it was a much bigger muscle burn. Form is ALL that matters in TTap, and that is where the reshaping happens. I have gotten noticeably stronger and my posture is improved, as is my awareness and activation of my muscles even in daily tasks. The TTap DVDs almost feel more difficult because I am really engaging and working as hard as I can at them, and the better and stronger one gets the more effective they become. I can totally see how this is a lifetime workout, and how you need less of it down the road, if every sessions is so much more effective. It was a hard workout and I am sore, but it was excellent even though I just about fell over by the end!

I had a terrible migraine that started around 4 am and continued into the morning, so I have taken about 800 mg of ibuprofen this morning to deal with it. Now it is just a dull thud rather than a stab, which I am grateful for, but still uncomfortable. I am not breaking my fast until about 2:00 and I will be doing light eating, as Peter and I have a date night tonight and I am saving calories for the restaurant, but thus far I am NOT hungry at all (it is 11:15 am) and seem to have gotten over the most ravenous part of P3 in tact. The medicine and water to take it didn't break my fast, but it may have skewed the scale.

Yesterday I began my period, it looks like my cycles have stretched out from 28 days to 30, with slightly later ovulation than previously. It has been a few months of this trend and so I think it is about right. I think the period may have triggered the headache, as I can't identify anything else other than barometric pressure that could have been the cause.

Upon waking up the second time, for the second dose of ibuprofen, I noticed that my stomach and waist is noticeably more flat in these new boyshort underwear than it was a week ago, when I bought them. I did a mirror analysis and in fact my whole torso is less bumpy and fleshy. I can feel the muscles under the flab, but this is the first time I've really noticed them changing my shape. Smoother torso, tighter look.

So all these things are factors, positive and negative for today. I'm likely retaining water, from hormones and strenuous workouts. I already had some to drink today, thank to drilling brain pain, and I look visibly more trim by all clothing and visual indictors.

My weight today? Bounced up half a pound to 169.0. Still a pound below my correction window, but higher than yesterday. I'm fine with that, given that I don't actually think I have gained any flab from overeating (my eating has been on plan and fine) and I am stronger and more trim. I honestly have no clue if the scale is high because of my TOM (likely, I've spoken extensively on my pattern of gaining a pound or three in the week of my period before subsiding again), water consumption this morning, muscle repair, who knows. But unlike the mysteries of the scale, the fit my of new clothes and appearance of my stomach is NO mystery. It is consistent, hard work with TTap paying off. I'm not dropping an ounce on the scale, but am visibly smaller. And I'm wearing mediums and size twelves while still obese by BMI classifications, and when, as a teen at this same weight, I was a size or two larger.

I can't say the slight scale gain doesn't bother me - I'm aware of it, sure - but I'm not upset or even confused, I'm not despairing about it. There are a dozen good reasons I am heavier today than earlier in the week, and in light of looking better, the number matters a heck of a lot less. In the end, nobody knows my weight by me - but how I look is what the world sees, and I'm so proud of all the hard work showing! I feel great and look trim, how could I complain about that for a little period bloat?

taryl | General | 21 April, 7:31pm | 7 comments

Not much to say today, really. Maintenance is fairly boring to read, after all. I was 168.4 today, which is right within my range and excellent again, hanging right out in the middle of it. I had chile verde from a local Mexican restaurant for dinner while my family had pizza and it was delicious!

I actually scarfed the toppings off one slice of it, just to quell a craving and see if it tasted as good as it smelled. And you know what? It was rubbery and greasy and awful! The crust is what makes those pizzas good, and even then they aren't nearly so good in my mouth as my head says they are. I have quelled pretty much any desire for a bite in the near future, because it was gross and unsatisfying. Certainly not worth the calories. The pork and tomatillo cup was awesome, the chicken garlic pizza toppings, kind of ick.

I actually made my eating window bigger yesterday, instead of smaller. I ended up having a very hungry day and breaking fast at noon rather than 2-3 pm. The shorter the window the better I like it, I am discovering, but I also wasn't going to ignore genuine hunger cues! I ended up having a hardboiled egg, nuts, and a steak Caesar salad, which tided me over for dinner. Today I'll be aiming for the same - mid-afternoon for breaking the fast.

The workout yesterday was a nice break, MORE Chair. I really focused on activating my lats and lifting my ribs and I could definitely feel the burn throughout my core from the work on Wednesday! Today's workout is the Total Workout again, and I will be doing the instructional #2 for it. Then next week I will try the beginner rehab level of it (one level up) for the first time. It combines the basic workout as a warmup and then commences the total workout, so it is one of the longest TTap routines at about an hour in length. Very rigorous, but I think I am up for it after my rest days on the weekends. Hopefully today's will go ever smoother as I have been gaining strength and neuro-kinetic connections.

Finally, on the piano front, I hav temporarily shelved learning new bible songs for the kids to focus back on rehabbing my previously-learned classical pieces. If I have extra practice time in the afternoons or evenings I will pick the kids stuff back up, but since my repertoire of classical stuff are commonly played pieces they are going to be used to give Shirley, the new piano teacher I am hiring, an idea of where I am starting out and what my weaknesses are. I have about two weeks to get stuff back into shape and perhaps finish the g minor minuet I began and shelved in favor of scale work about six months ago. My first lesson with her is on May 5th and will commence with hour lessons weekly, each Saturday morning. Peter will watch the kids upstairs while I'm playing downstairs and it should work out well.

I think that is about the size of things here! No weight issues, good progress and calorie control with intermittent fasting on my P3 diet, finally some direction on the piano front, TTap still hurts but in a good way. Can't complain ;)

taryl | General | 20 April, 4:33pm | 7 comments

Good morning! Today found me at 168.2, which is excellent, as that is the lowest weight I have been since the first day of P3 and only a fifth of a pound above my last dose weight. So I am firmly in my maintenance window.

The fasting is going excellently and I'm thinking of pushing it to only eating after my workout (4-6 hour eating window, instead of 8 hour window) because I have been feeling so good on the fasting side of it. Yes, I do get some hunger pangs, especially as I approach lunchtime, but they tend to go away or not be particularly severe, which is nice. I cannot tell you how much easier sticking to 1800 calories a day is when I'm not trying to fastidiously divvy them up throughout my schedule, but lump them together in more substantive meals. I don't know if I can maintain intermittent fasting through something like pregnancy or even nursing, but for now I love it! I might have to add more calories in when I drift toward the bottom edge of my window (166), since I am working out as well, but we'll see.

Speaking of working out, I'd forgotten how hard Hit the Floor Softer is. But I completed it and felt pretty good, except that my abs, butt, and thighs are massively sore. I was even more surprised to see 168.2 on the scale, given that I am pretty sure I am retaining water right now in all these sore muscles!

Today is a light day, just the MORE Chair exercises and MORE Step Routine if I feel like adding in another workout. It's good - very energizing and gentle for recovery, while still building strength.

On a closing note, I heard back from my friend with the nursing issues I was helping with on Tuesday night - they are doing MUCH better, with more frequent feedings and almost no pain (she's still healing from the damage initially caused by the latch problems). Her son was nursing so much she didn't have time to pump any milk, which I consider a big success. All's well that ends well, and I think we got over the biggest nursing hurdle for her and this will be the beginning of a long and enjoyable relationship for both mom and baby. That makes my sleep deprivation feel a lot more fruitful ;)

taryl | General | 19 April, 4:46pm | 7 comments

Scale was at 169.0 this morning and I am THRILLED. You want to know why?

Let me give you a rundown of yesterday.

It included not one, but TWO restaurant meals, one with daddy after morning bible study at church (planned) and one at a local pizza parlor at 7:00 in the evening (unplanned). In addition to go, go, go as I was expecting in the morning, I spent the afternoon once we got home frantically catching up on chores my busy day on Monday had caused me to fall behind on. Then my husband got an email from a friend and political candidate, last minute, that she wanted us to videotape her and the other candidates for this particular office (state house) during their speeches at the aforementioned pizza parlor. It was going to run two hours past Seth's bedtime, but otherwise we weren't too worried. So I went from busy with chores to busy making myself P3-compatible salad dressing to take with, and then getting myself ready while my husband did the same with the kids. The afternoon was also spent emailing back and forth with a wonderful Skype piano teacher I am planning on taking lessons with soon, trying to get things set up and policies understood, etc etc. No exercise occurred for obvious reasons.

That event went well, though my calories for the day were already high from the restaurant meal earlier and dinner didn't help. All kids stayed quiet enough that they didn't disturb anyone during the speeches, which is awesome for that time of night. At this point it was 9:00 and we were rushing around to get everyone in bed and not collapse, ourselves.

When I got home, however, there was a message on my answering machine from a friend with a week old baby. I wasn't sure what was going on, but given that she had called at night (however sweetly) I obviously didn't want to let it sit overnight, in case she needed help with something or had to go off with the newborn and needed a babysitter for her older daughter. So I left a message with her and she got back to me with nursing problems and needing assistance. At this point I was tired and stressed and indulged in some pumpkin with cream to give me some energy and likely as a little stress eating, too. Controlled and logged, but by that time in the night I was just getting through!

I drove over at 10:00 last night to show her some tips and troubleshoot his latch and position. That went very well and we were able to figure out two nursing positions she liked that made latching him properly much easier and hopefully will allow her to heal without further tissue damage. For being so cute and little, those babies are vicious sometimes!

By the time I got back from her place it was 11:30, and mind you I only got about four hours of sleep the night before, waking early to complete my bible study and having gotten to bed late the night before. But waiting for me in the kitchen was bread I was letting complete its' rise from being mixed earlier in the day and shelved for our impromptu recording session for dinner. I had fully risen bread waiting to be baked, at almost midnight. So on the oven went while I took a quick shower, then I set the timer and baked the bread, before collapsing into bed around 1:00.

And that was my crazy day, after an only slightly-less crazy day on Monday.

Coming up on my period again, with cruddy sleep, restaurant eating that is hard to calculate and tough to order for P3, running hither and yon the entire day, and ending the night with semi-emergency new mommy situations AND baking? That I was still within my window by a pound is a sheer miracle! When I was expecting to do a correction day and ended up at 169.0 (range is 166-170) it's like a golden egg under my pillow in the morning - lovely and completely unexpected ;)

Fasting has been going well and did help me go less over my calories than otherwise would have. I made it to noon before that lunch date with my husband broke it. More and more, I'm actually thinking 2:00-9:00 or so might work better for me. I like pushing that morning fast as long as possible and it has been comfortable while helping me control my calories.

Though yesterday's exercise didn't happen I am continuing on with my schedule today. Hit the Floor Softer is my Wednesday selection and I am hoping it is easier than it was last time! My focus is more on my core and keeping it curled, regardless of what my legs are doing (or not doing, as the case may be!). The strength will come, but the core tuck is what creates inch loss and protects my spine, which is most crucial.

I have gone over on calories twice in four days and it has netted me small gains within my range. However I have no want or need to make a habit of that, so I'm shooting for 1800-ish calories daily right now to draw my weight back down a little. It's all a part of management - dealing with the stress, finding a sweet spot, and rolling with the punches of some crazy days!

taryl | General | 18 April, 5:05pm | 7 comments

Fancy acronyms, but necessary to keeping my logs straight amidst multiple rounds. Today is day two of this P3 and I'm beginning my experiment on using intermittent fasting to control my calories in maintaining. My goal is to fast for 16-18 hours a day with a short 6-8 hour feeding period, depending on how I feel that particular day. For me, it is much easier to fast at night and in the morning and break the fast later, so I am shooting for my first meal between 12-2:00 pm today, and wll eat until about an hour before bed. My craving times are much worse in the evening, so why fight it and keep struggling not to go over my calories when there is no good reason I can't just shift all my meals later to accommodate my natural tendencies? This is called finding solutions (however wacky they may sound) that work for one's particular proclivities.

My eating will be P3 compliant - meaning no sugar or starch - and otherwise in the vein of my chosen maintenance plan, The Perfect Health Diet. I go back and forth on whether my diet should be low or moderate carb in the end, but I think moderate carb is better for my health and adherence, long term, than a more restrictive approach. That is, only if the moderate carb content doesn't kick up cravings or overeating. That hypothesis remains to be tested, though I had some success with it last round.

Meal composition will be in the range of a light to moderate brunch/lunch to break the fast, then my afternoon workout, a little post-workout snack, and a big dinner to top it off for the day. I'm aiming to have my calories in the 1600-1800 range each day to begin with, which is actually a deficit for me and will net me losses, longer term. If I am hungrier I have an extra 400-ish calorie cushion I can employ on those occasions.

Intermittent fasting can be used with many ways of eating, it is quite flexible and adaptable. More information can be had from this book: Eat Stop Eat

For morning drinks, I do love my coffee, but it is water or tea until I want to break my fast. I can live with that, my tea cupboard is marvelous!

*******

As for me today, I weighed in at 168.8, which isn't bad at ALL! My range for this maintenance round is 166-170, and I am supposed to correct on either side of those weights.

Yesterday I decided I needed to deal with my intense head cravings and deprivation mindset, so I allowed myself a day of truly ad libitum feeding - I ate everything I wanted that was within the bounds of P3, to my satisfaction. And I even overate a bit, until that insistent part of my brain that was frantic from P2 quieted and I felt like I was in a better spot. Though this second round of losing was a good fourteen days shorter than my previous round, it felt much too long in my head for some reason. I had a harder time coping and staying on plan was more of a struggle, though one I am proud I triumphed over for the most part. Physically I did very well, but mentally I probably should have transitioned when the urge first hit me, last weekend, as these extra days are what gave me that psychologically wrung-out feeling I rarely get while losing weight. It is a mentally and emotionally exhausting process, as much as physically, and I needed a break.

Knowing I felt like that I am glad I got it out of my system in one day of about 3100 calories in refeeding. Now I feel refreshed and controlled for moving forward, whereas if I had tried to limit myself to a calorie budget yesterday that just would have perpetuated that mental switch of 'dieting' in my head and likely not alleviated the mental distress I've been battling regarding this. A day of eating healthy, satisfying foods primarily composed of protein and fat did my body and mind much good, and now I am energized for the journey ahead with my strength training and maintaining.

I'm also still waffling back and forth on losing more weight before a baby. I SO want to get in one more round and try to get firmly in the healthier weight ranges (167 is the cutoff for obesity at my height, I want to live below that forevermore, at least outside of pregnancy), and I will discuss it with my husband more as my next ovulation draws near. If I did a round it will be a SHORT round, the minimum amount of doses (twenty effective or twenty three days on hCG total) or just a little more, depending on how I feel. Those longer rounds aren't worth the losses they net if they become a mental battle, as it did for me. If one still feels good and happy with the process there is no reason to cut the round to the minimum and an extra few weeks on hCG can be undertaken with no ill effect, but for me and my body, we do best with a little less and a few more rounds completed in the end, I think!

It impresses me that I overate by a good thousand calories over my maintenance needs on foods my body hadn't had in a month and some, and the scale didn't bounce much at all! I was actually expecting to need a correction day today and am pleasantly surprised. I am hoping that bodes well for the rest of my stabilization and that I lock in at this range while continuing my strength training.

Relating to that - today I am undertaking the previously brutal Total Workout and giving it another go. I have more fuel now, and I really want to improve my ability to complete that workout (and maybe even enjoy the difficulty of it) by the end of this TTap 60 Day Challenge. As I have slipped working out into my afternoon that gives me extra incentive not to have a huge meal to break my fast, it is hard to workout on a really full stomach, after all, but I work up quite a hunger afterward that it will be nice to have ample calories available to assuage.

This is just all part of the tweaking process of maintenance and changing needs and goals. My goals are weight loss, stabilization, and strength. I completed the losses for now, and the stabilization is my current tweak. The strength is my ultimate goal and what I am pursuing with vigor. Having more goals relating to general health and life, and less relating to the scale, is major progress. I have been losing weight for three years now, and transitioning to a lifestyle/maintenance/longer term mindset involves not being so psychologically dependent on seeing the scale drop, but using other markers for motivation and self improvement. TTap does that for me, and so much more. Seperate goals like my home manage skills, piano practice, more disciplined schedules and the like are also what fill my days right now. Seeking to really spend time on the important things and not skew my priorities away from study of God's Word, care of my family, and care of my own health - that has been and continues to be a balancing act. I'm up for the challenge, though!

taryl | General | 16 April, 5:13pm | 6 comments

This morning was my first day of P3, and I am down to 167.0, a pound below LDW. Though I had some rough spots during this P2, overall it was very successful with 20.4 pounds down in 30 days and many inches lost. Now I am in P3 for three weeks and P4 for another 4-5 weeks (so my body can recover and not hit immunity with another hCG round) minimum, until I can lose again. If I get pregnant in that span, obviously round three will be put off until I am done breastfeeding.

I started this round in a tight 16 in some things (pants, primarily) and an XL/L in tops, and twenty pounds netted me new clothes. We were on quite a budget so I was shopping the thrift store for jeans and coats and the clearance racks at Old Navy and Kohls for tops/church clothes. I came away from the Salvation Army with three excellent pairs of pants - two pairs of jeans and some corduroys. The jeans were a size 12 in Levi 515's that fit PERFECTLY and a pair of Carrhardt jeans in 14's. They were both in excellent shape and bootcut, so perfect for my figure, and both pairs fit shockingly well. They are thick, good quality denim too, so likely to last if I need to maintain at this size for a bit. The cords were brand new (tag still on) St. John's Bay in misses 12, so I'd say I'm officially out of plus sized clothes for all intents and purposes. It depends wildly on the cut of the jeans (some 14's were incredibly tight and some 12's a little loose) but I'd say I firmly lost two sizes in pants from last round.

As for the tops I was a medium in stretchy tops because I like less ease in them than more, and I was a large or a size 14 in those that didn't stretch or had buttons. Unsurprising, as I am generously busty ;). I grabbed one top from the Salvation Army in a 14 and a jacket that is a bit too small in a medium (black corduroy, very cute) to fit into down the road. My current black jacket is on the big side, being an extra large, but this was too good to pass up even though it doesn't fit buttoned up right now.

Also at Old Navy I purchased a denim skirt and three swishy knee length fabric skirts for church. The denim was a size 12 and the fabric ones are mediums and one large, because that was the only one available in that pattern on the clearance rack and it has ties to tighten, if need be ;)

My sports bras just came and one fit, while one was too small in the band. Thus is appears in Panache I am a 32GG (US size 32J) in sports bras and in the Freya one that didn't fit, I am a 34G (US 34I), as it seems to run a little tight in the band. This was excellent news since I was trying to calculate my new size across a range of bras with different systems and fits, and makes me think my new Ewa Michalaks might be slightly snug in the band but perfect in the cup (exactly what I want!). I got permission from my husband to exchange the Freya Active for the correct size and will have four bras to go with the new clothes. I grabbed three pairs of underwear on sale at Kohls and was pretty firmly a 7/large underwear, since I don't want them giving me any rolls or creasing, and that was also excellent news.

Overall I think this proves I am a lot smaller, even if my measurements aren't hugely different than last round. It appears I was on the cusp of needing new clothes then and this skipped me down two sizes.

The TTap challenge is also going well. Friday and Saturday ended up being my break days this week and I'm going to try the MORE Total Workout modifications this afternoon and see how I feel. It is more intensive than the basic plus but much less rigorous than the normal TWO, so a good choice for today.

Last, can I just state, on the record, how absolutely delicious FOOD is, again? Eggs, steak, brussel sprout salad, roast turkey leg, raspberries, strawberries with cream, and COFFEE. Real coffee, with cream and a little cocoa powder. I have been in heaven all day and feeling very satisfied. Dinner will be lighter since lunch and breakfast were big (I was doing nursery at church and thought it might be better to have more fuel than less) and then tomorrow I will experiment with pushing my food into the afternoon and doing intermittent fasting on P3. Two meals and maybe a small post-workout snack, from noon to 8:00 pm, and then fast through sixteen hours overnight and into the morning. If I find myself getting shaky or hungry I may adjust, but it is a great way to control calories without being deprived of the satisfaction of a decent sized meal, and that is what I am looking for in P3 and beyond.

Off to hang out with my husband and do my workout. Adios!

******

Exercise update:

So it turns out I was slightly mistaken on the MORE routine - it is just the Basic Plus Workout with modifications and breakdowns, not the full Total Workout. I wasn't really wanting to do a forty five minute version of a fifteen minute workout I don't struggle with, so halfway through I switched to the MORE Broom workout for the first time. It's an interesting bird - using a household broom for a little leverage on TTap moves, essentially, and a short seven minute format. She has a longer broom DVD in the collection I may well acquire down the road, as I liked how the broom worked my back much more than the other workouts. All told I did about twenty minutes of light TTap today and enjoyed it. Tomorrow I'm on my aforementioned schedule of workouts and am due for the TWO in the form of Instructional #2. Wish me luck and only minor amounts of discomfort ;)

taryl | General | 15 April, 11:00pm | 7 comments

Unless I am reading the mixing bottle amount incorrectly, today is my last hCG dose. I ended on a nice, round number - 168.0 - which is three pounds short of my goal but still very respectable! My total losses for 28 days is 20.4 pounds, which is also excellent. I'm happy to end the round, but actually happy to end it here and not feeling particularly dissatisfied. Continuing on the extra four doses was worth four pounds of weight loss and I am firmly in the 160's - if (without pregnancy, anyway) my weight bounces up above 170.0 it is correction day time.

Unlike my last round, I tapped throughout this one and any muscular gains/water retention from working out have become part of my normal weight pattern and shouldn't bounce me out of my range. In fact, I am quite sore this morning from doing my new Hit The Floor Softer TTap DVD, which was insane, I might add. So I may even have some swelling in my last dose weight that might fluctuate a bit over the 72 hour transition period. I'm not sweating it either way. My final measurements should be about the same as they were when I took them on Monday, pictures were posted yesterday and added to my album on the sidebar, and my closet is cleared and ready for new duds. Shopping will be one of the many activities tomorrow!

And about that new workout - it looks so easy, but is SO hard! And this was the most basic of the TTap floor routines, yet I couldn't even get my leg to move for some of the exercises. My brain was sending the signal, but the foot stayed glued to the floor. I hadn't thought my abdominals were weak, but boy was I proven wrong! One of my goals before my birthday is to master HTFS, or at least complete it with decent form and without dying!

It is one of the longer routines, at 30 minutes, so I will be switching that in one day a week for my TWO spot. My tentative goal for a workout schedule is:

Mondays: Total Workout, some version of it

Tuesdays: Basic Workout Plus, some version of it

Wednesdays: Hit the Floor Softer

Thursdays: MORE Chair or Broom (these are light workouts)

Fridays: Total Workout, some version of it

Weekends will be rest days, or I will swap in one of the weekday workouts if I have to miss or take some sort of break. This is the schedule I am striving for, but I may make it lighter if I am showing adrenal fatigue or need more rest days. I have done enough TTap now that I think I can maintain this without turning into a puddle of ooze on the floor. All of these are also appropriate for pregnancy workouts, so long as I don't do the organs-in-place moves. As I get further along whenever the happy event occurs, the floor exercises might make breathing hard, but that seems to depend on the mommy and not so much the exercises, themselves. Either way I don't have to discontinue my workout if we have another baby, nor does it cease if I do a third weight loss round. So it is a win/win schedule of activities, I think, and a habit well worth cementing since it won't need to be uprooted at the end of the 60 Day Challenge.

*****

Exercise afternoon addendum:

I did MORE Chair this afternoon and it was such a lovely little ten minute workout. I felt energized and with a definite notice of the muscles in my core and limbs, but wasn't out of breath or in pain, nor was I wiped out like the full workouts. It was just the right balance of muscle movement and energy stoking without making me sweaty and is suitable for a mid-morning desk job break, or any time you might need some juice. Just excellent.

In fact, I was SO energized and enjoyed it so much, I threw in another ten minute workout from the MORE DVD suite called Step Away. Also excellent and light. It takes your basic walking workout and adds TTap muscle activation and moves, making each step SO much more cardio-kinetic. I have done lots of walking workouts and liked them (I did Leslie Sansone for a year or so, until the leg lifts starting bugging me in my pregnancy with Seth) but this would have made them SO much more effective for strengthening my body. And because so many muscles are activated it is a cardio workout without any speed or jumping. Just incredibly awesome. If you need gentle/rest day workouts or a lighter routine that still gets results I am sold - Basic Workout Plus a few days a week and the MORE workouts, whichever one you want, on the other days, and you'd be in incredible shape with inches lost and very little time and effort. The time spent in the workouts is intense, but it is SO brief and gentle anyone could do it.

Wow. Of all the workouts I've ever done, these are both the best and easiest for what they give you. I can't recommend them highly enough. Get thee a MORE TTap DVD suite and enjoy the benefits, I know I am! (and this is in the middle of P2 calorie deficits, no less!)

taryl | General | 12 April, 4:51pm | 9 comments

I was so busy with the TTap challenge uploads and clearing out my closet of stuff that didn't fit, I lost time and couldn't get pictures uploaded. I will try to rectify that now.

First with the closet clearing - I had to do an immense amount of it, as most of my clothes are simply too big now, with the exception of one pair on jeans that fits, one nicer jacket, a thermal top, a few church cardigan shells, and a dress or two. Of my day to day wear, it either all fits with lots of room, is falling off, or fits but just isn't cut well for my body. I am literally down to less than ten items and they don't go together!

I am also at the complete end of closet shopping my old clothes for ones to rotate in my wardrobe. When I hit the salvation army last time for some clothes to tide me over I got two tops that were too small but I was using as a litmus for 'arriving' at weights I wanted to be. One was a misses large that ran a bit small but was cute and trim, and the other was a boutique (juniors, essentially) medium that was a 'no matter what my brain is saying, if this top fits my figure is well within acceptable limits'.

The smaller top was still too small by about two inches across the bust, and even the arms were tight (much less so than the last time I tried it on) but the misses large top actually fit! When I purchased it the entire thing, stretch and all, was about three inches from closing. Yesterday it was fitting except for the bust gaping, which always happens with me (a shirt my literally be falling off everywhere else for the buttons around my chest to not gap when I move) and so I altered it and fixed the problem. And it fit. A little snug, perhaps, it needs another inch off my hips to fit without needing some tugging into place, but I could hardly believe it. In fact, this progress-goal top was about the only one I own that actually fit and wasn't huge. I could scarcely believe it. So I put it on for some of these weight progress pictures, as I think it shows where my losses and remaining trouble spots are far better than my too-big other tops.

The other shots I took with the pink shirt from my last progress pictures, as it still fit though is getting roomy. Excuse the wrinkles, it wasn't well folded.

Pretty good, I'd say! Especially contrasted with ten pounds ago, the difference is small but I see it in my face, at least. Here's 179 for comparison:

It's worth noting I was wearing a shapewear camisole under that top at 179, to make it lay flat. In the 169.4 pictures I am wearing nothing but a too-roomy bra. I can't believe the fit difference in a few pounds for the same item of clothing!

Shopping is a must as soon as I can, for the time being I am down to five or six tops and a handful of bottoms to tide me over. I also buckled down and remeasured myself for ordering new bras and it took forEVER.

My basic US size is a 32J right now.

My size for a sports bra was a 32GG or G, I had to order both and will see which cup fits better.

My size for my favorite polish bra company, Ewa Michalak, appears to be a 36F.

WE NEED SOME STANDARDIZATION, PEOPLE! Trying to zero in on the right sizes in different lines and cuts is definitely an art, and I have experience with it. I can't imagine how a newbie to the world of properly sized bras might feel! If I only end up having to return and exchange one of the bras ordered I will consider that a victory. And who would have thought finding smaller bras would be harder than bigger? There are a lot more 36J's, especially in sports bras, than 32J's. And yet my cup size isn't ridiculously massive or anything, and many gals have small bands and big cups. This is a really under addressed market and that needs help. For my part, the sports bras were the hardest to find, and thankfully I just need to find the right Ewa Michalak size for my newly reduce chest and ribs, and then I'm in business.

As for pants and shirts, it appears I may have mostly skipped size 16, which fit but was slightly snug at the beginning of this round and now is way too lose, and I may have also skipped a fair number of size 14's, too. I appear to be a 12-14 in most things, if I am guesstimating correctly, and will confirm that when I go clothing shopping. My thoughts are to scour the Salvation Army first, then hit Burlington Coat Factory and Kohls for some deals, and if need be check in at Old Navy or JCP to fill in wardrobe gaps. Since I am still in progress, either because I will be doing another round in two months or will be getting into maternity gear, I am trying to keep my clothing selections as flattering but frugal as possible.

As a final salvo, I have to post two face shots. One is from 200-210, I think, from right after Seth was born, when I was trying to find a foundation match for my skin. I was feeling pretty good about myself, since I was still down at least 40 pounds from my high weight. Consider that next to a face shot taken yesterday for a new avatar.

I could have stopped there, at 210, but I am glad I didn't. I wonder what another 40-50 pounds down in that series might look like. You'd better believe I fully intend to find out!

As for my weight today, down another half pound to 169.0.

***********

Addendum: Proof my husband is awesome, here is one of the pictures for the TTap challenge, complete with procured newspaper. They requires tight workout wear and I complied, those bike shorts are a relic from my figure skating days. They fit again, though I am not 14 and haven't touched the ice in almost as long.

I wont submit to you the rest of the challenge pictures yet, but I am SO excited to see what trouble spots of mine I can obliterate through hard work with the TTap. Two months to give it my all, I'm up for the challenge!

taryl | General | 11 April, 4:56pm | 9 comments

I was down 1.2 pounds to 169.4, which made me quite happy. It's nice to see the ovulation bloat is taken care of, that makes this last sprint more mentally tolerable.

Today is April 10th, which means I get to grab a paper, take measurements and pictures, and enter the TTap 60 Day Challenge. Since I am still somewhat regrettably in P2 I will have to start out on the slow side until me calories are upped, but I am thrilled to focus on strength training and see where I end up with this.

And since I am finally in the 160's (I think I need some confetti and champagne!) I can take more pictures to post here. Obviously more updates will be coming later in the day, it's too early to take a non-scary photo of myself ;)

taryl | General | 10 April, 4:36pm | 8 comments

I'm having a bit of a crisis, which I'll have to blog about later, since it is school time. Long story short, I hit 170.6 today, which is great news on the scale, the rest need a brain dump.

******

Commencing dump!

I hung on this weekend, by the skin of my teeth, and didn't cheat. With all that excellent food and cake, I managed to not scarf any, which was amazing. On Sunday evening, after hours and hours of this, I succumbed and ate a hardboiled egg and sliver of roast sweet potato, to sate my cravings and keep me from caving and shoving cake and ham in my mouth. I honestly don't consider this is a cheat, as it was a strategy to avoid one! Slightly more starch (literally a bite of the tuber) and extra (protocol allowed) protein is essentially what Simeons recommended for clients who had to go to a business dinner or other event where social embarassment would follow if one didn't eat the provided food, he suggested they pick daintily at protocol foods and do as little damage as possible. I took him at his word and did just that.

Seeing as how my weight was down this morning and I stayed away from what I simply couldn't eat on hCG (the sweet potato isn't protocol, but it's more nutritionally neutral than the allowed grissini and the best selection I could make for a bite) the entire weekend was a success. But it left me mentally exhausted with the willpower I was having to exert, and continuing P2 seemed like such a burden on my mind, even though I have (max) five days of hCG left and then 72 hours on the end of whatever is the last injection. Losing weight this morning almost made things harder, because I was so ready to shelve this round and call Sunday my last dose, so Wednesday morning I could eat P3 and focus on my strength training and trimming that way.

But I didn't stay the same again. I had a solid loss, the first one in over a week (the apple day just produced a bounce and hardly counted). That was trying in and of itself, and I found myself agonizing over whether to inject this morning or just be done with this frustrating, slow round. Those stalls are the worst, and the stall plus a terribly straining time to be in P2 (birthdays and holidays without even a salad or sliced meat, let alone a taste of cake). So I talked with my husband about it and we did a cost benefit analysis of the situation to see what made more sense.

Initially he thought I should just finish the round, even if it meant another weekend on P2. But once I explained to him that transitioning off earlier and staying on protocol was far preferable to more days with a cheat (as the hCG storage mechanism works both ways, it both takes off fat and puts it on at an alarming rate, hence the need for the very strict VLCD). We discussed the greater issue that had been on our minds, which was another baby. This all ties in together, since I'd be a little less hesitant to just call this a slow, cruddy round if I did another two or even three after it.

Peter did something quite rare, for us, and expressed that he was thinking it was time for another baby. He's ready and the waiting isn't something he wants to do, especially given that the BEST case scenario for my rounds is that I end at 135-145 (which may be on the high side for me, tough to tell) and can do it in two stellar rounds, which would put our TTC in the late fall. Seth would be almost three when the next baby was born, assuming I conceived quickly, and that is a much bigger age gap that we want among our kids. We're already creeping along the high side of our preferred range, truth be told. I have been feeling very ready for another baby over the past two or three months and it turns out my husband is feeling the same, which complicates the hCG timing.

I can't do more rounds of hCG until I am not nursing, so if I don't get all the weight off now I have to wait about two years to do more, unless I lose by another method (which isn't preferred, for a number of reasons. Been there, done that, can do it again but don't want to). So the juggle becomes, if we have another child in between hCG rounds am I content at 170 plus pregnancy weight as my last dose, and just try to build strength or lose a half pound or so a week through a small deficit? In this, the extra few days on P2 makes much more sense, because there is a much bigger mental success to being at my high school weight for another baby, instead of off a 'failed' P2 round where I couldn't lose worth beans (it isn't really failed, but after that stall it feels like it!). If I knew I wasn't doing another round for ages it would make a great deal more sense to just have it out in a mental and physical sprint to the end of my bottle and take every pound I could get, rather than conserving my mental energy and taking a break to try again in two months.

Do you see where the hangup is?

Lose weight and put off a baby. Pause on the weight but stick at an unsatisfying goal. Or the compromise of slightly extending this round to hit a mini-goal and then having a baby, but leaving the ultimate goal to be achieved through energy deficits from calorie counting or some other method.

I am literally torn. Some moments option one sounds excellent, other times option two makes so much more sense (especially when I am feeling wrung out from the past week's stall and temptations). I needed my husband's input to help me make a decision, and he was understandably hesitant to offer an opinion up and tip me one way or the other, lest I be unhappy with it and blame him. Good self preservation instinct ;)

But as I told him, this directly affects him as much as me and knowing the real timeline another hCG round would place on us, in terms of delaying pregnancy, if he wanted more children sooner I needed to know to help adjust my decision now in favor of that outcome.

We're going to talk more about it tonight, but he is strongly leaning that way and leaving the choice up to me. And truthfully, I'm leaning that way, too. We both feel a strong urge to love and raise another child, and there is no practical reason besides my weight loss to delay that any longer. Finances are in order, the family schedule is clear and amenable, I'm in good health and it wouldn't be an undue hardship on my body or mind to do it. Basically, we're more ready than we were with any of the other kids! That matters, and I have been struggling back and forth, taking this into account, since last night. The final decision hasn't been made, but as hard as it is we are leaning enough toward holding off on future rounds that it makes far more sense to achieve whatever I can in these next days and just steel my resolve through another stressful period. I would be more disappointed in two weeks if we tried for another and I couldn't do more hCG, to end on 172.2, than to tough it out, pray like mad, and stay on plan for another week or so and end on 165-ish (which would feel like a victory). There is no guarantee I'll get there, but now that I have ovulated for the month I have a week or two, at least, where my body should show solid losses. That is my pattern and it makes sense in light of the above discussion to take advantage of it, even if it is a feat of self control.

I can hold out for just a few more days, especially knowing what my choices are. And then we can do P3/P4 and TTC, and if I don't end up pregnant by the cycle of my next projected P2 I can do another round and decide again after the fact. Or just keep trying until we're expecting another baby. Either choice is good, and I feel better entering into it knowing I didn't end this round 'defeated'.

So.

Given all that on my mind, you can see why I have been a little out of sorts the past day or two. But I prayed, talked it over with my spouse, mulled the pros and cons, and felt confident enough in my choice to go ahead and take another injection. The end of this week will be so hard, I have playdates, doctors appointments, evening childcare service I am helping with that includes a potluck, and a political meeting. All on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The temptation and stress coming my way is likely going to bring me to my knees, all dieting aside. But I still think persisting is the wisest course of action and I want to succeed in this. So I have a gauntlet to run this week and have committed myself to running it. Each morning I will evaluate my progress and whether I should continue, but I have made peace with another possible eight days of VLCD if need be, and am just praying it is fruitful or at least tolerable.

170.6 was excellent today. I am getting my wallet now, and if tomorrow is also good I will take more pictures. The weight was what I had hoped for when blogging yesterday morning, but it made me face up to some very complex and stressful choices about my future and my body that I have been left somewhat ill equipped to face after such a tough week. I have the support of my husband, who is willing to do whatever needs to be done to support me through one more week, and I have faith that it will be okay no matter what I choose. I win if I lose weight. I win if I get off P2 and maintain while building strength (whether it happens in three days or eight). I win if I stick it out here and have a baby. I win with any combination of the above choices, so long as I don't cheat while on the hCG.

So all I am losing over the next few days is weight and time.

I can live with that.

/end brain dump.

taryl | General | 9 April, 6:10pm | 8 comments

Well I weighed in at 172.2 today, which almost evoked an audible growl from me. Plateaus are to be expected, even long ones, but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

I spent all last night baking and decorating my daughter's birthday cake, ham, bacon for side dishes, you name it, until almost midnight. Then I indulged in some nice couples time with my husband (NO regrets about missing some sleep, I confess ;) ), after a fairly busy but normal day. With all that dessert, delicious meat, side courses, NO cheats. Not a single lick, taste, or crumb. God was merciful and helped me through immense temptation, and trust me I was praying. The lack of loss this morning doesn't make me angry about my adherence last night - on the contrary I am still very proud of myself.

But can I confess how incredibly frustrating plateaus are on such a strict diet, especially when my phase two has fallen on Christmas AND Easter? Ugh. I know I am getting smaller, I can SEE it. I am stronger too. The muscles in my back and legs are visible, the ones in my torso I can actually feel as I move. I just ovulated yesterday evening. All these things can mess with the scale. But even knowing this, I am still struggling not to feel really bummed by an entire week at effectively the same weight, when I am SO close to my goal for this round (165 pounds, my lowest-ever weight post-puberty). I can't control the scale, only behaviors, and I am doing SO well with that. I'm very happy with my discipline and progress this round on everything BUT the scale. However I am at the point where if I don't see a correction of a pound or so downward by Tuesday morning I am making that my last dose. I just don't want to go through another weekend of strict dieting with no significant inches or scale weight lost if I don't have to, and my endurance for the thing I want to work on next (strength training) is really poor when I am on the VLCD.

I guess I'd rather cut my losses a few days before my hCG runs out and focus on my fitness goals and maintaining again than keep struggling for a loss that just doesn't want to come and is making me nutso.

Thus, the ultimatum to the scale - I am sticking to my diet faithfully and will continue to do so, because you don't control me and I will be successful regardless of what number you spew. If you continue to be cantankerous I will shove it on the weight efforts and transition to my 72 hours off hCG but on the VLCD by Tuesday morning, and eat maintenance food by Friday. If I actually get to 170 by tomorrow or Tuesday I'll let you off the hook and stay on the hCG until the bottle runs dry, but ONLY if you, the scale, starts responding. If you don't, I refuse to make myself crazy. I will work on reducing my size, if not my weight, through fitness, and give you a go again in eight weeks. So there.

********

Okay, I'm officially making myself feel better. It's banish-the-negativity-and-look-on-the-bright-side time.

My back fat that I had just yesterday? GONE. I can hardly believe it, actually, because I was just staring at it this morning. But it is smoothed out to almost invisibility. There is still a pad of it, but it's not rolling and cleaving anymore. Wowie.

And my measurements, despite almost weighing the same as the last time I took them? Changes. Big ones. I was 176.8 then and I'm 172.2 now. But here are the differences (old measurement in parentheses)

Waist: 33 in (was 34)

Underbust: 33.5 in (was 34.5)

Bust: 42.5 in (was 43)

Abdomen: 41 in (was 42)

Hips: 43 in (unchanged)

Upper Arm: 13.5 in (unchanged)

Upper Thigh: 23 in (was 24)

Lower Thigh: 18 in (was 17.5)

Calf: 14 in (was 14.5)

So. Other than building my quads up from working out (which looks awesome, I love that lower thigh cut!) I have lost a fair amount of inches off my torso and back, in particular. Not enough for huge changes in my pants size, but my waist and bust are all way different and it shows in clothes. The scale isn't moving, but fat IS being lost and muscle being built if I can lose four inches off just my torso with only about four pounds of weight loss.

I am still sticking by what I said earlier and am making my husband hold me to it. If I am not down to 170-ish by Tuesday, I'm calling the round complete and trying again later. I can make huge strides on my figure and strength while maintaining and I'm excited to do it with the TTap 60 Day Challenge. I want and need to drop the extra weight I'm carrying, but I am not going to beat my head against the wall needlessly to do it and at this point, if my body is resisting, I'm not pushing harder. It doesn't really matter what the scale says if I look more slender and fit, except for the insurance break. So much of this weight maintenance is a mental game and I will NOT be beat in that, no matter what the scale says.

***********

And on a less peevish note, happy Resurrection Sunday to all my brothers and sisters in Christ. He is risen!

Next to that, my weight issues mean nothing at all, and I refuse to lose perspective on such a joyous day when I am assured of an eternal body without the struggles and sins of this flesh, because Christ covered all my sin and bore the Father's wrath for me on the cross. I have to remind myself, and this is an excellent day to do it, that I am not living for this world and the fallen things in it, but that I was bought for a price and have eternity stretched out before me. Nothing melts away my temporary pain and frustration over my body like remembering the love and mercy of my Lord.

taryl | General | 8 April, 5:33pm | 6 comments

Well it may or may not have worked, time will tell, but after five days of a stall I decided to do an apple day yesterday to gt the scale moving again and flush my body a bit. I also switched around my break days for exercise so yesterday was a day off, which worked perfectly since I had a nasty headache in the afternoon. This morning I was 171.0, with the number constantly vascillating to 170.8, so that's 1.8-2 pounds below where I have been most of the week and I'll take it, even if it isn't in the 160's yet. I'm still holding out for 165 this round, as I'd so love to go into maintenance at my all-time 'low' weight, but either way I think my last hCG dose will probably be this upcoming Friday (because I don't think anymore will be in the vial!). I might make it, I might not, but either way I will have another solid chunk of weight off and look awesome, so I can't complain.

I've lost inches this week, though I haven't measured how many. I will have to do that for the TTap challenge on April 10th, anyway, and that should give me a good idea, with pictures, where I am in terms of size and fitness. There isn't much more to report today - I'm going to be watching my new TTap DVDs this afternoon and working out, helping my husband move the parts of the finally completed bunk bed into the girls' room, and probably sitting tight with Seth most of the day (the aforementioned girls will be playing with grandpa). I also need to bake some chocolate cakes for tomorrow, and maybe whip up some icing to practice my decorating skills again. So it's a lazy kind of day, my favorite kind!

Oh, I also have some reading to get done in a diet book I've been working through, which thus far is sensible and excellent for my WOE and fits right in with maintenance. I will share some of what I'm learning down the road on this blog, along with the intermittent fasting I am planning on doing.

taryl | General | 7 April, 6:15pm | 20 comments

Another day at 172.8, still having ovulation indicators, too. As much as I'd love to blame the stall on the scale on my OP moment of weakness two days ago, based on the nutritional content of the food it isn't the type that would interfere with the action of the hCG or protocol. Rather, hormones and the inevitable catchup period has hit me. I have lost well this entire round and am above average for a female at this point, so that my body's metabolism and processes would take a bit to catch up and adjust to the loss of mass isn't unusual and I had a point like this last round, too.

On the upside, my clothing is getting a lot more loose and I'm getting stronger, too! I'm losing inches, even if the scale isn't cooperating. I may also be 'losing' a little ground to TTap, that is, building strength and retaining a bit of water from working out at the same time my fat is being shed, thus looking like no change on the scale even though my body is definitely and obviously changing by other indicators. I'm more than happy with my progress in other parameters so I can be patient on the scale, but I am still crossing my fingers for a whoosh of a few pounds in the next day or two. If I am still stuck by Saturday I'm doing an apple day to break the plateau.

I actually got in both bible study time AND piano this morning, before getting the kids up. It was tough but I think it will work, provided I don't get into bed too late (which is necessary, anyway!). I even got in one set of hoedowns, which I felt I needed to do my piano practice. They are so quick and effective that it's amazing - they took me from half asleep to energized and awake and warmed my body up noticeably. I would have had a hard time getting my brain moving without them, let along my fingers.

The last note is that my little Callie is five today! I can't believe time has passed so quickly. I'm wrapping a present or two of hers today since she knows it is her birthday, but the celebration with family will be on Easter, since that is most convenient for everyone, and she'll get the bulk of her presents (like a big girl bike and helmet) then. Not being able to eat with everyone for either day will stink, I admit, but it's not the end of the world. I can still enjoy the party without food. Not licking my fingers while I make and decorate her cake will be quite the trick, though! I can do it, I've done it before, but I'm definitely eating before I try to make it and chewing minty gum the whole time ;)

taryl | General | 5 April, 4:29pm | 10 comments

Wow, wordy title!

I just wanted to get on record that I got my workout in nicely in the afternoon, just the BWO+. Also, no cheats in sight and no issues. It was just a better evening and I didn't let myself get too tired or hungry. Still no ovulation yet, unfortunately, so who knows what the scale will do? But I controlled what I could control today nicely and I'm proud of myself.

It deserved note, anyway!

taryl | General | 5 April, 4:49am | 8 comments

Good morning! After the issues last night and still-impending ovulation, the scale finds me at 172.8 today. Not bad, considering I ate off plan and am retaining water, but definitely the kicker I needed to keep me on the straight and narrow today ;)

The good news of today is that I am officially entering the window of 'end-P2-anytime-I-please' and transition off the VLCD, if needed. Any losses or sticking with it beyond this point are almost like a mental bonus, I'm choosing to lose more and not being forced by the dynamics of the plan. I can't adequately explain the difference, but it takes a bit of pressure off my brain knowing that this is all me, now, choosing where I want to stop based on weight. I have about ten doses left or so, and though I'm stalled hormonally (and if my period shows early I'll have to continue the hCG longer) my goals are still very much in sight. I confess having spent five days in the 172-173 range now I'm ready to move on and downward, but it will happen in time. I just need to keep doing my thing and let the scale worry about itself.

Taking precedence now are my fitness goals. As of April 10th I'm officially entering the TTap 60 Day Challenge, which is an official contest with quite a nice set of prizes. My goal is hard exercising and consistency to see what kind of results I can net myself in the window of the challenge, from April 10-June 10. I fully believe I can win the category I enter, and if not, do darn well in it. And at the end of it I still have the benefit of a much strengthened body and tightened figure, so there's really no losing. The bulk of the challenge falls within my P3/P4 window, which is even better, because I will be able to maximize my results with sufficient calories and meal timing/composition.

I've spent so many months losing weight or in a holding pattern of the past few years, but I've made relatively little foray into official fitness and strength training. But body recomposition is going to be crucial, especially after the amount of weight I've lost, my skin and muscles need all the help they can get. So be looking for more content in that vein of thought in the future - I will be combining my P3/P4 eating rules with intermittent fasting and TTap training with fair rigor. With the work put in, I am super excited to see ow my body transforms in pictures over the next few months.

Today is a Tempo/Basic Workout Plus day for my training. Though I was awake in time to do my piano this morning, I got caught up in a political email that took some time to read and respond to, and lost the block to the Internet. Thus I'll be moving the practice to after my workout, with any luck. Everything else is progressing as it should be, and I'll keep watching the scale to see how it responds after yesterday's crazy moment. Though the scale is stalled, I am happy to report my back is trimmer than it was a few days ago (I almost have NO back rolls anymore, I used to have three back when I began losing and now I have only a slight bump along my lats) and my belly is flatter. I think the abdominal workout of Organs in Place/Half Frogs/Hoedowns is actually to credit for that, but I'll take the results whichever way they come!

Here's to a happy, healthy, on-plan kind of day!

taryl | General | 4 April, 4:47pm | 5 comments

Well I did a Total Workout yesterday and Organs in Place/Half Frogs/Hoedowns today and am less sore than I thought I'd be. It's a definite workout and very tough with low calories, but I still completed it with no ill effects. I'm so glad I've been able to figure out a time slot, at the very least, to put that. Piano is suffering greatly for it right now because I haven't fine tuned the timing for placing the practice in the morning, but that is next on my list. I was down a half pound this morning to 172.4, which was also a pleasant surprise since I am still ovulating.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that I had my first cheat of the round tonight, though I was fairly minor. I was making jam after dinner for the family and had a spoon lick, then had a hard time stopping and consumed probably a quarter cup of pectin/jam, maybe less. I managed to rein myself in, slap myself upside the head, and finish jarring it without issue, but it is a sobering reminder that in the middle of the VLCD I have to be so vigilant not to even let off plan foods or quantities cross my lips, or things go downhill. It's not worth it, it doesn't contribute to my ultimate goal, and I'm not going there. This was a reminder that I needed to strengthen my convictions on this point, actually. I'm moving on perfectly on plan, as I was before, and will allow no more hiccups for the duration of treatment.

To analyze what went wrong is pretty simple, actually. Ovulation and cravings aside, I have been having a very hungry day (which means I'm due for a nice loss). Additionally, it has been crazy busy and I missed my morning 'breakfast' of tea due to bible study, ate lunch late, worked out hard without getting sufficient water (I kept not having time to refill my cup while cooking and I needed to stop and do it), and delayed my evening meal by several hours in the midst of this. The temptation, though minimal and not something I am even a big fan of, was too great. What I needed to do was restock myself with my planned dinner, drink several cups of water, and then try to tackle the tempting food. Temptation with hormones on an empty stomach wasn't smart, and usually I am not so careless.

In terms of food it wasn't a binge, not by a long shot. I don't think I was over 100 calories, to tell the truth. But I didn't feel very in control because I didn't manage my hunger well. Hormones make me hungry, lack of sleep makes me hungry (I only got about five hours last night), and working out so much has been burning through my reserves more than my last P2. These were all issues I should have dealt with proactively, but I got busy and let them go, and it came back to bite me. This isn't an issue for me normally, even when restricting on the VLCD. But I happened to assist myself into creating the perfect storm for a cheat and succumbed in my final hour of several in the kitchen. Bummer, right?

In the interest of intellectual honesty I needed to blog about this, but it's already behind me and I've moved forward the best way I can, which is to continue as though it didn't happen and stick to what I know I need to do. I see where this combination of factors goes and how to diffuse it, including a fair bit of praying for strength and patience with the end of the VLCD ;). This is quite the aberration for me and I'm still a little surprised it happened, but I'm not perfect and don't expect this journey to be, either. The important thing is trying my hardest, constantly, to do what gets me to my goals.

What I WON'T do is throw up my hands and eat everything in sight, declare myself a miserable failure, decry the evils of my plan, blame someone else, dwell on this obsessively, or let this get me down in any way, shape, or form. That is the exact opposite of how a successful dieter handles a bump in the road. Move forward, work harder, never quit - that's the path to success in this.

taryl | General | 4 April, 3:22am | 6 comments

Good morning! Unfortunately my exercise plans of yesterday got derailed, we had some friends of ours, who we didn't realize were in town until church yesterday, over for lunch instead. And I've hit the dreaded mid-month stall thanks to ovulation and spent yesterday and today at 172.8. The upside is that I'm looking forward to a nice whoosh (maybe into the 160's?) over the next few days when the water retention/inflammation from hormones ceases.

My TTap goals for this week are:

(2) Basic Plus/Tempo workouts

(2) Organs in Place/Half Frogs/Hoedowns

(1) Total Workout

The day order and placement doesn't really matter, but since I rested the last three days I am thinking I am nice and fresh for a total workout today, the OIP Tues/Thurs, and BW+ Wed/Fri, with more rest times on the weekend or another type of activity. I want to find a schedule that I can be consistent on and that is comfortable for me. Though it's going to be tough, I am thinking the solution to my schedule issues in getting this all done is moving my piano back to after morning bible study, before the kids get up, and working out in the afternoon. That also fits nicely with my meal schedule so I am not working out with a completely empty stomach and can refuel both before and after.

My new DVDs should be showing up today, except that UPS has been super slow in getting them out of Florida, and they only just left Orlando despite sitting in processing since Thursday. Grr. That means they aren't going to be delivered until this upcoming Thursday, if the estimates are correct. I'm not thrilled about the delay but I admit it is my own impatience causing the issue ;)

I'm excited to work some additional routines in and find a rotation that works me over without causing overtraining issues and exhaustion. It's a constant tweaking process, just like maintenance eating. I confess I'm getting a bit worn out with P2 again but it is all psychological, physically I have had an excellent round. A little more hunger than round 1, but I'm also doing a lot more activity. No illness or immune issues like shingles, no moodiness or really nasty detox symptoms, and I'm quite comfortable as my clothing size dismisses and the scale drops, too. But it is a very strict process which makes it both easy (simple rules) and mind numbing (boring food, lots of restrictions). However the upsides of being in short diet phases that drop a bunch of weight and then being at normal, satisfying calorie levels for a few months can't be understated. That cycle makes this all much more bearable, in addition to the clear benefits of dropping the weight without months of work, hunger, and fighting my body's regulatory mechanisms every step of the way. I can be a perfect dieter for six weeks with great results. It is much harder to adhere to a less strict, but longer run, as I did before. I didn't think that would be the case, but it really is. Even having to watch my window in maintenance and do the occasional correction day isn't bad at all compared to months of reduced calories with very little in the way of results. Thus, I put up with P2 and give it my all, because that willpower and resolve NOW has great rewards LATER, when it come to more effortless maintenance and a healthier body.

I SO hope I can hit 169 before the end of this week and provide some new measurements and pictures. I am noticing fit differences in clothing that didn't fit at all, previously, and now is comfortable. Most of what I own is way too big and buying new bras, shirts, and pants when I hit P3 is pretty much a must. We'll see what these last doses will bring me, in the way of pounds gone. That is what I am focusing on, when there are chocolate cupcakes above the cupboards and freshly roasted turkey in the fridge ;)

taryl | General | 2 April, 5:37pm | 5 comments

Good morning! I'm weighing in at 172.8 this morning, for a total of 15.6 pounds lost now on VLCD17. Things are chugging along nicely, though I was a bit stalled on Friday and again today, only being .2 down from yesterday's weight. It's no big deal as I am losing very well overall, but faster and more always seems better when I only have a brief window every few months in which to lose weight ;)

I was calculating it and it looks lik my next P2 will be in June or so, which seems SO far away, but the metabolic rest and stabilization period is really crucial and shouldn't be shorted, even if fat loss is the ultimate goal. I'm going to spend this upcoming P3/P4 really hitting the exercises hard and doing whatever work I can on the reshaping front in between rounds, so it is far from wasted time. I still have a good 13 doses of hCG left in my vial and the 72 hour weaning period at the end, as well as another rest day off injection in there (today is one as well), so I have another 15-16 days, max, of P2, and I think I can get another fair chunk of weight off. The chances that I'll make my modest goal of hitting my high school weight are very good, though the chances of getting into the 150's are quite slim at this point, unless my body just sheds weight like crazy. This past week it has been settling a bit and adjusting to the differences in my mass and fat storage levels, so I haven't been moving as consistently down but rather going in fits and starts. Overall, though, the trend is still excellent and I am glad I have stuck on plan. Yes, I'll miss Easter and my kid/husband's birthdays, from a food standpoint, but it isn't the end of the world. Somehow I have managed to be on P2 for both Easter and Christmas, which stinks, but if it means spending future years enjoying them more, at a healthy weight? I just can't complain too much!

Friday and Saturday were exercise rest days but today I am actually braving the total workout again, I think. Probably while the kids nap. It's tough to say what kind of gains can be made with such a calorie deficit, in terms of muscle, but the energy I gain from working out and the pumping it gives my lymphatic system is enough of a boon that I am encouraged to keep it up. The TTap forum has tons of challenges and such to keep members consistent and I am really loving it over there. It is a wonderful group of people to go with the wonderful workout. My new DVDs should be here tomorrow and I am quite excited to pop them in!

That's the exercise and diet news from me today. Hopefully tomorrow brings a nice loss!

taryl | General | 1 April, 5:46pm | 6 comments

Good afternoon! I went to see a friend after breakfast today and didn't have time to blog earlier, so I'm a bit late today. But good news - I was down .8 to 174.8 and did a second TTap workout last night. So I managed Organs in Place/Half Frogs/Elevators and Basic Workout Plus, which felt great. I'm a bit draggy today so once I finish with this post I'm doing another OIP for my workout today and then dishes and piano practice, I think.

Though I'm not too far below last round's weight I FEEL much flatter and slimmer, my clothes bear that out, too. My previous favorite red shirt is now baggy, and it fit nicely after last round. The pink striped one I took my 179 picture in was a bit tight then, but now it is on the fitting to slightly loose side. Yay! My jeans are also all quite baggy and they are size 16's that are 8-10 years old, so the sizing runs a bit smaller than the clothes these days. I am excited to see what I fit in at the store.

Still having some willpower struggles but I have had victory over them all, despite the conflict internally I have stuck to the plan like glue. Amen, right? I am halfway through my round now, too, which is also nice. It's all downhill from here!

I have noticed that I am losing weight very well after mornings I work out - I am thinking the highly lymphatic, elimination-improving aspects of TTap are helping flush my system of the fat and toxins the hCG is liberating me of more effectively than without the exercise in there. It's tough to say definitely, we'll see by the end of this round, but as far as I can tell both inch loss and scale weight are positively affected by the workouts, and they definitely help boost my energy. I think I'm looking a lot slimmer and certainly feel stronger, even on the VLCD, which says a lot.

I'm praying for another good loss tomorrow morning, I would so LOVE to get into the 160's before April, but I will be awfully close even if I don't make it in the next few days. Either way, it is excellent and encouraging progress for my halfway point. I'm down 13.8 pounds this round and would be so thrilled if this rate of loss keeps up. Either way I'm going to continue working out, eating on plan and gritting my teeth against temptation, and looking forward to my next maintenance period at a smaller size or two (fingers crossed!).

taryl | General | 28 March, 11:14pm | 6 comments

Virgin territory achieved! Here on day 12 I am below my last dose weight for the last round to land at 175.6, which is new ground for me in all except high school. When I was on depression meds during my sophomore year I bounced up about ten pounds to this range from my high school low of 165, and blew past this range when I hit college. It's nice to be back in it again, for obvious reasons! It is asking a lot out of a factor I can't control, but if I can get below 165 in this round I'd be a super happy camper. I am hoping I have solid losses that don't stall, but the only factor I can control is the food.

And on that note, I am SO proud of myself! Yesterday was my weekly baking day and I was cooking for about five hours straight (it made me miss my workout, darn!). I baked bread, delicious breakfast bars, homemade refried beans, dinner for the kids and THEN dinner for me, which was quite exhausting. The bread and breakfast bars were begging me to try them, lick the spoon, anything. And trying to make a recipe like the beans without tasting to adjust the seasoning is murderously hard. But I prayed for strength and self discipline in focusing on my goals, took a deep breath, and just said no to myself. I refused to cheat - no licking a spoon of creamed sugar butter, no snagging a fried onion or end piece of warm bread. And with the exception of a dab of the beans on my tongue at the end of the night to verify they turned out (which I rinsed and spit into the sink afterward) I did it. No cheating myself, no sampling food that wasn't P2 compliant, and man did it feel good to watch the scale drop this morning. It was like a reward to that truly challenging work of self restraint. I ate my food and drink, avoided theirs, and stayed committed to my plan.

Yesterday I ordered two new TTap DVDs, as I had a coupon and the other was discounted. I was weak and didn't get Tempo Arms, though I still really want that one. The first I ordered was Hit The Floor Combo, which is a gravity assisted ab and pelvic floor workout that was high on my list. The second DVD was the TTap MORE series. It is a five workout in one DVD pack that is modified to be gentler versions of the Total Workout, as well as additional broom, chair, and lifestyle workouts along the side. It has wonderful reviews and I think it is a good transitional DVD for me since I am struggling with some pain when doing the Total Workout. It was also a very expensive DVD, so using a 50% off coupon on it made sense. The next time I get mailed or win a TTap discount Tempo Arms is what I'm buying, I swear! But itn the meantime I eagerly await my next two DVDs and keep plugging away at the exercises I have. Today I am thinking of doing Tempo and my ab workouts from the Fit and Fabulous book, it just depends on how much time I have.

TTap is addictive. So is losing weight. Fortunately both have immense rewards and I am enjoying each thoroughly, even if the getting started/staying on track takes a bit of mental and spiritual discipline.

taryl | General | 27 March, 5:13pm | 7 comments

I'm down to 176.8 today, which was my last dose weight from last round and pretty much my lowest weight in a decade. Everything below this is virgin territory for adult-me, and I'm quite excited!

Still on my period, but feeling fine. All hormonal water retention seems to have gone away and isn't interfering with my losses anymore. It's been a mental struggle to stay on plan and I had a weak moment last night of substituting in a few sweet potato fries for my grissini, but truthfully it just isn't worth not sticking to the plan 100% and so I'm not doing that again. While there was no deleterious effect to the substitution, I feel better knowing I stuck to protocol and that's what I'm happy doing. My mental control isn't great - I am definitely desiring the P3 foods and the P4 foods my family eats - but I just keep telling myself it is only two more weeks (or so) and that helps a lot. I can do ANYTHING for six weeks, and this diet has more benefits for me than most, making adherence less of an issue.

I got in the tempo workout last night and that felt good, I'm hoping to get in another today. I have a coupon for 50% off another TTap DVD and I am almost positive I want to get the Tempo Arms volume, since I an desiring more upper body strength training than I'm getting and it will switch it up nicely. I have also hooked a friend and her family with another friend inquiring about the materials, apparently my results and the difficult but physically sound nature of the routine is appealing ;). An effective workout in a short period of time is a lure for moms other than me, I can tell! I have the TTap workouts on my iPad (my husband got me the new one so I have much more capacity than my older model and can cart around more of the videos than I could before!) and definitely plan on letting my friends watch them before bible study to get an idea of what TTap is, since Teresa explains it so much better than me. It also makes everyone less wary of the price tag of the workouts, since they can see the value of them firsthand and don't just have to take my word (and inches lost) for it!

Speaking of inches lost, I am really hoping I can get into the 160's by the end of next week, maybe ten days or so, max? That would be lovely! When I get there I will do more pictures and measurements, which I'm looking forward to. My husband is also taking me to the store Saturday to get some more underwear, tops, etc, that I'm not swimming in. The winter clearance stuff is my favorite, give our cold climate, and I can find great deals, so wish me luck with the bargain hunting!

And that's the news for this weekend and Monday morning. Good losses, new lows ahead, solid workouts, and victory over most temptations with a sobering reminder that cheating only cheats ME and even minor ones just don't make me feel as good as clean adherence. I just have to take P2 one choice at a time and keep my eyes on the prize. It's not hard, but it does take a little discipline.

taryl | General | 26 March, 5:02pm | 6 comments

Weighed in at 178.8 today, another half pound down or so. My cycle has also started again and I'm in the middle of what looks like a normal (if a few days later than average) menstruation. I will be skipping an injection today, just because I didn't skip last Sunday, but I'm not going to take off the recommended three days from hCG during one's period, because I have a bit if a deadline on when this round needs to be over. I need to be in P3 again by the Alaska Republican Convention or I will have an impossible time staying on plan for the meals served throughout the days of it. I can work a P3 meal out of their menu without much issue at all, but not P2. Thus, I am truncating this round a bit through taking less time off during it, which is fine since th breaks are primarily to prevent immunity to the hCG from setting in, which isn't a risk with a shorter round, anyway.

I worked out last night and that was nice - not easy, but not excessively vigorous, either. I just did the basic plus workout in the evening. That may have made me retain some water, it is tough to say, but my post-workout swelling has been pretty minimal as my body has gotten accustomed to TTap. Now that I am feeling better and not draggy and weak with illness or the P2 adjustment phase I am more confident that choosing to work out gently through the phase is not a bad idea, even with the huge calorie deficits. I am going by how I feel and I feel fine, so that's enough for me!

I still haven't struck a balance between working out and piano practice, with my free time. Especially when I add knitting or reading a book in there, one of the juggling balls hits the floor. I know there's a way to do this but I'm still struggling with waking early enough to do the TTap before getting the kids ready. Bedtime is suitably early but I'm still tired upon waking (my husband and I both could use about three more hours of sleep a night) and getting up an hour earlier just hasn't been happening. I'm working on a solution, I just can't find one that satisfies all my time desires and rotating schedules don't work well for me (I like each day being essentially the same).

That's all I can think of right now. I look and feel normal, I have another three weeks of P2 or so, and then I'm off for another maintenance phase. All in all the procession of weight and time has been excellent. HCG doesn't lose the weight quickly, when you factor in the 6-20 week breaks (the more rounds you do the longer P4 must become to give your body a proper break from the hCG), but it has been losing it well and permanently for me, with maintenance not being a massive struggle with really low calories. I also am avoiding the overly-slim-face-but-still-flabby-belly issue that many have with traditional weight loss, thanks to the stores of fat being depleted instead of those under my skin. Good stuff!

taryl | General | 23 March, 5:10pm | 6 comments

179.2 today, which I'm very pleased with! No news on the cycle front, but since I'm not retaining water like a sponge anymore I just can't complain.

I missed my exercise yesterday which was unfortunate, I ran out of time before we had to get ready for the open house at my husband's work. And yes, B-Safe the clown was as creepy as he sounded. He seemed kind of depressed, actually.

Anyway, I have absolutely nothing interesting to report other than my obnoxious lack of exercise which I seriously miss. I'm getting it in today even if it means having Peter babysit the kids in the evening for it.

taryl | General | 22 March, 5:15pm | 7 comments

Semi-good news today! No period yet, but my weight did precipitously drop down to 180.6, so I am down 7.8 pounds since loading. It's about time, too! Now if only my monthly would cooperate I'd be good to go.

My purse and wallet (which is now stashed with my husband) came and the they are both gorgeous! Definitely the right choices, and a very satisfying reward. I think my 160 gift might just be another purse, as there are so many beautiful handbags to choose from. Either way, I am glad to retire my cheap, ratty bag for something more sophisticated, and it also remind me about how awesome losing 80 pounds has been ;)

Yesterday was a day off exercising but today I do hope to get a workout in before we go into my husband's work for an open house. You know you want to go and hear a lecture from B-Safe, the clown, too! Don't be jealous!

taryl | General | 21 March, 5:42pm | 12 comments

This morning finds me slightly annoyed, and I'm blaming hormones. I've been down .2 and .2 both days, despite flawlessly being on plan, and it's all thanks to my impending period. That weird, late ovulation has made the end of cycle stuff weird as well, and I'm obnoxiously late for my period while retaining a bunch of water. What can a gal do? Not much!

Thus, I'm at 183.0 this morning, and am down 5.4 pounds in five days. When I look at it that way I'm definitely less tetchy about the slow losses, but I am eager to get this load weight off and hit my goals! Still, there's no forcing weight loss, the best I can do is remain on plan as I have been and let the scale take care of itself.

On another note, I have chiropractic today and I am skipping Bible study because Seth is sick. Roseola somehow made its' way into our home and he is quite spotty, I didn't think it was fair to infect the other kids.

And that's the news today. Not much to look at ;)

taryl | General | 20 March, 5:13pm | 9 comments

This morning sees me with a detox headache that came on last night and having lost five pounds of my load weight to come in at 183.4. Not bad! The headache isn't severe and I actually think sleep deprivation caused it - I had an outbreak of a protozoan in my aquarium that I discovered right before going to bed on Saturday night and was up until 5 am nuking it, so to speak, with water changes and treatment. I had about three hours of sleep and the headache I felt coming on by the afternoon accompanied the crazy fatigue, making that the more likely cause.

I'm well rested now, so we'll see where it goes from here. I had some hunger yesterday but it is pretty much gone today, despite having not eaten in 16 hours. I'm still sick, too, but that finally looks to be on the way out. Yay! Working out hasn't been happening, primarily due to the illness and knitting, and man I feel it! One of my big priorities today is getting in the basic plus workout when the kids nap, before I commence on more of the aforementioned knitting.

Not much else to report, really. I ordered the purse I earned the last round and a wallet for my husband to hold onto for me until I get to 170, so that will be lovely when it arrives! I chose a smashing bright red Dooney and Bourke satchel that I fell in love with while browsing, and it is both classy and unique. To go with it I chose a handpainted Anuschka checkbook wallet that really makes a statement all its own. It is nice to finally get some grown up handbags that aren't computer bags and I think they were perfect weightloss gifts.

****** Evening Update *****

I did get in my exercise and it felt pretty good, even with the calorie deficit. I was a little shaky by the end and I can't do anything more than the shorter, easier workout at this point, but it didn't put me over the edge in terms of hunger or fatigue. I'm glad I got that all squared away!

taryl | General | 18 March, 10:14pm | 7 comments

Acronym stands for "round two, phase two, very low calorie day one".

I'm sure I will change my mind, but at this point I never want to eat again. Ick. I loaded and very thoroughly, at that. And now, the VLCD commences again. Today I have a short exercise session scheduled and the rest of my day is committed to knitting two baby hats for a shower tomorrow. It should keep me quite busy.

Though my official round start weight was in the 180 range, the loading phase has me up to 188.4. It will come off soon enough, and then I am thoroughly looking forward to a new set point at or below my high school weight of 165-ish. Yay! Measurements will be taken at the end of the round, pictures will come at 170, 160, etc.

On a completely unrelated note, a friend of mine is in need of prayers. One of her three year old sons passed away (they have five adopted children, all with high special needs, and three of them are within a year of each other). Little Daniel is with the Lord now, in a glorified body and in perfect communion with his Savior, but the loss of him here on earth is still very acute for his family and all of us who knew him. Please keep the family in your prayers as they make funeral arrangements and continue caring for their other children.

taryl | General | 16 March, 5:32pm | 7 comments

Well I would have kicked that extra pound, but I made a booboo - followed the correction day to the letter and felt great, but stayed up until 2 am and got bored and hungry by the end of the night and added an extra meal. Idiotic choice, I knew what I was doing but talked myself out of the consequences and faced them the next morning on the scale. Doh! Onward, either way.

Today is my first loading day of round two (round two, phase two, would be the snazzy abbreviation in my title) and I'm still sick, unfortunately. Yesterday was peel-me-off-the-floor sick, with worse symptoms and no energy, so I am thinkin I may have picked up a secondary infection at church. Either way the chest cold is now a nasty head cold, though this morning I am feeling slightly better. My pre-round weight is 180.6, and my goal for round two is following perfectly (even moreso than last time, which was 99% adherence thanks to one dinner out) and with any luck I'll end up in the 150's. I am doing this round until my injections of the 2000 iU left from last round run out, which should be between 28-30 days of VLCD, if my doses are exact and every drop of the solution is used. That is a slightly shorter round than round one and slightly longer than the minimum required - it should be ample time to drop 20-30 pounds, depending on how my body responds.

I will skip my Sunday injections again but NOT on my period, as it made no difference last time. I will also continue TTap through this round, though my goal is to work the basic plus workout (instructional #1 and tempo 1) only, and do the total workout only when I am feeling really good. It is very physically demanding and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot with too much work and then feel super hungry later.

My last measurements on here are still quite accurate now, so that is my starting point, too. I have another day of loading and then a month-ish of VLCD. Yay!

taryl | General | 14 March, 5:36pm | 6 comments

My Greek yogurt correct day netted me a nice three pound loss and I am at 180.6 this morning. Today I'm doing a high fat correction day to try and shave off another pound and get under 180 and then it is essentially loading time for the next round with Tuesday being normal eating and dosing with hCG for Wednesday and Thursday.

The VLCD begins again on Friday and will continue into the middle of April with the end date likely being determined by whenever I hit the end of my second hCG vial (which should be around VLCD30). I'm not doing an extra long round this time for a number of reasons, I'm keeping it truncated and within the 23-40 day span recommend in "Pounds and Inches". I'll record my load weight here for posterity but I'm not doing much tracking of it, as the entire point is to eat as many calories as you can stand to sufficiently stock your reserves for the first few days of hCG while your body is switching its' fuel burn source from glucose and subcutaneous fat to the stored reserves we actually want to get rid of. I'm going to need to do some shopping before P2 but I think this round will go well from a planning perspective, at the very least, because I am familiar with the protocol now and it isn't all such a learning curve. And as before I am committing to it 100% and going on social lockdown to avoid temptations that would set me back. Unfortunately my daughter and husband have birthdays during this P2 but I will be abstaining from sampling my own cooking and baking during that time. I did it for Christmas, I can do it now!

I'm still sick, the busy nature of the weekend seemed to set back my recovery and make things worse, so if I work out it will probably be tempo 1 or instructional #1 and not the total workout. My goal is to kick this before the VLCD, if I possibly can. I'd rather not down my immune system AND be on a strict diet, and I certainly don't want shingles again, so the more I can rest up and fight this now the better things will be. I'll report in tomorrow and hopefully have another pound off to begin my next round right next to my range. If I had another week I could get right back in the sweet spot of it but I don't, so just taking off the crazy excess water retention is victory enough for me!

******* Post Exercise Notes *******

So I don't know if it is because I am sick or just secretly sore from my last workout and didn't realize it - I did tempo 1 against and I could barely complete it, my legs burned so bad! It hasn't been that sore since I was first beginning, which makes me think my note last time that tempo 1 is the same workout as the basic plus, but her instruction makes me consciously activate different muscles and engage more, is spot on. I find tempo 1 a much more challenging workout even though it is still only fifteen minutes and nothing is changes up except a minor form switch on the TTap twist.

When working out I definitely notice my stomach and legs are firmer and the muscle more defined. That's also a nice change - visibly built muscle after just a few weeks! I could do without the crazy fire shooting down my quads but there's no doubt the workout is effective. I'm really glad I just did the shorter, easier workout, though. I feel as sore as if I'd done instructional #2 and I have a feeling that one would have laid me flat out if I'd given it a try while feeling this icky.

I'm still well on track with my high fat correction day. The upside of this one is that it is very satisfying - it keeps me full a LONG time to keep my fat up so high. Dinner is a tuna salad, celery, sunbutter, and an apple. Tomorrow morning I'm taking my weight again and if it is better than today's (I'm not discounting that this soreness might mean my muscles retain a bit of water while they heal) that will be my round two start weight. All in all the day has gone very well, if only I wasn't so sniffly and now so sore!

taryl | General | 12 March, 4:45pm | 6 comments

Long and short of it, I had wheat and sugar both Friday and Saturday and it definitely kicked up both cravings AND weight. Avoidance is my best lifelong tactic, I think, except for rare occasions. Weight is up to 183.6 despite having not consumed nearly that excess of calories and unfortunately I'm still pretty sick. Anyone else retain water when ill? That's my best guess as to why it has shot through the roof.

Today is a greek yogurt correction day and tomorrow is a high fat correction day. I might slip an egg correction day in Tuesday, if needed, to get back in range before loading for my next round. Exercise is still happening and I'm staying on track and positive with my plan. No matter why I'm all the sudden going up without much nutritional justification, it's still well within my abilities to alter my habits for losing the bounce and getting back under 180. Sick or no, I'm not doing myself a favor by ignoring the weight!

Our stressful week is finally over - no more presidential preference poll, no more district convention, no more extra curriculars of any kind except the occasional baby shower. Whew! That makes things much more peaceful in this house and I'm looking forward to getting more sleep, if nothing else.

taryl | General | 11 March, 5:39pm | 6 comments

Color me completely confused, but my weight was higher this morning. This despite being slightly under my maintenance calories last night, with a workout, a fairly light dinner, and a day clean of inflammatory nutrients for me. Oy. All I can think is that is must be related to this chest cold I have and the systemic inflammation of my immune system fighting off the virus is causing water retention, because it wasn't anything I did, otherwise!

Still, I think I am picking a correction day today (maybe an egg day?) to get this under control. I'll tolerate being a pound above my range since working out moved the target a bit, but I won't stand for the 180's, which I was in today. 181.8, to be exact. I know for a fact the ovulation-that-wouldn't-end actually ended yesterday afternoon after a false start the day before, as I had my cramps and ovarian pain to confirm, but that wouldn't account for more than a pound or two of swelling that should be well on its' way out the door by now. Thus, it is mitigate-the-damage time regardless of the causal factor, and I feel good enough that a correction day is no hardship.

Ah, the vagaries of maintenance! Correcting before regains (whatever their reason) get too far is key and that is my current focus. Saturday I'll eat normally and Sunday I'll correct again, if necessary, and continue in that later acting pattern either until I am back in my range or it is time to load for the next round.

taryl | General | 9 March, 5:43pm | 7 comments

Just dropping a brief note to keep myself accountable - I finally ovulated yesterday and my weight should be going back down soon, but this morning it was at 180.4. I managed to acquire the adult version of the croup my oldest daughter has, and I feel like a truck hit me. Because I'm sick I don't think doing a fasting/protein correction day is wise, so I'm choosing to hold off until I am not so run down.

Exercise didn't happen yesterday for a really good reason - I got ten pound of fat and trimmings from our butcher to render tallow for cooking, and cleaning that up took me almost three hours of standing and fighting it with my chef's knife in the kitchen last night. There was a fair bit of meat attached to a lot of the bits, as well as tendon and silver skin/gristle, so it was quite the intensive process to trim and dice. I got a little over two pounds of meat out of that ten pound bag of leftovers, and the fat is rendering in the crockpot right now. My hands are incredibly sore from all the cutting and gripping of the slippery bits, and I figured I got a fair workout from all that standing and upper body use from the chopping/fighting. It was definitely more intensive than vegetable chopping, and a heck of a lot longer!

Hopefully I'm over the worst of this by tomorrow, it's been brewing for two days now and I am thinking today is the peak. Fingers crossed.

************

Afternoon addendum: I was feeling pretty draggy all day but not enough to need a nap, so I decided to do my workout and tried out Tempo 1, which is the Basic Plus workout/Instructional #1 workout in a different form. Same moves, but both faster and slower. I found it more difficult, despite the first half of all moves being slower than the instructionals. However her training to go with it focuses on really activating and intensifying the muscle resistance in each move so I got a bit of a harder workout just by maximizing the same moves I've been doing. I like it a lot and it's a great little workout. My heart rate is up and right now, at least, I have a little more pep in my step than I've had all day. I still have a sore, clogged throat and cottony head, but I don't feel like I'm moving through molasses.

I almost did instructional #2 today instead, but I figured that was probably pushing my low energy stores a little too hard to be wise. A little movement during sickness can feel great, but I don't want to overtax my already run-down body, either! Tempo 1 was exactly what I needed, and it is only 17 minutes start to finish. It's really nice having he same workout in three different formats/speeds, because each set of instructions is slightly different even though the workout is not, and those differing instructions target different parts of the form. Once again, TTap is impressive and speedy. Love it!

taryl | General | 8 March, 6:19pm | 7 comments

This has been a weird ovulation! It's still going with all fertility symptoms, including water retention. Weight is up for no discernible reason, though a correction day yesterday (Greek yogurt and berries) netted me a pound less of it. Yesterday was 180.6 and today was 179.6. I'm eating my normal P4 plan today, and if I still haven't completed the fertile window and dropped my weight back down by tomorrow I will do another correction day. Alternating a correction day with a normal day works a bit better for stubborn weight gains (like holiday eating) and this sort of ongoing weight jump.

Even though I know I'm starting another round next week and it will take care of any gains and then some, it is important to me to NOT use that as a reason to let my weight slide. Maintaining is more important than losing, and some day I'm going to run out of rounds and be at goal - if I have not disciplined myself to maintain and fix small regains I might as well not even be doing this! So as I have been doing, I'm giving it my very best effort and working hard in maintenance right now to give myself the very best shot at entering the next round without having regained anything. Also, the better I stay at my new set point range the less likely it is to slip. So I'm not phoning it in, not overeating, not quitting the exercise or letting junk tht I have already determined makes me feel awful slide back in. I am heartened that my current scale issues aren't 'my fault' - it isn't what I'm eating or how much that made it shoot up. That makes dealing with it easier, since I know it is just part of what my body does. But that doesn't mean I have an excuse to not correct or be vigilant ;)

Not much else to say. Now that TTap Bootcamp is over my maintenance schedule is doing a workout every other day, as opposed to every day, for the next 4-6 weeks. Today is an on day, where if all goes well I will be doing instructional #2 this afternoon. I still haven't figured out a decent compromise for shifting my schedule around to accommodate exercise again. I keep being exhausted in the morning no matter when I go to bed and I can barely wake to read a few chapters in my bible, let alone work hard. For now I'm just shoving it in where it fits each day, but I prefer a more deliberate, orderly schedule than that, so I'm still mulling solutions.

My husband had to run our Presidential Preference Poll for our district last night (the Alaska Republican Primary Causus-like system) and we had decent turnout for a new district composition (our lines were just redrawn). Romney won our district by a few points, followed by Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich in fourth. Delegates are still being parsed up as we have a weird proportioning system, but part one of our obligations are done. The second part is district convention, which convenes this Saturday morning. We're expecting between 15-30 participants, on the upper end, and can choose 12 delegates to state convention. With this, and me having a babysitting obligation at the church this Friday night for an outreach conference, it has been a crazy busy week and will continue to be so. Still, we'll survive and hopefully not lose our heads in the process, or in my case, eat a cow from stress!

taryl | General | 7 March, 6:48pm | 20 comments

You'd think after tracking my weight for a few years I wouldn't forget my own idiosyncrasies, right? Yeah, that's why I write it down instead - I'd NEVER remember without a piece of paper or website reminding me! The timing of the Japanese was coincidental and unfortunate with the gain, because there were other factors at play.

Namely?

Ovulation bloat! Oh yes, I don't just retain water with my period, I retain water during the last few days of my fertile window each month, too. Joy! I completely spaced (despite tracking this all rigorously) that I've been in said window since Tuesday and it's peaked yesterday and today. I'm due for some slight pain and then waning hormones over the next day or two, and with that wane my weight will go right back down. I'm such an airhead!

The steak day did nicely take care of the bloated feeling and netted me a pound loss to 179.4 this morning. I was a bit surprised to see it still so high and that's what made me take a second guess as the causes of the gain and realize I was forgetting to factor ovulation in. Given that it is now hormonal and not food related I am not doing another correction day and will just eat normally today. If I am still high tomorrow I may consider a correction day on Tuesday or Wednesday but I honestly expect that the weight will drop back down by then. Such is the vagaries of the scale, I suppose! I'm not concerned or even particularly bothered, but it does make window gauging tricky, just like exercise does.

I did not get in a workout this weekend, I've been exhausted and it was time for a break, but I'm looking forward to one this afternoon. I need to retool my daily schedule a bit to fit them in better as I have not had the energy to do them in the morning despite getting to bed well on time, but if I put them during the naptime block for the kids I don't have much time for piano practice or am late prepping dinner. Thus, some shuffling might need to be done. Other than that, no news is good news and I don't have much more to report. I have another week or so of P4 and then I will be loading next Wednesday and Thursday, I think, and commence another P2 from there. I'm excited for the weight loss in round two, but I confess I'll miss my maintenance eating! Still, it's not worth doing if I cheat (and as Diane reminded me in a recent blogpost, I'm only cheating myself!) and so when R2P2VLCD1 (round two, phase two, very low calorie day one) begins I will give it my all, right down to prepping food with gloves again. And I'm so ready to shed another twenty or so pounds and make a new set point. This first round was marvelous and I am crossing my fingers the second will be, too.

taryl | General | 5 March, 6:20pm | 17 comments

Good morning everyone! Yesterday saw me eating Japanese for dinner and the sodium bounced me up to 180.4 this morning, so I'm doing a correction day to get back down in my window. The quicker such gains come off the better, they're easier to lose when they don't hang around for a few days. I have no idea why that is, but I've observed it to be true and it is one of only two rules regarding the protocol and maintenance.

Last night while grabbing dinner we went to the butcher and I got, among other things, some nice steaks for just this purpose. So I'm going to fast this morning before church and just have tea, then for a late afternoon lunch/dinner I'll tuck away a big steak and apple. That's a steak day, in a nutshell.

Also in that haul last night was pork belly and beef suet so I can render lard and tallow for cooking. It is tasty, inexpensive, and incredibly easy. I need to pick up a few more jars and lids at the grocery store to have something to put the rendered fat in for storage, so it may be a day or two before I can proceed, but I'm looking forward to both the fat and delicious cracklins left behind ;)

We'll see how well the steak day works for me tomorrow morning. Until then!

taryl | General | 4 March, 6:13pm | 6 comments

Weight was 177.6 today for no apparent reason. No complaints here!

Did the Total Workout Instructional yesterday and it wasn't too bad, but my body was quite fatigued and I couldn't do as many reps as previous. Still, good 45 minutes of hard muscle conditioning. Except for Thursday (and the meeting that messed with my schedule) I managed to work out every day of the week.

Today might include a mini-date. We'll have Seth along, as only the girls are going with Grandpa for the afternoon, but it's still better than nothing. Lilah's bed is almost complete and the stair portion just needs sanding and finishing, then the whole bunk bed can be erected. Yay!

I need to knit two more baby hats for friends, and finish polishing the current song I'm learning for the kids, "Children of the Heavenly Father". It's a busy day!

taryl | General | 3 March, 7:21pm | 10 comments

I debated even making a blog post today as I am incredibly boring and so is my news. My weight stayed the exact same again, 178.0, even with the subway processed meat and hydrogenated dressing goodness. It was tasty and a good option for when I am out in maintenance, but I might not make it my weekly meal out anymore. Just not *that* good, you know? It turns out the wrap bread it was on used to be the draw and taking that component out makes it less lucrative.

This is the story of my weight when my cycle doesn't factor into it - stable. Almost completely stable. I don't get massive weight swings unless I eat something offensive or do something out of the ordinary, like a workout I'm not used to. My weight bounced a little in P3 with settling, hormones, and exercise, but I don't think it is premature to call this window my new set point. Which means the protocol did exactly what it was supposed to, despite what the skeptics claim - I lost weight incredibly quickly without hunger or weakness, nor did I lose an appreciable amount of lean muscle mass. I blasted my food allergies and cravings, while still being able to eat somewhat normally in maintenance. My metabolism is healed and I can do the aforementioned maintenance on a good number of calories a day without gaining - no more starving my metabolism down to nothing so that I'm maintaining on a very low number. And most importantly - the protocol's food and timing specifics have locked my lost weight in and retooled my body to this new low set point where I can maintain (or get back to it if I slip) with only minimal effort.

If the prior journals on this blog and this eventual conclusion aren't proof positive that, after a few years of seeking to lose weight, the ATW Simeons protocol is what finally enabled me to do it and do it with permanence and ease, I don't know what would convince a skeptic. I was as unconvinced in the beginning as anyone and now I'm a total believer through my own experiences. This is not a diet and is unlike any body composition and weight management method I have seen. At this point, except for avoiding the foods that mess with my body (grains, legumes most of the time, sugar) I look, act, and eat normally. I'm not fighting myself daily with food OR the scale. The tape measure is even my friend (shock!).

Now I'm heading into ovulation and do expect some water retention from it. I am also continuing to exercise almost daily (yesterday slipped away from me thanks to a Missions Committee meeting) and some of those days might cause more soreness and scale bounce than others. But overall my weight is stable and I am feeling good for heading into the next round. I can't ask for more than that, after so many years of severe obesity I am becoming my normal weight, healthy self again, the one I knew was in there under the mound of emotional eating and overindulgence.

Victory, at least in this moment, is mine.

taryl | General | 2 March, 7:21pm | 8 comments

Quick update - weight was stable at 178.0 again, no issues. I worked out with Instructional #2 and there was less soreness this time, thankfully. Other than some mid cycle spottings due to hormones (whenever I lose a bunch of weight I end up with longer cycles or an extra period in there, it's happened three times now) the day was thoroughly uneventful and today is more of the same. No complaints here!

For starch yesterday I had half a cup of rice and a serving of Thin Mints. I am generally avoiding the latter but they were already here and I decided to see what would happen. The wheat didn't create any immune reactions and neither did the sugar, nor did I have any cravings for more beyond the 'yum!' response. I'm still completely on board with just not eating things like that except for the rare occasion but I am grateful that it appears occasional exposure to problem nutrients neither kicks up an intense immune response anymore, nor did it start a nasty craving cycle. I'm not keen to push the upper limits of either issue with regular ingestion again, though! Once every week or two, max, is fine for me.

taryl | General | 1 March, 5:58pm | 8 comments

Not much to say - 178.0 today, despite some lingering soreness from the beating-I mean workout- I did the day before yesterday. Yesterday afternoon I took a small break and did a different TTap workout that focuses primarily on the stomach and includes Organs In Place (OIP), Half Frogs (HF), Elevators, Hoedowns (HD), and Advanced Hoedowns (AHD). Ten or so minutes, definitely challenging, but not full body rigorous. Today I'm looking to do Instructional #2 again, so more pain will surely follow. I'm thrilled that I can have much lingering muscle soreness (a sure bet for water retention) and yet not have the scale bounce out of my range of 174.6-178.6. I'm still definitely in the upper half of that range thanks to the strength increases, but no correction days are needed since my food has been in line. I'm considering upping my calories by 100-200 as I am technically where my food tracker indicates I should be losing half a pound per week, without exercise, but I don't want to begin and upward trend again, either. Still, as long as I am working out daily I should be able to maintain on closer to 2100 calories a day instead of 1950 or so, which seems to be having me lose a bit (undesirable for the protocol). I'll up the calories for the next few days and see what happens.

Yesterday I managed another serving of rice and no weight bounce or ill effects, so as far as starches go that one is good on my list. They are still calorie dense, though, so I'm limiting exposure beyond 200-400 calories a day worth of things like rice, sweet potatoes, or banana.

Tomorrow will be an experiment in processed food to an extent - I have a favorite sub I used to get regularly a subway that I'm going to try again. I am still pretty committed to no wheat except on the rare occasion, so I am getting the sub as a salad instead of a sandwich, but the dressing has some sugar and definitely some vegetable oil and thus is something I won't eat regularly, as well as having lunchmeat (definitely not ideal for health but a little won't hurt). I want to try it again as I like it a lot, but I know my tastes have changed since I last ate it. I'm still half considering nixing the idea and just going for sushi and teriyaki instead. Also sugar and starch heavy, but maybe more satisfying in terms of quality and palate. Tough to say. Either way I am definitely planning my weekly meal out with care - I've long decided that if I'm eating something with less than ideal nutrients it better be worth it (lava cake at a restaurant is worth it, a week old hoho is not, for example). I like subway very well and it is nice to have a preference there to fall back on when we're on the road that's not going to bug my body, so the salad version of my favorite sandwich would be a nice experiment, but a part of me just doesn't even want to go there in terms of nutrition and would prefer higher quality food, overall. So it's a quandary I have another day to mull over.

Whatever I get will be good, I know that much, it's just which one is wiser for the dollar AND nutrition. In the meantime, my daily eating is solidly healthy and tasty - yay! I'm quite satisfied. That's progress in and of itself - a healthy daily eating menu I can live with and enjoy that also satisfies my body's needs for certain nutrients without causing inflammation.

And that's my progress as it stands today. Weight and food stable, exercise good, biggest conflict being which tasty meal is going to be better value for satiety and the dollar. Tough time, eh? ;)

taryl | General | 29 February, 6:22pm | 13 comments

So my weight was 178.2 today. Nice and steady, even with some rice with dinner. Progressing a little starch back in has worked out just fine. And I did my first block of TTap's Instructional #2 last night. Crazy difficult, and I'm feeling it this morning!

For our first analysis, let's look at my weights and trend line for P2 to today, so you can get an idea of what stabilizing looks like on the scale, even with exercise added in.

Despite plateaus in losing and bouncing up and down a bit in maintenance, you can see the adjusted trend line is pretty smooth and I am maintaining well. Below are the specific weights of the past month of maintenance, so my progress and fluctuations become more apparent.

Some weights up, some weights down, generally very stable and I'd say maintenance has been quite successful, so far. And now for the surprising part. I missed my TTap on Friday and Saturday, and wasn't feeling too much pain this past week. Not insane muscle soreness or anything else. And yet let's take a look at my measurements this week as opposed to two weeks ago, when I began. The original figure is in parentheses.

Bust: 43 inches (was 46 in)

Pecs: 42 inches (was 43.5 in)

Ribs/Underbust: 34.5 inches (was 36 in)

Waist: 34 inches (was 36 in)

Abdomen: 42 inches (was 45 in)

Hips: 43 inches (was 47 in)

Upper Thigh r/l: 24/23.5 inches (was 24/24 in)

Lower Thigh r/l: 17.5/17.5 inches (was 17/17 in)

Calves r/l: 14.5/14.5 inches (was 15/15 in)

Upper Arms r/l: 13.5/13.5 inches (unchanged)

So I had a week of missing some exercise and not really feeling a workout, and yet I lost 15.5 inches off my body in two weeks, WOW! I don't think I look much smaller, but my butt has gone a bit higher, my back fat/bra bulges have smoothed, and overall I am a bit former and less jiggly. The scale tells a story of maintaining weight or seeing it bump up a bit, but the inches lost on the tape measure are what really matter and on those I am nothing but gobsmacked! Even the shirt I posed in for my last picture, the pink striped one that was a bit tight in the abdomen and breasts, fits amazingly now. I weigh about the same as when I wore it last, and yet the fit is probably half a size looser than last time, maybe more. The loss of my limbs, which were always quite trim, has been negligible. But my torso? Major shrinkage.

And THAT is the progress I have to report from two weeks of hard work with TTap. It is an excellent system and does exactly what it promises - trims, tightens, and energizes. And even though I am maintaining my weight loss right now, being able to still lose sizes without food restriction is excellent. I'm calling the TTap Bootcamp a smashing success for me. Now my goal is to do more Instructional #2 and alternate it with Instructional #1 and the floor exercises, so I'm not working hard every day of the week, but I am getting some exercise in frequently. And I look forward to more inches AND pounds coming off over the next few months. I want to see what more TTap can net me in my maintenance mode with food, and then we'll see what I can comfortably sustain when I do round two of the hCG.

taryl | General | 27 February, 6:14pm | 6 comments

Sorry for the blogs absence, our Internet was down for two days and then I was insanely busy, and blogging just couldn't happen. My weight today was 178.4 and has been steady or a pound above that for the past few days, depending on my food intake. I had Ladies Craft Night on Friday and a baby shower hosted at my place yesterday, so I chose one of those events to eat a little more junky and the other was a correction day. It all worked out nicely and I got to enjoy myself without deprivation OR excess gains.

Unfortunately both of those days were without TTap. I just couldn't fit it into either day, I was busy cleaning the house top to bottom for the shower and had my Friday truncated with all the preparations necessary for being gone in the evening and do the working out slid to the wayside. I'm home from church right now with a migraine that started last night and just won't go away, so I'm not promising to get in a workout today either, but it's on the docket unless my head doesn't stop pounding sometime this afternoon.

I got tons of weight related comments yesterday, so I'm thinking it was either the clothes or the fact that many of the shower attendants hadn't seen me in awhile, due to going to the evening bible study or first service (neither of which I attend). It was nice to get notice and I enjoyed shocking people a bit with mentioning that this wasn't actually an overnight thing and I've been losing weight for several years, but that a fairly had come off In the past three months. Slow weight loss doesn't get much notice, and people tend to forget what you used to look like (which is one of the reasons I keep my 'before' pictures here, to remind ME what it used to be like!), so having people notice was unusual and nice. I don't necessarily like all the attention on me and my body, because I don't accept compliments with ease, but I'm getting better at being gracious and appreciative without feeling vain.

On another random side note, which I'll blog more about when there is more information, apparently there is a move in the FDA and with Visa that has stopped all sales of rX hCG outside the US, and throttled the supply in country for prescriptions of it, off label or otherwise. In the time my Internet was down there was apparently a mass movement on the popular online pharmacies where they simply stopped selling because Visa wouldn't process payment. The entire thing is complex and confusing, but it seems to come down to banning as much hCG or hhCG product as they can. This stop order came on the same day as the FDA passed final approval on a new weightloss drug called Qnexa. Coincidence? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Upon reading the first of these emails when my Internet came back up, the postman came with my express package of hCG from Alldaychemist. I had ordered enough for three future rounds, worried about the supply and not wanting to pay the flat rate of shipping for a smaller quantity. It was definitely an eerie relief to have my hCG show up safe and sound, and to realize the very place that sent it now can't do business with that product anymore. I'm so thankful that I was compelled to order it when I did, or I'd be in the lurch. The hCG has been such a blessing to me and other users, it is frustrating and infuriating that it has been choked down upon, when other substances with far more deleterious side effects and cases of harm are readily prescribed every day, and encouraged for use in unsuitable populations (statins and hormonal birth control, anyone?). Now the only way to get hCG in the US for weight loss use is through clinics, most of whom butcher the protocol badly and charge exorbitant amounts for doing so. To say the protocol purist community like me are unhappy about this turn of events and the level of control being exerted upon us is an understatement.

I'm considering dividing up my remaining hCG, most of which is packaged in larger sublingual use quantities, for injection. I can get twice as many doses out of it if I am not going sublingually. The thing is, I would have to weigh and repackage the powder and that's not easy to do and keep it sterile. So I'm mulling... Either way I have enough for two long sublingual rounds and one 32-ish day injection round, if it is needed. I ordered more bacteriostatic sodium chloride for a mixing medium, more sterile mixing bottles, and more mixing syringes, but the place I ordered my supplies from was already out of subcutaneous sterile syringes. A lot of the supporting businesses dealing in hCG supplies or products have been clearancing their stock, this place was no exception, and so I'll have to find more syringes elsewhere, which won't be too hard. Still, I feel terrible that so many business owners are having to close up shop when there is both a demand for the product and their services, all because of government regulation.

That's been my last five days in a nutshell. Weight stable, period on the way out, busy busy and MORE busy, my future round hcg arriving, and hCG availability apocalypse. Is it any wonder I took a few days to get a blog out about it all? Sheesh.

taryl | General | 26 February, 8:53pm | 7 comments

After one more correction day yesterday I am back down within my weight window to 178.4, so now I shall proceed eating normally. Still in the heavy flow part of my cycle and that's not comfortable or fun, but what can you do? One nice thing about losing weight is that my periods, at the very least, have gotten much more predictable (28-29 day cycles on the dot, except for two wacky months, over the past year) and they've been several days shorter. I used to bleed badly for 7-9 days and now I have maybe 3-4 heavy days and a little spotting on either side. It's a definite improvement and I know the hormone changes that have come with losing all that excess weight (reducing my previous estrogen dominance) are partially owed for that!

On less TMI news, today is day one of P4, where I can gradually transition back in some sugar and starch and see how my body reacts. I don't actually have any plans to do so today, nothing starchy sounds appealing! Maybe whatever I cook for dinner might have a starcher vegetable I can have a serving of, but beyond that I'm comfortable eating as I have been. I think breakfast will be eggs fried with peppers and onions, some bacon and coffee. Lunch will be sardines and mayo, cucumbers, and berries with cream. If I need a snack it will be an apple and an ounce of bergenost cheese (most delicious thing on the planet, I assure you). Dinner will likely be broiled salmon, and maybe I'll make the honey mustard/pecan/cornflake version? That, plus broccoli and carrots and a piece of dark chocolate sounds divine. It's maybe a serving of starching the topping, as it's about two tbsp of cornflakes and a teaspoon of honey per four ounces of salmon. I love that recipe so seeing if I can tolerate a bit of it sounds good, but I don't want to eat enough starch or sugar to precipitate cravings, so I'm being careful. My plan is still to save the little bit of the sugar/grains I am eating for occasional meals, rather than a daily thing. I like my current way of eating fine the way it is!

Tomorrow night I'm still vascillating between sushi and fajita stuff with a little rice and beans (but no tortillas, not worth it!). White rice is not inflammatory for me and I don't think it causes crazy cravings either, so the questions becomes whether eastern or southern preparation of it sounds tastier ;). Throughout all of this I'm watching the scale for food sensitivity-related bounces and keeping a close eye on how I feel, too. Correction days will be had for increases that aren't correlated to hormones or exercise. I have three weeks of P4 before I load again and go into another weight loss round of P2 and my interest is in keeping this as clean as possible for maintenance. I want to get used to NOT eating grains or sugar as a rule, because I have an inkling that is my very best way to maintain without constant bounces.

TTap went well last night. I am reconsidering doing instructional #2 for a few days, though. My reasoning is that tripling my workout length is asking for soreness and scale bounces, which seems like a bad idea on my first day of working back in a little yellow light food, so to speak. I'd like to give myself a day or two of P4 without scale craziness to see what the food does, independent of the exercise, or I'll have a really hard time teasing out what is causing the reaction in terms of water retention, you know? If I do these one at a time I'll have better luck. So I'm sticking with the exercises I am used to right now, that aren't making me bounce up the scale right now, and up the difficulty a few days from now.

That's the plan, anyway. I think it is solid enough but only time will tell.

taryl | General | 22 February, 6:36pm | 7 comments

I could have titled this 'It's a crampy day in the neighborhood!', complete with the lovable jingle, but I restrained myself ;)

My period is not particularly heavy but very uncomfortable today, which is unusual for me. I'm not much of a cramper (or rather, they haven't phased me since going through childbirth a few times!) but I've been very sore and achy today. Thanks, hormones! Beyond that I'm doing well. I did a yogurt correction day yesterday which was very pleasant, though now my bowels are a little loose, and was down from yesterday's high to 179.4 today. I am doing a steak correction day today, just to get a little closer to my window (and because I like steak, darnit!) and calling it good. I'm also expecting my bloating to drop off tomorrow or the next day, as it usually goes away by two or three days into my cycle. That will also be a good thing.

TTap is going well. Despite horrible dental pain last night after my filling I still managed my Basic Plus instructional (sans the plus part, I didn't do my hoedowns because I was tired, but everything else was completed) and am thinking of doing one more day of basic today, and then maybe switching to the Total Workout for the remaining five days or so of my Bootcamp. I need to consult the TTap message boards to see what combinations other gals do for their maintenance weeks of TTap and I'll let you all know what I decide.

P4 starts tomorrow and about the only thing I might change is add in a little more nuts and cheese. Thursday is my normal restaurant dinner night and I might have rice with my fajita fixings, but honestly wheat bread or pizza crust just doesn't sound appealing. I'm sticking with the low starch and almost no sugar for most meals, but I might start eating rice or bananas with a meal a day. That's my personal max, I think, before I start craving more and feeling icky. And I'm not willing to push the envelope except on the rare occasion. So my P4 for the next three weeks will look a lot like my P3 - just with more flexibility at dinner time. That's my route to maintenance success - the occasional treat, but a clean daily eating plan that doesn't mess with my food sensitivities or glucose.

I'm going to go practice piano, bake the weekly bread that's just about done rising, do my workout for today and start on dinner for the family. I had my apple and steak for lunch so I'm just drinking tea the rest of the evening, which is fine because I'm not hungry, anyway!

taryl | General | 22 February, 12:14am | 9 comments

My favorite time of the month still hadn't shown, though I know I'm not pregnant, but I'm sure it is due any time now. How do I know this? Well let's consult the scale! This morning, regardless of what I did yesterday (it seems), has me at 181.2. I worked out hard, sure, but that is appalling! I know it is just bloat from my hormones but it still has me itching to do a correction day. I have a new tub of Greek yogurt in the fridge just begging for use, as well as a few steaks.

Scale bounces are frustrating when you're not sure what is going on. I'm okay with exercise bounces and okay with hormonal bounces. Combining the two is freaking me out a bit, especially when the protocol is vigorous about staying inside a maintenance window and I know I am outside mine thanks to the aforementioned factors. And yet my eating was on par and has been continually, and my measurements are fine. In fact, I am consoling myself with my measurements today. I am a week into my TTap Bootcamp and there are some small changes to my numbers, which I wouldn't expect to see if I had actually regained five pounds of fat from my last dose weight. So I'm taking a deep breath and not being psycho about this (hopefully). I will not pin my self worth OR success on a scale, and I will repeat this until I believe it again and am not succumbing to PMS-related mood swings.

TTap measurements comparison, parentheses are last week's numbers.

Bust: 45 in (-1 in)

Pecs: 42 in (-1.5 in)

Ribs: 36 in (0 in)

Waist: 35 in (-1 in)

Abdomen: 43.5 in (-1.5 in)

Hips: 45 in (-2 in)

Upper thighs (right and left were same in all below): 23.5 in (-.5 each)

Lower thighs: 17.5 in (+.5 each)

Calves: 14.5 in (-.5 each)

Upper arms: 13.5 in (0 in)

So clearly some things have changed, though I am up three pounds from when I began. I gained half an inch in each lower thigh (the method is big on quad activation so I'm not surprised) but lost half an inch off the flabby upper thighs. Some measurements were unchanged. Most lost. Counting the areas I didn't change or gained inches, I am still 8 inches smaller than I was last week, over various spots. Am I crazy for thinking that is definite progress, screw what the scale says? My body is smaller and denser, even if it weighs more, and it isn't gaining weight because of food, but because I am building lean mass (which eats fat, so take that, PMS angst!).

I'm no crazy slave to the scale, and am actually surprised I am so bothered today by all this. I do think it is some hormonal moodiness, and a small part is my long history of daily weighing where that WAS an accurate barometer for me. But the more I strength train, the less it is, and I know it. It's just frustrating but I'll get over it. Today is a victory, because I am cinching up and getting lean. And I'm going to focus on that, darnit! If I'm eating within a reasonable calorie budget, to my hunger cues, working out, and happen to be at the end of my cycle? I will NOT take that gain on as though I've somehow failed at weight maintenance. It's just not true and it's a lie I won't tell myself. This is me, actively resisting that temptation.

taryl | General | 20 February, 6:30pm | 5 comments

So I did the instructional #1 video this evening, which is the slower, explained version of the Basic Plus workout. Good stuff, about 23 minutes long. I focused in on the move I wasn't feeling good activation with, the TTap Twist. It seemed I couldn't reach at all and keep good form, or get any decent stretch to the side without literal bone on bone feeling in my side. I just couldn't bend down.

The reason? Apparently I was mis-figuring where my bottom rib was, because it didn't seem like it could possibly be right. The distance between my bottom rib and the top of my hip iliac is literally two fingerwidths, or between 1.5-2 inches. I am, by Teresa's definition, a short torso body type. And in my case, a VERY short torso. And true to her word, I put on weight like one (in my back, neck, shoulder blades, and tummy, but not in my limbs). I had originally measured this gap as larger because I couldn't find my bottom rib or figured that couldn't *possibly* be it, because it was so LOW! But sure enough, when I bend to the side and feel for the gap, it disappears almost as soon as I tilt my torso over. So I can't get a good stretch on this exercise (or at least obviously good, it still works but doesn't take much movement) because I have almost no room in my torso for spinal mobility from side to side. I'm just too short in the waist to have a lot of flex to the side.

Also a point I noted while working out, that she commented on, was that I easily and quickly lose my pelvic tuck when I move because I tend to overcompensate my lack or torso mobility with straining my spine and sticking my butt out for leverage. Put more simply, I have bad posture and if I am not consciously correcting it when moving, it reverts back to a spine-damaging reverse curl instead of a spine-protecting tuck. As someone whose chiropractor is continually amazed at the bad state of my back and who, last year, had actually LOST the curve in my upper spine and was bending the wrong direction (I wonder why I had neck and back pain? Hmm...), these posture notes are crucial for me. Moreover, now that I am tucking my buns, lifting my ribs, rolling my shoulders back, tightening my shoulder blades, and making sure my knees and out and not pronating, I am SHOCKED at how much better I feel and taller I stand. It is a little soreness-inducing, because it is working muscles in my body that didn't previously get proper use, but it is a huge improvement and it will definitely lessen back problems in the future, to correct my posture now. It also makes the exercises MUCH more effective to be activating all these muscles in my body to just hold the proper form, all motion and resistance aside!

She covers all of this in the book but being reminded during the exercises, at times when I am often subconsciously doing the exact thing she is cautioning against, is very helpful. For my eighty-ish dollar investment I've received about eight workouts and their addendums from TTap, seminar content, body type information that really helps me understand my form better, and permanent discounts for other TTap products. I can say already that, while it looks expensive on its' face and she has many more videos, the Total Workout system and monthly special is a great value for the money spent! I feel results, even if I can't see them in the mirror yet, and it is such an adaptive and gentle workout for the true muscle workover it creates that the whole system is an excellent investment for all body types and fitness levels. I was slightly skeptical, but I'm sold! The only thing I like even nearly as much as TTap is Callanetics, but it is a long workout and feels more challenging for the same results. I also think TTap is more gentle and thorough with instruction, though either are excellent.

The only thing this system can't change, it seems, is my funky physiology whereby I don't actually have a waist taper - just ribs leading to hips. Oy. But while it can't make me less of a troll in terms of torso-to-limb proportion, it does try its' best to help me target my problem areas and have realistic expectations of my body as God made it (stubby torso, gangly legs, yay!). TTap fails to turn me into a tall, wasp-waisted blonde, apparently, but I can't fault it too much as it does seem to be pure magic, short of that!

taryl | General | 20 February, 4:48am | 7 comments

Good morning! My DVDs did indeed arrive yesterday so they are now uploaded to our media system and can be played. I'm also putting a few of the workouts on my iPad. It definitely helped me get the flow of the workout better than the book, though I have pinpointed one exercise where I need to go back to the book and study the form checks, as I don't think I am activating my muscles properly during it.

My period is due today and I'm sure I'm retaining a bit of water. This morning was 180.6 and I'm feeling a bit bloated, not as bad as previous months, though! I'm enough outside my window this morning I am considering doing another correction day, but I haven't fully decided. I have supplies on hand for an Egg Day and that's about it (I've needed to do a grocery run to a store other than Costco for half the week!), so I might pick up some yogurt or steak after church and commence one. Knowing I retain water in the first few days of my cycle makes me less inclined to correct, but I'd also rather be back nearer to my window, even with exercise. However I haven't been overindulging with food at all, so I'm wavering on that count. Hmm...

I'll be working out during the kids' nap, more than likely. I dislike doing my workouts with my husband home, but he will be out in the garage finishing up the bunk bed for the girls, so I doubt he'll disturb me. Either way, I need to fit one in today and that's the most likely spot.

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Due to a lack of supplies on hand and no overindulging the previous few days (plus, definite end of cycle bloat) I decided a correction day was too much trouble as this moment no not necessary. So today will be normal, clean eating. Breakfast was eggs fried with peppers and onions, some bacon, and coffee. Lunch will be chicken soup (I'm straining out my part of it before adding the rice for everyone else's), an apple, and tea. Dinner will likely be sardines with homemade mayo, berries with cream, steamed green beans and pumpkin with spices for dessert. That should be about right in terms of nutrients and calories.

taryl | General | 19 February, 6:19pm | 8 comments

Not much to say, just checking in. Continued my normal eating and Bootcamp workouts for TTap (which, fingers crossed, should be arriving today in DVD format!). Weight was 180.2 and 179.4, so it has been fairly stable with just a slight gaining trend this past week. I was expecting far worse for workout swelling and muscle building and I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm still eating 1950-2100 calories a day and doing fine. My focus is on keeping those high quality - less cheese and more meat ;)

taryl | General | 18 February, 8:47pm | 7 comments

Despite feeling like I was beaten with a particularly large stick, I'm back down half a pound to 179.4. I took a peek at my waist measurement and it appeared to be down a little over an inch, so despite the soreness and weight gain (wheee! Water retention!) the exercise appears to be doing what I wanted it to. Building up more lean mass before the next P2 can only help things. I am noticing some visual trimming on my thighs, too, so we'll see how much those have shrunk by in another ten days.

I do indeed have the DVDs on order now, though I'm grateful the book instructional is becoming a little easier to follow. Today I'm going to be focusing on really activating the muscles on my arms and back as those aren't feeling as worked over as the muscles in my legs and abs.

As for food, I've been quite hungry the past two days, which I assume is due to the workouts. Thus I've been eating to satiety if hunger is still bugging me, with protein primarily. An extra 200 calories or so did the trick last night, which sounds like about what I'm burning in exercise. Go figure, right?

taryl | General | 16 February, 5:45pm | 6 comments

Weight was up a negligible .2 to 179.8, despite the seemingly eternal flame burning out all the muscles from my knees to my shoulders ;)

With the workout taking longer than my morning exercise block I decided to do today in the afternoon, as I did yesterday's exercises. I only have half an hour set aside before the kids wake for this purpose, so for now getting more sleep and concentrating in a longer spread at 2 pm is working better than trying to read through and do the TTap at 7 am.

My husband surprised me with some beautiful roses yesterday evening, which was great, because it was a terrible night. Everything went wrong, from spilling bacon grease in the oven (yay grease fire!), to Seth knocking over my tea, to searing the potstickers I was making for the family nearly-permanently to the skillet. It was just one thing after another and by the end it was laughably bad. So surprise flowers? About the only upside of the night!

Speaking of my husband, he received news yesterday that he is either getting a promotion up a job title (and pay grade) for his great project and productivity record, or his boss is camping outside of HR and demanding to know what the holdup for such a move would be. He was, apparently, the most productive of all the design engineers of any level, including his two coworkers hired on at the same time, to a higher job title. He has also continually fought for an improvement in standards and specifications, which is a big deal in a company like Alyeska, and got the attention of the management up to the vice president. All excellent things and I am very proud of him. I know he's incredibly bright and dedicated to producing exceptional work, but it is quite nice to have others noticing the same, too! So with any luck we will be seeing a pay increase and shiny new job title for him in the next month.

Not much else to report in. As I said in previous posts my food was in line and fine yesterday, so I won't do a correction day for m weight bouncing up because it is muscle inflammation related. Wherever I start round two of my hCG at is where it will be, because at this point I am more focused on building lean mass and muscle density than dropping pounds. The inches will tell, for now the scale has taken a backburner as my diagnostic tool of choice. I'm still logging my weight each day, but the accuracy of such a thing goes down quite a bit when muscle is built. Oh well!

- - - - - - -

My addendum wasn't long enough warrant its' own post, but it still deserved mention. I did my workout this afternoon (will the burning ever end? Probably not...) and it went better and smoother. I credit Diane for this, actually, as I knew Teresa had a few YouTube videos but didn't bother looking. While it wasn't even most of the content of her Basic Plus workout, there were enough bits and pieces that I could get a better idea of the tempo and sequence, at least. The bigger problem is that when I watch her I tend to lose my pelvic tuck as I move. I clearly need to engage my brain more!

Off to make dinner - spaghetti for the family, tasty rabbit food for me ;)

taryl | General | 15 February, 5:37pm | 5 comments

The Greek yogurt and berries was a massive success in terms or being filling and fairly low calorie. I used the only full fat Greek yogurt easily available, Greek Gods brand, and that plus some vanilla stevia and a few drops of Capella Drops in New York Cheesecake flavor was exactly like a berry cheesecake. Major yum!

I also did my workout just now and it went well, not too sore and a little smoother. I need to keep studying the moves (I highlighted the pertinent instructions and left out the form checks and comments, so the working moves would be easier to read quickly - it was a big help!) and I am more and more convinced that if I was recommending this to a friend, which I would immediately, I would tell them to buy the DVDs and get the book to help, not the other way around. I am thinking of pleading with my husband to advance me some of my personal budget from next month to buy a copy of at LEAST the Basic Plus workout, because I think it will make this go much more smoothly. Once I have the sequences down I won't need to use the DVD every morning to follow along, but to get a solid idea of what the complex moves actually look like in real time, and then to use the book to tweak and clean up bits, would be SO much easier.

So live and learn from me - TTap is awesome and I feel great. The book ("Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes" by Teresa Tapp) is a well written gem. But doing a complicated, involved workout sequence with just really good pictures and descriptions makes translating the moves to real time and real speed, without constantly breaking form to turn pages, almost impossible.

That's all she wrote, folks. I'll check in tomorrow morning with weight and soreness updates ;)

taryl | General | 15 February, 1:27am | 8 comments

... And let's not forget it is also Bootcamp Day 2, for TTap. Given how shockingly intense the (slow) workout of yesterday was, I expected more soreness. But I shouldn't have, as Teresa makes a point of discussing how TTap stimulus the lymphatic system and improves elimination of all waste products, including lactic acid in muscles. And sure enough, I was fractionally sore compared to the amount of real pulse raising, challenging exercise I did. Today I'm up to 179.6 on the scale with that soreness, which is much better than I'd been expecting. All in all I am very pleased.

As I said yesterday, unless I know I overindulge food wise I will not be doing Simeons correction day or the alternate correction days for exercise swelling, so today's weight is expected and fine. I'm looking to gain lean mass/muscle density and lose inches here in maintenance, because that is what matters, aesthetically, more than the number of how many units of force I exert on the earth thanks to gravity! At the end of this fourteen day Bootcamp, if I see inches lost I will consider it a success, just like I consider my stabilizing on the hCG a success.

I was really wiped out this morning and decided to sleep an extra hour and do my bible study and workout in the same afternoon block as my piano practice. It's not ideal, but I need more time to think through and puzzle out the moves before I begin the workout so it goes more smoothly. I've decided that when we have the budget I'll order the TTap DVDs, at least Total and MORE, and use the book diagnostically, but for now I can make do with what I have just fine. The good news is that even with imperfect form the inflammation in my muscles (to the deepest layer of my core and itty bitty one's I didn't even know I had!) indicates that this is still a shockingly effective workout for the time spent.

On a slightly different subject, I am going to mess around with what I eat for breakfast today and see if I can find a sweet spot of enough protein and fat but not crazy calories. I'm thinking an apple and sausage or Greek yogurt (full fat) and berries might be a good fit. We'll see!

taryl | General | 14 February, 5:57pm | 5 comments

The correction day brought me back down right on the threshold of my window to 178.8 today. I'm doing one more correction day, an egg one, just to get back UNDER my window instead of matching it. The steak one went very well, but it is better not to do two correction days of the same type in a row. Thus, today I can eat 12-14 eggs prepared with fat, spices, and an ounce of cheese to make them palatable. I'm doing scrambled, hard boiled, and cheese omelet. And I will probably never want to see an egg again ;)

Today was also my first morning trying out the TTap Bootcamp! I'm doing the Basic Plus 15 Minute Workout and WOW - for being gentle, body-weight only movements in a specific and controlled sequence, I'd swear I'd just come off of mountain climbing. My heart rate was way up and by the end of the first exercise my legs were already quaking with fatigue. It is amazing and my entire body feels worked over in ways an hour of Jillian Michaels could barely produce. My neck and lower back also feel nicely aligned, even as my obliques and quads are quivering like a rabbit cornered by a fox. Yeow!

As I suspected I will probably get the DVD to learn to moves by, since the book is precise and perfect but reading through the exercises while holding the positions means I am both holding my counts way too long AND having to leave my form regularly to flip pages. It is less than idea for trying to learn, though great for brushing up and fine tuning. The entire thing is complex and intense enough that there is a real learning curve, but after doing one full workout I absolutely believe that this can and will do all the intense reshaping and sculpting Teresa Tapp claims! It's brilliant, really. I am sure the scale is going to bounce with insane muscular inflammation tomorrow morning, and after two weeks of doing this Bootcamp there is no way I'd not have gained significant lean mass, so while I will watch the scale and keep recording on here for the next two weeks, I am only doing a correction day if I *know*, for a fact, that my eating was indulgent. Otherwise, I'm sticking to 1900-ish calories as I have been and generally ignoring scale jumps for the time being. They will settle after this two weeks is over and I am in the tapering off/maintenance mode of the exercises for a few months, but right now my body is getting worked over in ways Gold's Gym would be jealous of, and I'm not foolish enough to expect that won't mess with the scale's outputs too much for the aforementioned implement to be useful.

So what will I use in place of the scale, to determine ultimate progress in TTap? Exactly what is recommended - a tape measure! I took my measurements last night in a TTap-specified way, with its' signature stance. Some of the measurements were larger than my previous numbers because of that stance and no exhaling/sucking in/stretching upward, etc. But regardless of the slight differences the stance created, I am effectively the same size right now as I was when I ended P2. So I will be measuring multiple body points as per the workout's recommendations every week and posting them on here. If the scale goes up five pounds but I drop five inches off my torso, I'm considering it a massive success because that means I am dropping fat and gaining muscle. That my goal, anyway!

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My starting measurements were taken 2/12/11, in the evening with clothes on and TTap stance engaged:

Bust: 46 in

Pecs (just above bustline): 43.5 in

Underbust/Ribs: 36 in (this was over my shirt and bra band)

Waist (at or slightly above navel): 36 in

Abdomen (three inches below navel): 45 in

Hips: 47 in

Upper thigh: right - 24 in, left - 24 in

Lower thigh: right - 17 in, left 17 in

Calves: right - 15 in, left - 15 in

Upper arms: right - 13.5 in, left - 13.5 in

Now, this is obviously many more points of measurement than I was previous losing, so I will show more inches lost than by my previous method because I am using more data. Still, I have been losing inches off my calves and lower thigh, for example, whether I was measuring it or not. So it isn't like including the data is skewing the numbers or making the meld seem more effective than it is. Rather, since this method focuses entirely on inches lost (most users toss their scales completely and a smaller, healthier body, regardless of the weight it logs on the scale, is what we're all going for in the end!) the more data points the better.

Teresa also had us figure out our body types by measuring the proportions of our ribs to our hips, knee to ankle joint, and hip to knee joint. Unsurprisingly, I have a short torso and long legs (a little longer in the torso than her archetype, but only by about an inch), which means I don't struggle with saddle bags or cellulite (true!) but that getting a really dramatic, small waist might be beyond me (also unsurprising, I noted the same thing in daily life). My ribs have widened a lot with pregnancy because my torso doesn't have extra space to easily move organs elsewhere, so they wedge up under my ribs and expand that measurement, making me look broader (also true, I have definitely noticed this). That said, these movements can cinch in the ribs significantly and improve posture and muscle tension throughout my torso, so even though I'll never be a bikini model I can have nice proportions with the body I have. The only reason she gets into body type is to help us poor users know what we can and can't expect out of our bodies, given how God built them. The entire exercise was hugely informative and I learned a lot I had observed or suspected but never linked together and acted on.

And thanks to my Mom's side of the family, a short torso and long legs was a known factor, but TTap actually tells me what to DO with it :)

I would talk more about this, but the kids are rabbling in their cribs and it is time for breakfast. Needless to say this workout is incredible and I am eager to see how it shapes my body. It has everything I loved and needed about Callanetics (which I used to do) with a quicker format and less repetitions. It is also more targeted and intense but still gentle on all my problem areas (like my neck). At the end of this two week Bootcamp I'll take a new photo and we'll see if a difference is obvious.

PS: going down the stairs? My thighs burned with the fire of a thousand suns. This is gonna be good!

taryl | General | 13 February, 5:50pm | 6 comments

Well the date was AWESOME! It was so nice to get out and do something fancy, even if I felt a bit overdressed in the middle of the day. Unfortunately a fairly romantic afternoon turned to misery for my husband when he quickly came down with some sort of bug (seems viral, not food poisoning) and was miserable the entire evening. Such is life, though I certainly hope he feels better soon!

I was still up at 179.8 today, so I'm doing an official correction day. I'm taking in plenty of fluids (lots of tea and water) and fasting until mid afternoon, then I'm doing an early dinner consisting of a huge steak and an apple. These correction days often end up around 1000-1400 calories and Simeons indicated they are good for flushing one's system. If this correction day doesn't put me back under my window I will do another alternate day until I am in range again.

One of the brilliant things about the protocol is that, with vigilance, regains (for whatever reason they came on) don't get out of control. Overindulgence, food sensitivity, hormonal weight swings, all can be managed easily with correction days and a little attention if caught quickly. The problem is when one doesn't stay conscious of what the scale is doing and assumes ignorance is bliss. That leads to ten pound regains or more, from what I've seen. I decided many moons ago that wasn't going to be me, and an ounce of prevent was worth many a pound of care when it comes to my rear! So my mission is to get back firmly inside my window by the protocol-advised means. I'll let you know how it goes!

taryl | General | 12 February, 6:09pm | 6 comments

Of course.

I should have seen this coming from a mile away. Of course the one day of the week I CAN'T do a correction day, due to having restaurant reservations for a date, I end up over my window in the morning.

I weighed in at 179.6 this morning and as far as I can tell (it wasn't calories) dinner did it. Instead of the steak I was planning, I ended up cleaning out my vegetable drawer a bit and doing corned beef with radish, carrot, and cabbage. Corned beef is a sodium bomb of deliciousness and I make mine with a bottle of beer, too. Those two foods are BIG water retainers for me (small amounts of alcohol are permitted on P3) and unless I badly miscalculated my calories, they are the reason for the scale jump.

I am almost positive I am being taken to a steakhouse today for lunch (my husband is keeping the location a surprise) and I could do a semi-correction day with a salad and steak, but the rest of the day requires fasting and usually the steak is a dinner item, not a lunch item, which would make fasting the rest of the day tough. I am thinking of doing aiming for as close to a correction day as I can, given that I must eat out, and if the scale is still high tomorrow I will devote myself to another correction day to take care of it quickly. It's hilarious to me that the one time the scale bounces outside the window is the one time I can't take steps to fix it, protocol style! But as I said, it's always like this. Murphy's dieting law, right?

TTap reading is going well. Today I'm going to measure my vertical body proportions and figure out, once and for all, what body type I am. This will dictate the kind of workouts that are effective for my frame. Good stuff!

taryl | General | 11 February, 6:02pm | 6 comments

Scale showed 178.6 today, at the tippy top of my window but still inside it. I had my weekly takeout dinner (hamburger without bun, in this case) last night and I think that might have been a bit of a sodium bomb. I'm doing a day light on dairy and heavy on fiber today, just to clear out my system a bit. My husband is taking me out for our valentines date tomorrow afternoon and since I'm going to be eating more richly then, I figure eating lighter today can only help!

I have been reading through my TTap book and I'm excited to start! I have more to read through and will probably be familiar enough with it by Monday to begin then. I'll touch upon some of the unique features of the workout another time but needless to say I know why homeschooling moms of many are such big fans of it! Gentle, short workouts that are highly effective, can be done through pregnancy, inexpensively, and work precisely on our trouble spots (core strength, pelvic floor, cinching of waist and hips, etc)? Yeah, it's got my name all over it!

It seems my body is quite happy in the top half of my range, the 177-178 range. It makes me all the more glad I decided to stick it out on the hCG a week or two beyond what was required (beyond the 23 days) because it does a whole lot for my brain to be maintaining in the 170's instead of the 180's. Even the high 170's give me quite the sense of achievement, not to mention the last five pounds made a visual impact on my figure. It was the right choice to do a longer round and I will keep that in mind for round two and three. I'm also pleased that I can really push it on my calories, compared to before, and maintain solidly right around where I need to. I can eat normal, satisfying amounts of food, and I anticipate being able to eat fair amounts of carbohydrates in P4 without gaining as well. I can't and won't do a starch-heavy diet and sugar is gone except in tiny quantities like honey in tea or the occasional dessert at a party, but the maintenance amounts of food and types I can tolerate well are exactly what I was hoping for.

I admit it might make me twitch to watch the scale go up with TTap, which just further solidifies my gladness that I picked a lower goal than a higher one to end this round on. It gives me more mental 'cushion' to let the scale do its' thing without freaking out on my side of it. I am SO thrilled to get the fitness component going in this, as I am already feeling (metabolically, anyway) much improved, but getting my muscles working, lymphatic system pumping, core strong, no energy up is going to be a real treat. After six weeks of no intentional working out, I am incredibly ready to get going again.

Breakfast today was some polish sausage, two hard boiled eggs, and coffee. Lunch will likely be chicken salad (leftovers from the fryer I roasted on Tuesday) using cucumbers as 'crackers', an apple, and some pumpkin if I am still hungry. Dinner I'm thinking of broiling up a steak and having that with some broccoli and cauliflower. We'll see what the scale does tomorrow, but I am hopeful I will stay right in this sweet spot of the range. Yes, I'd prefer being in the lower half (174-176) instead of the upper half (176-178) of my weight zone, but my body seems content to settle here and I'm not about to push it over a few vanity pounds. Stabilizing, even on the higher side of my preference, and nailing down that set point, is far more important to my long term success. I want my body nice and regulated here before going down the scale again. That is far better fire insurance against regains than cutting my calories for another few pounds, when my body really just needs to rebuild its' stores for the time being.

taryl | General | 10 February, 6:42pm | 5 comments

Still stabilized in my window, this morning was 178.2. I'm bouncing around the same pound in most daily fluctuations which makes me think I hit my maintenance calories on the head (yay!). Since I seem to be quite stable right now on weight and my TTap book came I'm reading through it and then beginning as soon as I 'get' the basic workout. I will likely gain a few pounds in inflammation and muscle density, both, so I wanted to be sure my weight was really stable in my range before 'gaining' with my workout. I won't do a correction day for workout-related gains because food isn't the issue, so you can why I wanted to have my weight ironed out before making the scale jump around with exercise!

Last night I roasted a chicken and am making stock from the bones right now. The skin and dark meat? Totally worth it! Very satisfying and quite filling, I forgot how tasty basic roasted animal flesh actually is! Some spices, salt, olive oil, and a few hours of heat? Mmm! The bone broth has been simmering since last night and the entire house smells amazing. I'm going to cool it, skim off the fat, portion it into Ziplocs in 2 cup quantities and save it in the freezer for my lunch soups and such. Provided it is skimmed of excess fat the broth is also P2 compliant, so I can use it on the next round, too.

Speaking of the next round, I am putting in my order for more hCG soon. I've decided I'm doing the next round sublingually, now that I have a baseline for how I did on injections. Every round is different, but worst case scenario ifi find the sublingual less effective I can just order more syringes and make my batch injectible, instead. I'm not a huge fan of sticking myself with needles so I'd like to avoid it, if possible, I do like the precision and knowing how much dose is in my system without the variability of my mouth and swallowing getting in the way, but the sublingual doses do compensate for that by dosing more, and more frequently, to achieve the same blood saturation of hCG that injections create. This, concerns about dose strength and consistency aren't particularly warranted.

I'm willing to give it a go, anyway, but as always I will be reporting in and reserve the right to switch up my dosing mod if it doesn't work out. The hCG takes awhile to ship which is why I am putting in my order now, so hopefully it will be here with plenty of time to spare for round two.

taryl | General | 9 February, 6:57pm | 7 comments

Weight dropped a bit to 177.4, back in the middle of my range, post-ovulation. Monday went well and packing my own stuff went over without adieu, Tuesday was busier than Monday (we have bible study, a lunch date with daddy, and chiropractic in the evening) and that also went smoothly. I don't really have much to talk about today, as is likely going to be the case most days in maintenance (unless something interesting pops up). I'm still waiting on the post office for my TTap book and messing with my macros and meal sizes to figure out what is most satisfying to me.

I've added back in extra dark (70-85%) chocolate into my diet, since the sugar is pretty much non-existent, and it hadn't sparked any cravings OR gains. That's great news, as a square for dessert is one of my favorite treats, next to berries and cream ;)

taryl | General | 8 February, 5:43pm | 7 comments

The weekend went well - despite restaurant eating, superbowl food (P3 appropriate, of course) and ovulation-related water retention I am still hanging out in the upper half of my weight window, with my daily weights stable in the 177-178-ish range. I thought for sure I'd have to do a correction day in here, but thus far my weight swings are small and controlled, which is exactly what I want. This morning was 178.4, which is .4 below my window. I am expecting a decent drop back down a pound or so in the next few days as the remainder of my monthly bloat goes away. Both ovulation and menstruation cause water retention in me, so I am understandably pleased that it hasnt been enough that I've left my happy spot on the scale (between 174.8 and 178.8).

As I had a somewhat indulgent weekend I was planning on lighter fare today, according to my hunger. I have a playdate with a friend today and am thinking of just packing my lunch to take the pressure off of her trying to cook for my weird food needs, but I can't decide if that would be more helpful or rude! She's a sweetheart and knows I'm just trying to help, which makes me think it wouldn't be a big deal, but I must mull over it more before I decide.

taryl | General | 6 February, 5:37pm | 5 comments

Can I tell you how excited I am to have permission to eat the kind of breakfasts I find most satisfying, after sifting throu all the drivel that pushed carbs and low fat for YEARS? It's the kind of happy that is enthusiastic and annoying to others, to put it lightly ;)

This morning I had six ounces of leftover Parmesan grilled chicken thighs (skinless, boneless, because that's what lived in my freezer), two pieces of bacon, a tbsp of coconut oil (with a little stevia and cocoa, it tastes like candy while really helping my digestion and inflammation), some coffee with a tbsp of cream. This clocks in (with generous assumptions on the olive oil in the chicken dredging) at just under 580 calories and satisfies me for hours. High fat, moderate protein, almost no carbohydrates to speak of. I supplement this with a small salad and some fruit for lunch and I am good until dinner, with well over 1000 calories to spare for it, if I am actually that hungry (I usually am not). It makes for a satisfying, filling way of eating that tastes great while not sparking cravings or the vicious cycle of dietary inflammation I battled for years prior.

I love bread, oatmeal, sugary treats, and even low fat yogurt, but none of these foods are actually healthy for my body and I respond terribly to them. Eliminating them (for the most part, the occasional bite isn't an issue) permanently seems like so much less of a hardship when seed butters, fruit, creamed greens, and roasted meats replace them. Whole foods, prepared with healthy fats, are the focus of my weight maintenance diet. It keeps calories, satiety, and nutrients all in optimal ranges for my particular body's needs and is not only doable but enjoyable long term. Processed foods like bread, margarine, diet ANYTHING, or sugars, are what I avoid like the plague these days. It is no hardship, and that is what makes maintenance that much more simple. I already know how to move, eat mindfully, watch my portions, etc... The composition of the food is the final piece of the puzzle.

With that in mind, for me the food looks like lots of animal and some plant fat (a little olive or coconut oil, lots of lard and butter) someone protein, and filling the rest in with fruit and veggie roughage with the occasional treat of chocolate or a little cheese. Down the road in P4 (long term maintenance) I'm going to work in about 400 calories or two servings a day of low inflammation starches like white rice, plantains, bananas, taro, starchy winter squashes, and the like. The rare serving of bread or wine also won't break the bank, but those can't really be a part of my daily diet and have me looking and feeling my best.

Many of my dieting friends probably think I've gone off the deep end, but what constitutes success and health for each of us varies depending on our bodies and needs, and this is where mine is. It's a great feeling to finally find that sweet spot where I'm not fighting my food for dominant health of my body. Eliminating the problem items and pinpointing which ones were the real issue has been SO helpful, the weight loss is just an fabulous bonus. The hCG has aided in my appetite control and hunger cues to such a level I can barely express the full extent of the blessing it has been. All these little pieces are working together for my health and it makes me SO happy.

The last piece is exercise, and finding a routine I like that strengthens me. That will be taken care of in the next week when I begin my new routine (I'm awaiting my book right now!). I hope TTap is the magic bullet of strength and flexibility I need, and if it isn't then I am going back to "New Rules of Lifting For Women" and building strength that way. But regardless of the specifics, I have a general idea of what plan I need to follow to really build my body the way I want and that is most functional for me, so that's a step in the right direction, too.

All this post is to say that I'm not insane, weird, or going off the nutritional deep end. But I am adopting a paradigm that is dietary heresy to many, and yet is saving my health appreciably each day. Stick with me and let the results speak for themselves over the next few years, yes?

taryl | General | 3 February, 7:03pm | 4 comments

Well I can say with confidence now that a little full fat dairy, at least doesn't seem to be netting me appreciable inflammation on the scale or throughout my body. That's good, because a little cheese and cream is a favorite of mine, even though I have zero desire to chug milk or even eat a bowl of icecream.

My weight today, with full maintenance calories, 70% of which came from dietary fat, was 176.4. Well within my window, a new low, and all around good times :). The refeed of fat and protein has me feeling and looking great, and overall very satisfied. I even ate a restaurant item (low carb version of the six dollar burger from Carl's Jr.) as my dinner item last night and had no ill effects. It is nice to have some flexibility to eat out again, even though I don't do it more than once every week or two, and have it be no issue.

I am still measuring and calorie counting until I get a better feel for my maintenance window, but I'm also listening to my hunger cues. My mother was right when she made the prediction that I'd be ravenously hungry for a few days into P3 as my body replenished its' protein and fat stores, so I am more inclined to overeat right now than I'd otherwise be, but not by much. So I need a little more structure these days than I will in a week or two. It was the same way in P2 - I calorie counted for the first two weeks to get an idea of what the daily foods needed to look like to reach 500, and then when I'd memorized the basic portions and my hunger cues began working again (yay!) I could stay well within the limit without struggle and didn't need to log to lose weight or not overeat. I'm aiming for that again. I will likely always write down my food for accountability, but I like being in the place where it is just noting items item and not tallying against my daily total to keep me on the straight and narrow. It is a subtle difference, but the former has me with better control of myself and more harmonious feelings about eating than the latter!

Today should be fun - we're going to a friend's house for the girls to play and me to chat. I hope my dietary needs don't put her out too much, though!

taryl | General | 3 February, 6:05pm | 5 comments

Yesterday was just about heavenly, when it comes to the satisfaction of eating food after being on such a strict course. I had fair amounts of both heavy cream and sunflower seed butter (nuts and dairy) which can cause some people problems with weight swings, but even with the extra food volume in my digestive tract I still weighed in well inside my window at 177.2 today. Yay!

I was brave and tried a few new foods to see if I could add them to my daily diet. And I must say, both the sunflower butter and sardines (not together!) were surprisingly tasty.

In terms of satiety, it looks like a larger breakfast, light lunch as my hunger dictates, and larger dinner is the ticket for me. I get hungry enough in the middle of the day that I can't just get by with breakfast until 5:00 pm, but my appetite for lunch (when I am listening to my stomach) isn't generally substantial. Yesterday I had grapefruit and some celery with sunbutter and that was enough to satisfy me for a few hours. Breakfast was am omelet, bacon, and coffee, but I think I'm cutting out the coffee and just sticking with the chai tea I have grown used to. It's lighter and more satisfying. Dinner was roasted chicken thighs rolled in olive oil, Parmesan, and spices, along with a broccoli/carrot/cauliflower veggie mix and some berries with cream. I reached my daily fat goal of about 70% of my calories coming from fat, and my calorie totals were somewhere around 1900-2000 calories for the day (I counted portions generously, so it is tough to say). That's all right in the range I want to be and none of the foods seemed to cause any problems except my system initially getting a little shocked by the fat after six weeks without any dietary fat at all.

Today I'll proceed on in much the same fashion, I'm still watching nuts, dairy, and cheese closely but it doesn't look like they'll cause problems. My biggest issue this morning is that I have woken up with a nasty headache that I think is due to barometric pressure changes (we went from below zero and dry to above freezing and sleet/rain in the space of two days) and that is making the thought of waking up the kids and listening to the daily noise a little less attractive than it might otherwise be >_<

I'll report in of my head explodes or anything interesting happens!

taryl | General | 2 February, 5:27pm | 5 comments

The much-anticipated day has arrived - as of breakfast this morning (in about half an hour) I'm maintaining for six weeks. The first three I can eat anything but sugar and starch, and must remain in my +-2 lb window on either side of my last dose weight (176.8), the second three week period I will be reintroducing some 'safe' starches and a small bit of sugar to figure out where the balance is that doesn't make me regain weight or have inflammatory responses. My daily diet will be permanently light on sweets and grains, with limited dairy (a little cream, some cheese, yogurt, etc), and very occasionally I will have a roll at a restaurant or a sub sandwich. I'm working at 80-90% permanent healthy dietary compliance long term, so the second half of maintenance (P4) will be the process of me finding out what I can eat in small quantities and what makes me feel sick, regain, etc. That will create my new food list as to what is verboten for my system.

It sounds complicated but it really isn't - eat, log, watch the scale and listen to my body's response. And P3 will be similar. I can essentially eat anything I want except sugar and starch and will just continue daily weighing to maintain my weight, doing a correction day or upping the calories depending on how I shift outside my window.

This morning's weight was right on target again - 176.8 - and measurements are as follows (parentheses are the change in measurements from 1/24/12)

Waist - 34 in (0.0)

Hips - 44 in (-1.5)

Bust - 43.5 in (0.0)

Underbust - 35 in (0.0)

Thigh - 22 in (-1)

Upper Arm - 13.5 in (-.5)

So I lost a little, even in just a week. I am down 3.6 pounds from the previous measurements' weight, and dropped 3 inches to go with it, off of unexpected places. Typically my legs, arms, and hips haven't budged much, so maybe they were due, but overall I am now fitting well into size 14 tops and 14-16 jeans, depending on the cut and brand. For my first round I am extremely pleased with my losses, both pounds AND inches! And while maintaining it will be anticlimactic from a blog perspective, it is an absolutely crucial step before I go and lose more weight. The high fat, moderate protein, high fiber diet of P3 is designed specifically to encourage my body to create a strong set point at this new weight, which will help me maintain and refeed my body's stores to aid in continued losses in the next round. The mental break of being off P2 can't be overstated, either. This is NOT a diet that is intended to go on forever. It is a phase to be done briefly, it is very effective, and the real benefits of the plan are to heal the body's systems and recalibrate the hormones relating to eating and fat storage so that we (the former obese) function more like normal bodies, not ones that constantly seek excess food energy and store fat so readily.

Dr. Simeons goes into this in much detail in "Pounds and Inches", but the short of it is that this experiment of mine, thus far, has worked perfectly, and I can recommend hCG weightloss to those willing and able to stick to the very prescriptive specifics without reserve. But as with ANY diet plan, you must stick to it and be willing and able to continue maintenance behaviors, or you WILL regain. The hCG and protocol it is used with makes it a little harder for your body to do that, but not impossible. Vigilance is required and maintaining your weight and health is a daily process of accountability and good choices.

On a slightly less serious topic, my breakfast today! I am planning on an omelet (two eggs, a little cheese, bell pepper, onion, sautéed in lard), some bacon, and a little coffee with cream. We'll see how that holds me over until lunch. I'm watching my fat amounts (they need to be high) and my hunger cues very carefully throughout this process, am aiming for around 2000 calories a day to see what the scale does.

Lunch will likely be a giant salad with homemade cilantro dressing (sooooo good!), dinner will be braised short ribs, some vegetable side dish (likely lots of broccoli and cauliflower with bacon) and some blueberries with cream.

You cannot believe how decadent and satisfying this sounds to me right now. I don't even miss sugar and bread, because the richness of the meat and veggies and a smidge of dairy sounds just that good ;)

taryl | General | 1 February, 5:20pm | 6 comments

Today finds me right back on top of my maintenance range, smack dab at 176.8 again. This is very good and exactly where I want to remain. When fats, protein, and a little more variety and fruits and veggis get increased tomorrow, I will be watching each item and quantity carefully to establish what appropriate foods and quantities allow me to maintain in this range of two pounds up or down from my last dose weight, and adjust accordingly. It will be even more crucial in P4, three weeks from now, when I add some starch and tiny bits of sugar (like mango or a date, some extra dark chocolate... Oreos, sugary coffee drinks, doritos, and their ilk have been banished semi-permanently. They won't have anyplace in my house or daily diet, but I don't swear I won't have a bite at a Christmas party in three years ;).

Given that starch and sugar is where my cravings are, that transition will be the more challenging of the two. It annoys the calorie counter in me that I have to ban certain foods from my diet as much as possible, but those foods make me sick and fat and life isn't fair. There are so many wonderful things I CAN eat, that are nutritious and strengthening for me, focusing on the whole world of possibilities within that realm rather than the pitiful, flavorless, artificial junk works much better for me. At this point my palate is unaccustomed to normal sweetness and even rich food, in general. I plan on keeping my mouth delighted with rich, savory, healthful fare and keeping the sugar and sugar substitutes to an absolute minimum. If I don't start down that road, I can't fall down the rabbit hole, you know?

So this is my very last day of VLCD for six weeks (minimum), and while I can't say I am sad to see it go, I admit that food is very simple when my choices are so straightforward. I am keeping that mold as my path to success, in that I am building my maintenance diet around similar types of foods that are nutrient rich and nutrient dense, with fat, fiber, and protein to keep me sated. I'm also keeping a list of no-go foods to keep myself maintaining well, and the trick will be continuing to listen to my newly discovered hunger cues and not falling back into straight calorie counting (where I find myself eating food because I allotted for it, not because of real hunger). I'm going to watch myself like a hawk when using my logging app (Loseit!) that the quantities I am inputting is just for macronutrient accuracy and that I don't slip back into the log it/eat it all mentality that is easy to do.

Tomorrow is measurement day. I don't think I've lost anything significant in the last 3-4 pounds but it will give me a nice baseline to work from for the next round. I mentioned my maintenance goals of staying in my window and adding more exercise last post, and I'll add to that my desire to start the next round at my last dose weight from this one, and lose another 15-20 pounds to put me in the 160-165 range. I'd love to be lower, but that depends on my body and I can't control the scale. Knowing the protocol, a reasonable expectation to lose half a pound a day is about all I'll bet on ;)

taryl | General | 31 January, 5:55pm | 7 comments

I couldn't think of a snappy title, so you get a long, but descriptive, one instead!

Thanks to my bowels, I weighed in at 177.6 this morning. It's always a good reminder that the scale just weighs YOU, and you have a whole lot of metabolic processes going on at any given time that make your weight slide around a bit. Inches lost, increased energy and vitality, a downward scale trend overall, these are the indictors I recommend looking to for success if you don't have a strong scale detachment like I do.

My TOM is still staying tapered off, just a bit of spotting which I have discovered hCG causes for me. So I'm sticking with this transition and calling it good, no need to dose with extra hCG and do more days. Thanks to my mother reminding me, I'm also looking to read through and start a TTap exercise routine. I was thinking of starting Callanetics again but it is a little tough on my neck and back, as well as being a LONG routine, which TTap is not. That, plus starting a dance class, are my reward activities right now. I'm looking into local belly dancing instructors, as it is something I have always been interested in. And building up my core muscles will help my back alignment immensely, as well as be beneficial for things like childbirth. I have a weaker core than I should, and I'm really convicted that it is time to rectify it.

I admit I still love my Leslie Sansone DVDs and recumbent bike, but the vacuum in my fitness is muscle related, not endurance or cardio based. I honestly do enough moving around during the day that I don't think I am doing a whole lot for my health with my exercise time by doing moderate cardio. Strength training is where it is at, and I am one of those gals who is naturally inclined to it and enjoys it. Thus, my next set of goals includes getting regular with my morning exercise time being dedicated to things like TTap or even resistance bands, instead of bike time. The latter is more relaxing, but I need to us my time more beneficially than that!

Nothing much else to note - I got a TON of weight compliments at church yesterday, I must be looking slimmer to friends (finally) and wearing my size 14 jacket and 16 pants, along with some nice heels to give me a little height, drove the point home. I've decided final measurements WILL be coming on Wednesday, right before I start P3, so I have a baseline to see how much more might come off my body during my maintenance break. Everything else is in a holding pattern right now, which makes my posts a bit boring ;)

taryl | General | 30 January, 8:36pm | 5 comments

Yes, the caplocks were necessary. My period has tapered off for the most part, the symptoms are gone to the point where I am comfortable transitioning off the hCG (I'm kind of going back and forth on doing another three days, just to be SURE my hormones don't interfere with stabilizing, but I don't think it's necessary. I'm mulling still...), and I reached and exceeded my goal of losing 30 pounds this round!

Day 40, my last hCG dose day unless I change my mind, saw me weighing in at 176.8! I blew right past 177, so from my starting load weight of 207.4 to today, I am down 30.6 pounds! WOOHOOOOOOO!

Barring any last minute changes of my plans, I now have 72 hours to remain on the VLCD and let the hCG leave my system before entering P3 on Wednesday morning. P3 is a time when I have lots of protein, fat, and fiber, but NO sugar or starch, and work on keeping my weight in a two pound range on either side of today's last dose weight of 176.8. That means the next three weeks I need to keep my weight between 174.8 and 178.8, or I must do a correction day to get it back within range. Calories are maintenance level, and other than no sugar or starch (including abstaining from some fruits and veggies that are too high on either of those counts, like mango or potatoes), it's normal food. I hope I stabilize well and it isn't a fight for me.

I might take one more picture to mark the end of this round, and more measurements, too. Let me mull over it and get back with my thoughts later. Right now, it's time to get ready for church. Adios!

taryl | General | 29 January, 7:23pm | 12 comments

Yes indeed, Ladies Craft Night went very well and I stayed on plan despite the effluvience of goodies. I had two crackers that were there because I forgot to pack my grissini and that was the equivalent calories' worth of starch, but everything else just got sniffed, admired, and passed over as I crafted.

I'm hoping it wasn't just dehydration from not getting enough water last night, but this morning I was down to 178.0. That's just ONE POUND away from my goal. And since my TOM appears to be tapering down, unless I have an unexpected resurgence I am making tomorrow, Day 40, my last dose day. Then I have 72 hours from that last dose to continue my VLCD and I am in P3 by Wednesday morning. It's actually here, I'm so excited! Not only do I get to focus on stabilizing and maintaining, but I might actually get to do it at my goal of 177 - which would be 30 pounds lost in this round, 80 pounds total loss since I began in October of 2008.

Wow, right?

I know I'm thrilled about it, I am so ready to make this weight my set point and progress forward to another round or two afterward. I look great, if friends and family are to be believed, and I FEEL great, too.

taryl | General | 28 January, 9:19pm | 6 comments

This morning I am down .8 lbs to 179.0. I'm in the middle of my TOM and doing well in terms of cravings, mood swings, etc. if the hCG is supposed to stimulate the endometrial lining and create heavier periods, I haven't noticed. Mine are as heavy as ever, but nothing unmanageable, so the injections will proceed as normal.

Tonight in my monthly Ladies Craft Night and I am a little sad I'm still on the VLCD portion of my diet. I wanted to be transitioned to P3 for this but it was not to be, so I have to abstain from my monthly treat and social time - at least the 'treat' portion of it!

I'm planning on bringing pickled cucumbers from my dinner vegetable allowance to snack on, as well as tea and sparkling water. The Capella drops I mentioned before are PHENOMENAL and make killer Italian sodas when mixed with stevia, so that will be my 'treat' along with some caffeine that doesn't require creamer.

I am making a peach coffee cake for everyone else. I know how good that recipes tastes, but as of right now my temptation to eat it, myself, is really quite low. Good thing, right? The weight loss and desire to lose this last two pounds on this round is very, very motivating to me to stick to my guns and NOT cheat myself out of them. I really think I can make it or get darn close over these last few days on my period and that coffee cake is not my friend when it comes to how it makes me feel. In future craft nights it might be worth it to have a small slice of cake or a cookie that aren't grain or sugar free, but my standard daily fare is definitely going to be as close to devoid of those things as possible, so the occasions I DOnhave them don't break the dietary bank and make me gain, have immune responses, etc.

Tonight I will be plying one of my weaker crafts - sewing. I have a few projects to complete (altering a previously made skirt, hemming some pants that were given to me by a much taller friend, finishing two aprons I already started) as well as beginning work on a new skirt. I bought the pattern for it when I was in the 190's and was one of the largest pattern sizes, and now I am the very bottom size offered and that might be too loose and need adjusting! So I wanted to make a few skirts out of it now, while it still fits, and I can just take them in as I shrink more. Sewing is one of those things I am fairly competent in, but I dislike cutting patterns and fabric, and do better when drafting my own patterns than following someone else's. But on terms of fit and style, the professional patterns have an edge and so I'm suffering through my dislike of them to get the final product. I think at least some of my reticence is due to being unconfident and inexperienced with the execution of them, and that I might enjoy this type of sewing more the more I do it. There's only one way to find out, right?

Anyway, craft night looks to be both enjoyable and a little disappointing, all at once. But I can do anything for six weeks, including abstaining from the tasty baked goods of my friends :)

taryl | General | 27 January, 6:46pm | 14 comments

Not much to report in - weight is unchanged from yesterday at 179.8, eating is fine, cycle is progressing, clothes still fit awesome.

In fact, on the subject of clothes, I do have one thing to excitedly report - I have this picture in my 'before' heap, and it has been highly motivating for me to aim for that weight and appearance as an initial goal:

I still have that tunic and skirt, which I sewed with a friend and her mother when I was fourteen or newly fifteen, if I recall. The skirt has tabs on the waist that can be pinned to adjust the fit tighter or looser, though it can be tied in a knot if it's getting loose.

Now, I am positive I am still ten pounds away from my weight in that picture, and that my shape has changed to a more curvy, womanly one in the intervening decade since it was taken.

But the skirt spent all of yesterday knotted around my waist. While my hips and bosom are much more shapely, my waist circumference is the same as it was back then. If that isn't a non-scale victory, I don't know what is!

taryl | General | 26 January, 6:12pm | 9 comments

Yes indeed, I was down at 179.8 today, and thus have finally, officially earned a new (nice) purse, whenever we can fit it in the family budget. It was my reward to myself for reaching 180, and the reward for 170 is a new wallet to go with it.

I've decided to just dose through this TOM instead of skipping three doses, as I mentioned a week or so ago, to comprise to my previous experience and decide which works better for me. I have my baseline weightloss from the previous period and so we'll see if the hCG makes any difference during it or not. The protocol recommends skipping three doses for the three heaviest period days, but many women don't skip and have no issues, so it seems to be a personal preference.

Beyond that, not much more to say. I have online purse shopping to do!

taryl | General | 25 January, 9:32pm | 17 comments

As mentioned in the previous post with my measurements included, it is time for new pictures since I hit the bottom of another ten pound milestone. Weeeeee!

Excuse the silly face, my husband was doing his typical make-the-wife-laugh routine. I don't see much of a change when I look in the mirror, it is nothing hugely dramatic, but I do see subtle changes between this picture and last month's shot. A well fitted shirt makes a difference, too!

I'm really happy with the progress in this shift in pounds. I'm beginning to look more 'normal', even though I'm still medically obese for another ten or so pounds. My husband claims there's been big changes and he loves it, but I can't see anything dramatic. I think more of that has to do with the skewed view I had of myself as I went up the scale, rather than dysmorphia going down. When I got heavier, I still thought I looked fine, you know? I wasn't really 'seeing' the weight, but rather seeing myself how I used to look. So now that I look like that again, it seems like everything righting itself rather than any big shift downward, because I didn't see the initial gain accurately or realistically. That's denial for you!

And now the side shots. 180.4:

VS 190.4 for comparison:

This is where I see more differences than straight on. My jawline is changing, sure, but losing much of that mummy tummy pooch from the c-section and subsequent weight gain and loss. My hips and belly look a lot more streamlined, as does the fat distributed through my back. It's just... less. No better way to put it.

And yes, I hide a surprising amount of hair in my bun every day, don't I?

That pink shirt was one of the cute hauls I got at Salvation Army last week. It's a little long in the sleeves and runs small, but in another few pounds (and with rolled sleeves or a cute blazer) it will be perfect!

I'm very pleased with my losses right now, there's no denying it. I have five or so more days I expect to be in the VLCD phase, thanks to TOM, and then I have six weeks to keep my weight as stable as possible (no gains OR losses) before trying to lose the next twenty or so. I am incredibly eager to see what I look like at 160 now as an adult instead of a high school soccer player, and I will do cartwheels off the roof with newly sprouted wings when my slight leftover chin/cheek fat goes away. And speaking of facial shots, I didn't have any good ones on this batch of weight photos, so I took a quick snapshot with my cute, but bed-headed, daughters. See you tomorrow morning with (fingers crossed) weight in the 170's? I certainly hope so!

taryl | General | 25 January, 6:54am | 6 comments

Well, it *will* be picture time, if I actually remember to take some today. I am 180.4, or 26 pounds down from my load weight of 207.4, six-ish weeks ago. Since I have started taking pictures on round numbers, seeing a nice 180 means I can snap a few comparison shots and maybe one for posterity.

My TOM also officially started, though it is a few days late, so now I will remain on the VLCD and hCG shots until the bulk of it ends, then I will transition off the hCG for 72 hours before starting phase three. That's the plan, anyway, and thanks to my cycle's somewhat shady timing I might actually reach 177 as my last dose weight after all, which would be nice. That puts me 80 pounds down from my official start weight on this blog, anyway, and gives me a good number to start from for my second round, too.

I don't know if it was a bug or hormones, after the headache yesterday (that took hours to go away and lots of ibuprofen) my stomach was unhappy and I was dizzy, too. Apparently there is something going around our church right now and I may have caught it, but it feels like it was short lived.

New measurements may also come today, I'm interested to see if the visible losses on the scale and in clothes are as obvious with the tape measure. I have had an overall slimming going on, which means many inches lost aren't at the points the tape measures, but I think there will still be an appreciable difference.

Here are the news measurements, with the ones from 190.4, back on January 3rd, in parentheses.

Waist: 34 in. (-2.5)

Hips: 45.5 in. (-2.5)

Bust: 43.5 in. (-1.5)

Underbust: 35 in. (-1.5)

Upper Arm: 14 in. (-.5)

Thigh: 23 in. (-.5)

Total inches lost in the last ten pounds: 10 inches!

Ten inches off my measured points in ten pounds is nothing I can complain about, and the numbers show the trend I am seeing in the mirror - no dramatic reshaping of certain body regions like last time, but losing over the entire fat pad around my body fairly evenly - slightly more in the areas I am prone to gaining (torso) and slightly less in the areas I remain more normal (limbs). But I've definitely noticed an overall slimming and shrinking, which is exactly what I need to have happen.

And for an even greater brain trip, when comparing my current measurements with my original start point at 257, back in October '08, I come up with a whopping 50.5 inches lost in three years! If that isn't motivating, nothing would be!

taryl | General | 24 January, 5:32pm | 6 comments

I'm an airhead. I drank my tea for breakfast yesterday and THEN remembered I hadn't weighed in. I also got lazy and didn't want to take a rest day, in case my period started I wanted to have a dose in, so yesterday was day 33 and I have no data for it. Not the end of the world, but it does foul up my self experiment records just a smidge.

Today though, day 34, was good. The scale dropped with some of my water retention and I was at 181.6, which is 25.8 pounds down from the beginning of the round. If I am in the 180 range tomorrow or the next day it will be picture time again. Woohoo! Two non-scale victories have also occurred - my hosiery and undergarments are not causing rolls and bulges at my waist for the first time in a decade, and my size 16 jeans are not only not giving me any muffin top issues, they're actually getting comfortably loose (not baggy, but not tight either). Yay!

The downside right now is that I have a wicked headache from my TOM and the hormone shifts that accompany it, so now I'm laying down for a nap. But overall I still feel really good, if ready to be done with P2 soon!

As for the fish tank, it is going swimmingly (couldn't resist, sorry!) and the two guppies are doing well. I am a little hesitant to cycle the tank with fish in it, as it is stressful for their systems, but daily water changes (approx. 20%) keep that to a minimum. I missed having fish for a few years, they are my favorite pets to watch and care for!

taryl | General | 24 January, 1:05am | 5 comments

Yes, the dreaded water retention has struck full force, I'm at 184.2. This is one of the points where logging my weight for a few years is super helpful, because I'm not freaking out that my diet isn't working and I can't lose weight, simply because the scale went up! Though it is unfortunate, this always happens with my monthly cycle and isn't unexpected. The water weight and a few friends will leave soon enough, it just requires continued dietary patience.

In totally unrelated news, I'm setting up my empty aquarium to be a guppy tank for the kids. It's too small to house anything but minnows, danios, or guppies anyway, and I think they'll enjoy the colors and behavior of the fish. My goal down the road is the build a somewhat extensive acrylic tank for a few fancy goldfish (my absolute favorite) and my husband is both familiar with and somewhat skilled in lexan fabrication and chemical welds, so that's a very doable future project. For now, though, in the absence of our guinea pig (we finally had to put him down when he mysteriously broke a leg in his enclosure - he was already seven years old, blind, and increasingly unable to care for himself, so it was time) I think a small fish tank is the route to go for us. Fortunately I enjoy and am experienced in fishkeeping, and I've been waiting for an excuse to set that one back up.

Thus, I'm off to the store today to get new substrate, water conditioner (mine expired in the time between now and the last setup), and some plants to get the cycling started. Should be good!

taryl | General | 21 January, 7:35pm | 7 comments

Creeping along, that is. I am down .2 today, to 182.8 pounds. Not much progress for clean adherence to the diet day after day, but I can't really blame it. See, my period is due today or tomorrow, if the hCG didn't throw it off, and I always retain water leading up to and during my TOM. While I'm not thrilled it halts the scale, it usually makes for a nice whoosh a few days in. It also explains the mental cravings I was having the past few days - premenstrual hormonal munchies, clearly! And I didn't die by not feeding the desire, either ;)

I really hope my cycle resets right now, as that makes concluding on the hCG much less tricky (you are not supposed to transition off it during your period as it leads to stabilization problems) and this would give me another week of injections or so before I cleanly conclude the VLCD portion, with no song and dance or wondering about how many additional injections to do to offset the hormonal issues TOM brings about when it coincides with the hCG. So as much as I hate the first week of a new cycle, the timing is fairly ideal and it takes the guesswork out of how to conclude this course. It also gives me plenty of time to get closer to my goal, since I CAN'T stop in the middle of it, and takes away the decisions on when to end that I have been waffling over.

So the water retention isn't my favorite, nor is the hormonal snappiness, but this would work out for the best. Unlike the last TOM I am not stopping injections for three days in the middle. I did it once and saw how my body and the scale reacted (not too bad, actually!) as a baseline, so now I'm going to test what the alternative course of action does to me. Stay tuned for science experiments updates ;)

taryl | General | 20 January, 7:28pm | 5 comments

Not much to report in, I am down another .4 pounds to 183.0, with 182.8 flickering in there, too. Slow and steady losses at a slightly lower rate than at the beginning seems to be my lot. That means it will likely take me a full 40 day course to get at or near my goal, which is not what I wanted but it seems to be what my body is happy with. The difference is just a few days, I can make it. Maximum, I have 13 more days on a VLCD before transitioning up to normal calories with high protein, fat, and fiber, but no sugar or starch. It's so close I can taste the steak ;)

Inches are still coming off appreciably. I am not sure they are easy to measure, as it seems the spots I measure are changing minimally, but I am losing in more than just those select data points and the overall effect on my shape is pretty dramatic. I'm nowhere near my goal and still technically obese until the 160's, if I recall, but it's quite the vast visual and health improvement from class three morbid obesity I started out with! The entire thing is a slow, necessary process, and it takes vigilance to maintain it, but I'm ready. My head has been sorted out and my choices are clear, so now it is just a daily working and waiting game, to get the weight off. We'll see how well I stabilize in P3. My next goal is to keep my fluctuations on the scale to the minimum range and really reset my weight there, and I'm eager to get started. But the psychological difference of maintaining in the range of the 170's as opposed to the 180's is huge and worth sticking out a few more voluntary days on this diet.

It is worth noting that the food, especially well seasoning, is far from miserable on this plan. It is healthy and satisfying. My desire to move off the VLCD is less to do with the food I can eat and more a desire for some of the things I can't. More core eating will remain similar - slow eating, smaller portion sizes, food heavy on nourishing components like vegetables and animal protein/fat, with the condiments and accoutrements being things like berries or the occasional chocolate and rice when I hit P4. But the underlying basis of healthy, low-glycemic-impact nutrition with a focus on satiety and hunger cues remains. Ironically it is the way I began this weight journey, with the Don't Go Hungry Diet, and it is the way I will end. Those principles and recommendations, by and large are the same as what I have decided to maintain on. It was and is an excellent diet with solid advice and in the low-inflammation, Paleo vein of thought. Even when I began it, it worked very well for making me healthy and aware of my nutritional needs. The problem was that I maintained on it but didn't lose well. Losing is my problem. But now that I have a vehicle to lose weight, having a healthy maintenance plan already in place is a huge boon to me and will help me immensely down the road.

I say all this to explain that weight loss and health are journeys, and not straight shots down a highway, either. They are winding, with detours and scenic routes and rest stops and even a few blown tires here and there. But everything we learn, every place we pass, has something to teach us. And those lessons that we're learned back in the past are all a part of our progress and can be necessary to us in the most unexpected ways in the future. Coming somewhat full circle over the course of three years is hilarious to me, honestly. And I am SO grateful that the Lord guided me on this path as he did, where I was fortunate enough to begin my weight loss with sensible advice, adjust it with more sensible advice, and come across this section that ties it all together and supplies the missing piece I needed to make the earlier part of the journey work with the destination. HCG has been incredible for me, learning to measure and log food has been such a boon for my awareness, and learning to watch and listen to what my body is telling me regarding nutrition and my emotions, as I first began, is still as wise and useful as ever. That the nutritional approach I was sold on way back in the beginning and moved away from somewhat, in the quest for lower calories, has turned full circle to be my path for maintenance with only minimal adjustments?

Well, let's just say I'm as confident as ever that I don't do this by my own power, but through diligence and perseverence prayed for and received. God is faithful in our challenges, and though His ways don't always make sense to us at the time, it is always for his glory. I am losing weight to be a better steward of my body and a more able servant in my home. It is good to be reminded of both why I am doing this (family), where the journey ends (standing accountable before the throne of God), and why I am here at all, in the midst of trials (to bring glory to Him). For me, at least, the pounds are important, but they pale in comparison to the real reasons for my working in this and other areas.

taryl | General | 19 January, 6:21pm | 7 comments

Sorry about missing a day, yesterday was insanely busy from the crack of dawn (actually pre-dawn, as here in Alaska right now the sun doesn't rise until after 10 am and I woke up at 6:00) to bedtime, and I jut never got time to log on. But it was uneventful, so there wasn't much to document. I was 183.8 (unchanged from dose 27) yesterday and down .4 today, to 183.4. That brings me to 24 pounds, even, lost, and slow but definite progress toward 177. I'm getting there, I am!

I did my shopping at the salvation army last night and bagged some good church clothes and tops, in particular. There were mostly 16's and some 14's that fit, along with two size 14 tops that were a little too tight but were so cute I grabbed them anyway, as I think they'll fit in another ten pounds and it gives me someone tangible to look forward to. The last time I could wear a 14 was when I was 16 and in the 160-175 pound range, so it was pretty exciting. I know there has been some size inflation, but a few old 14's I have kept for a decade also fit, so it can't be too different. That said, thanks to the cut of some garments and general weird sizing, I also have a few size 18 dresses that don't fit flatteringly and it hasn't improved much. I'm beginning to think the issue is less my fat and more my bosy's shape. I am petite through my torso with long legs and a long inseam, so dresses sized for Misses tend to be too long-bodied for me and the waist and shoulders don't hit me properly without alteration. My waist is smaller and my hips are larger than they were when I was this weight in the past, so it has made guessing what will fit even tougher.

Still, I'd rather be fitting in the medium to occasional extra large-in-a-cocktail-dress range, than donning 3x and wondering why nothing looks good. I haven't been there in a long time and don't want to go there again! And really, if I end up at goal at a size 8-10 I won't complain. It isn't itty bitty, but it is a heck of a lot better than where I am, especially if I am strength training along with it. I still haven't narrowed down my goal window beyond just guessing where I want to be (somewhere below 160 and probably around 140? Maybe?) but I'll know it when I get there based on how I look and feel. The number doesn't really matter so much to me.

taryl | General | 18 January, 5:47pm | 7 comments

Finally, some decent movement on the scale!

I was due for it, but the scale jumped from 185.6 yesterday to 183.8 today. So I can submit my weight to my health insurance for a 35% discount off my current rate in a year, if I have maintained at or below the given weight, as well as feel awesome and slender all day ;)

PS: The cravings from last night? Gone. If it was genuinely physiological I'd be more ravenous upon waking, and instead I feel just fine, not hungry or even particularly thirsty. Waiting out cravings is awful for a time, but the long term benefit of saying 'not now' to myself is clear in the scale progress, loose clothes, and feeling proud of a lot of hard work.

taryl | General | 16 January, 5:35pm | 11 comments

I rarely suffer from it these days, but the past week I've had terrible insomnia, despite taking valerian and being dog tired all day long. This post, typed at 11:36 pm when I originally sat down for bed around 8:00, would be exhibit B in the rather unfunny joke that is my current sleep schedule. I have been exhausted all day from poor sleep last night, but I am having a heck of a time shutting my brain off right now. It might be diet related, but I doubt it. More likely hormonal, as I'm also struggling with head hunger and cravings this evening. My period is a bit screwy on the hCG, but I'm not technically due for another week. Still, whatever the reason, the sleeplessness affects both my performance and the scale. For that reason, I really hope some shut-eye will be coming sooner than later!

Food was good today - breakfast, as always, was chai tea with my tbsp of milk and some stevia. Lunch was some baked daikon radish 'chips' with some new spice rub I acquired at our local tea and spice emporium, along with some chicken sautéed with water and the same. The grissini and an apple topped it off. Dinner was shrimp, homemade cocktail sauce for my vegetable, my grissini, and some grapefruit with Erythritol to sweeten a bit. All satisfying and appropriately filling, which makes me sure my cravings for P3 and P4 foods tonight was more head related. My stomach isn't growling and I had plenty of water, so I'm just ruthlessly shoving down the cravings as I toss and turn. They'll be gone by tomorrow, they always are, it's just a matter of my head overruling my emotions regarding food and keeping on plan.

I have been noticing what might be some immunity issues regarding hCG, in both my slowed loss pattern (and tons of little stalls) along with an increased desire for P3-style meals and more food-centric thoughts again. Simeons' absolute maximum round length was 40 effective injections, and I'm over the minimum and just two weeks away from the maximum. My losses have been great and I'm honestly content with ending sooner than later and getting into the next phases for six weeks, as the strictness of P2 is both mentally and physically taxing. I've had so much success that I'm happy to work on stabilizing like a rock rather than pushing for a longer round, as I originally thought I might do. With those thoughts in mind, I have decided I will transition off of my hCG and into P3 either at 40 days or when I reach 177 pounds, whichever comes first. That gives me a window of 175-179 to maintain within for the duration of P3 and P4 and puts me solidly in the 170's, a place I haven't seen since high school.

I am really hoping those six or seven pounds come off sooner than 40 full injections, but either way I think it is a great number to end this loss cycle on and very respectable. I will have lost 30 pounds this round if I reach it.

My clothes are getting too loose, so I will be heading to the Salvation Army to get sme interim stuff for the stabilization part of the round. I'm really looking forward to picking through their stuff, my friend has assured me that right now the selection is excellent, especially among dressier church wear, which is primarily what I am in need of. It is just one sweet reward along this journey, right up there with looking awesome, feeling lighter, and being fairly free of food cravings aside from rare times like tonight.

My plan is to mix up one more batch of fresh hCG tomorrow, on the off chance that sme of my head hunger and restlessness is due to my batch beginning to lose potency. It should take me right through 40 days if needed, with another two boxes of Hucog standing by for mixing either on a future round or if I should have to extend my current round due to a poorly timed period (it is bad to end your last dose during your period, it tends to screw up stabilization, so taking extra doses through the end of it is necessary if dates should fall that way). That makes a nice tidy number, a tidy dose amount, round length, and everything else. I would be tickled pink if I could resume my better losses and get off the last little bit of weight in a week instead of two, but I'm counting on it taking longer and will just be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't ;)

Now. Hopefully my brain will shut off and I can get some rest. If I sleep immediately I can still get seven hours before the alarm goes off. And this, on a night when I went to bed in time to get 10 solid hours. Oy!

taryl | General | 16 January, 8:53am | 14 comments

I have to confess, I was a moron last night. I made a pot of tea right before bedtime (it sounded so good!) and the caffeine kept me up until 4 am, so I am totally sleep deprived today. The scale seems to dislike my zombified state, too, and rewarded me with .2 gain despite perfect diet adherence all week, so I'm at 185.6 this morning. I'm going to get a nap and lots of rest tonight and see if I can't lose better tomorrow. I HAVE to meet 184 for a big break on my medical insurance and I'm so eager to get there, but I've had stalls and slow progress the past week and change, right when I really wanted to blow through this decade.

Still, my whining is fairly empty, as I've had an excellent round and new low thus far. But darnit, I want this weight off and I don't want caffeine and exhaustion screwing with it ;)

More visible changes to my body even with the scale not moving quite as quickly as it did in the beginning (homeostasis is like that, unfortunately!). My back fat, which is a feature of my putting on weight pretty much only rough my torso, has diminished to a ridiculous degree. I have just a little pad of it left between my shoulder blades and one roll near my waist that used to be several inches bigger. Now, it just barely pads the upper curve of my ribs and is almost invisible through clothing. This was one of my least favorite parts of gaining weight, so to see that leaving my form, despite water retention? I could cheer from rooftops, I tell you!

taryl | General | 15 January, 6:30pm | 14 comments

Nothing much to say this Saturday morning. I weighed in at 185.4, which is a .4 pound loss from yesterday and brings my net losses to 22 pounds. I'm still hoping to get to 184 by tomorrow or Monday, but I can't control the weight I lose at, unfortunately. Still, good progress and a solid day on plan is the best I can do, so I can't complain!

Still losing huge amounts of inches. I can see them off of my hips and belly, we'll see what the tape measure says at 179 pounds but I think that is where I am noticing the 'loss' the most - not on the scale, but in the overall appearance of my body. Much less jiggly and lumpy these days ;)

taryl | General | 14 January, 7:21pm | 8 comments

I weighed in today at 185.8, which is a pound down from yesterday! It appears whatever stall I was engaged in for a week was busted, either by the apple day or on its' own (I can't say with certainty). Regardless, I'm happy to be beyond that for sure, moving down the scale again feels good.

I have an order in for a product I am looking forward to combining with stevia in shakes and coffee, I will give a review of it when it arrives. The product is Capella flavor drops, and the reviews are pretty ravingly in favor of them. I'm trying to transition away from Splenda as much as I can, because it gives me cravings, so my old standby davinci sugar free syrups need to go. If the drops plus some stevia glycerine do the trick, I'll be quite happy with them. The flavors they offer sound phenomenal and I like the idea of them being highly concentrated so they don't throw off the liquid proportions when used in cupcakes, custards, etc. Check them out for yourself at http://capellaflavordrops.com/

And no, nobody paid me to comment of this product ;)

taryl | General | 13 January, 5:28pm | 10 comments

The apple day went well, though I never thought I could get sick of apples, it turns out six in a day is indeed about the threshold for me! I was 188.2 yesterday and 186.8 today, so that is about a pound and a half of loss there. Is it enough to break through the stall and have me consistently going down again? Who knows but time, eh?

I'm still feeling energetic and not hungry at all, still losing inches, too. My complexion has continued to be clear despite an almost complete cessation of my skin care treatments, something that is unheard of, for me. I haven't noticed any unusual fatigue, though I am not getting enough sleep some nights and I can definitely feel that in the morning, it doesn't seem to be diet related. And while I'm definitely plotting and planning some of the lovely dishes I am going to make when I get into P3 (can we say short rib roast? Perfectly compliant, perfectly delicious!) I'm not really struggling to subsist on any of the P2 foods, nor am I really fighting any cravings or desire to cheat. I'm totally committed and it isn't a struggle. That's incredible, given how restrictive this diet is. But the lack of sugar and all but the tiniest allowed starch has obliterated my cravings, while the hCG circulating my fat stores for consumption has made up the caloric difference I am not taking in through chewing.

My goal for this week is to see 184 before Friday, if I can. That is the new threshold the insurance lady informed me I had to meet to get a 35% discount off my current rate of coverage. Unfortunately I have to be there or below that for a ear before that kicks into effect, so my husband greatly desires that we notify them of that as soon as possible, to reap the rewards of it sooner than later. I think, on a plan like this, that is a doable goal. And if I don't meet it by Friday, I should be there by Monday, for sure. But either way, I'm really getting into 'normal' territory with my weight and looks and it is thrilling.

Yes, I'm still high on the BMI and will be until the high 160's, but practically? Nobody is going to point me out as 'the fat one' in the room, if pressed. More and more I am hitting weights that suit my figure and are attractive, as opposed to 'not particularly horrid' or 'still kind of cute' despite the fat. You know how that is? The 'you have such a pretty face!' saying, that basically all but screams that everything else about you is unfortunate and a darn shame? I am getting out of the realm of getting such backhanded compliments and I'm grateful.

As for energy, can I say how much lighter I feel?! That twenty pounds makes a difference in how much spring is in my step, for sure, and the feeling of being more limber and light is quite satisfying.

All in all, I'd say the apple day was a success, but moreover I'd say the protocol, itself, is a huge success for me. 20.6 pounds off forever, without much struggle, and a solid plan in place to solidify and maintain it before dropping even more? What more could I ask for, really, after several years of being less than fruitful with the calorie counting and not addressing some health issues my food choices were creating. Calorie counting wasn't fixing the cravings for junk, or my immune issues, or my hunger and energy issues. This protocol is. And yes, it requires some major paradigm shifts, and I have to constantly defend it as NOT being a fad/crash diet, but I know and am living out the truth - hCG when properly used has been a miracle worker for my health and weight loss, and enabled me to lose the pounds I have struggled with shedding for years.

So apple day or no, how could I call myself anything less than successful and thrilled?

taryl | General | 12 January, 5:43pm | 10 comments

Well ladies and gentlemen, it appears I have been a bit too hard on myself for the weekends' food and possible water retention issues. At this point, being perfectly on plan except for that one meal that was almost on plan, I have been bouncing between 187.0 and 188.8 for six days.

Yes indeed, I am in an honest to goodness stall, through no dietary fault of my own. My body is setting and resetting its' weight lower than the 190's and it is taking its sweet time in doing it! There is zero reason, in my activity, food adherence, or even basic hormone fluctuations, that I shouldn't be moving down the scale right now, so I'm quite comforted to know that this is just an adjustment phase and I haven't actually done anything wrong.

I wasn't sure if it was diet, hormones, or a factor beyond my control (like non-linear loss) for a few days, because any one or two days in isolation doesn't give the whole picture. But in observing my recorded weights for the past week it is clear now that I'm not going down the scale because my body is adjusting to the loss, not because of cheats or anything like that. I've been vigorous about staying on plan and that makes troubleshooting my scale progress much easier.

The good news in all this is twofold: First, I am losing inches like crazy even though the scale isn't budging. The same jeans that were tight at 188 a week ago now fit at the same weight. My bras are on the tightest hooks, I can count my top ribs through my skin and see collarbones. It is common on the "Pounds and Inches" protocol to yield many inches when the scale seems stick, and I'm experiencing the same thing, myself.

The second piece of good news is that the protocol includes a stall busting tip, called an Apple Day. Today I've decided to do one. Instead of my normal meals composition, I am to eat six apples and nothing else today, to clear out my digestive tract and cut through any retained water. Oftentimes this is all that is needed to break up normal stalls, so I'm giving it a shot. If that doesn't work, the only other solution is more time. I'm good with that!

This is where the weight loss estimates of a half pound a day for women on the protocol come from. I have been losing closer to a pound a day, but with TOM and two stalls, those great loss days average with the slower ones and I come up with good, but not quite as brisk, numbers.

I was at 188.2 this morning. We'll see what an apple day brings. 500 calories of apples and as much water and tea as I want actually sounds refreshing :)

taryl | General | 11 January, 5:32pm | 7 comments

Just as Dr. Simeons says in "Pounds and Inches", eating off plan food, even in the proper calorie amounts, will result in rapid gains if hCG is in your system. The macronutrients breakdown of his food list is very important for triggering proper fat loss. I definitely don't regret that date Saturday night, now less than ever, as it taught me some really valuable this about the protocol and how my body reacts to it (very well!).

I am down a pound from yesterday, to 187.8. Back into the normal losing mode of the protocol, away from the food and ovulation related water retention, back heading toward virgin territory with my weight and where I want to be. More than ever, I am completely convinced that staying 100% on plan, as I have for every meal but one the entire last month, is the way to go for me. I lose well, feel great, look great, and food (though not particularly tasty) is simple enough and nutritious. If I want to make my goals of 170-something, or even the high 160's, I will do that the fastest and most reliably by being a paragon of dietary virtue for a few more weeks and then working on stabilizing for P3/P4.

That's exactly how the protocol works - rapid losses with the hCG making up calorie deficits in dietary fat by using fat stores instead, while consuming just enough protein to protect lean mass during this process. Then, the next stage of the diet adds back in lots of dietary fat and protein, plus nutrient-dense vegetables and fruit (but no starch or sugar) to replenish any deficiencies caused by P2 and encourage the body to stabilize at a new set point weight. The weeks following that reinforce the set point (not allowi weight to veer two pounds out of range on either side of it) while reintroducing starchy food as the body tolerates it.

Once that cycle is completed, another weight loss cycle may be started.

It is both effective and brilliant, if my mother is any indication. And it's working for me, too. But the metabolic forces the diet puts into motion are delicate and nutrient-sensitive, so playing fast and loose with the foods and quantities makes quite the unpredictable and likely unsatisfactory situation.

As for me, I'm happy to persist on plan for the last half of this dietary phase and am looking forward to P3 with much eagerness. But I will NOT be doing any more restaurant meals during this plan, until I can have dietary fat again. It was a nice break, but it isn't worth another one! If something comes up, I will transition off P2 and into P3 earlier than I originally planned, so I don't have any struggles complying to my food requirements for the event. At this point in the diet I can stop hCG at any time, complete an additional 72 hours of VLCD while the hCG is metabolizing out of my system, and then I am in P3. Voila :)

At this point I have no plans to complete less than 40 doses of hCG, but should the need arise it is nice to know I have the flexibility to stop at this point and have a slightly higher set point for this round than my initial goal.

I'm still 20 pounds down, at this point additional loss is just an incredible bonus I relish, I absolutely cannot complain about my losses on this protocol, and they are nearly effortless. No hunger, no weakness or fatigue, no strenuous or superhuman effort. And that the entire point of the diet is to establish a set point at the new weight, not just to lose with no plan of maintenance or easily followed permanent way of eating? Awesome.

taryl | General | 10 January, 5:58pm | 7 comments

So if we ever need lessons that ovulation creates temporary water retention-related gains, I think I'm a great test case. Eating entirely on plan, with a fairly normal amount of rest, a full gallon of water to drink, and an average to low activity day, I retained enough water to have me 'gain' nearly a pound, bringing my morning total to 188.8, despite not a single day over 600 calories in just shy of a month.

I'm ovulating today, and though I don't feel bloated clearly some tissues are holding onto water and my digestive system has slowed a bit, temporarily. This is where documenting how your body responds to various stimuli can help make diagnosing problems a bit easier, and certainly create less mental panic as to 'why this isn't working?!'. It is, but my body isn't a machine run by gears, and it doesn't create perfectly uniform outputs on the basis of one regulated input (calories and the nutrients they are comprised of). No indeed, our bodies are far more complex and function a bit more mysteriously than we give them credit for.

I imagine tomorrow will see a fairly big loss, or perhaps one more day of stalls/gains, before I head into the literal phase of my cycle and this all regulates down again. In the meantime, this calls for no more action than my continued adherence to my plan and waiting it out. And that, I can do!

taryl | General | 9 January, 6:19pm | 9 comments

Well that sounds ominous and it really shouldn't, but it needs to be said nonetheless. When on protocol, it is much easier to stick to your plan when you prepare all your own food. Last night my husband and I went out on a much-needed date and, while I got the most protocol-compliant item I could on the menu, it still isn't exactly what Simeons prescribes and I paid for it with a pound of water weight this morning, coming in at 188.

I ate a fajita platter, with chicken breast, green peppers, and onions. No tortilla, about a quarter cup of rice to fulfil my starch requirement. A good bit of pico de gallo to season. Very tasty, and since I had not eaten a single thing all day, my calories should have been somewhat in range. But I ate my first meal of the day at 6:30 pm (food left in my guts this morning, no doubt), prepared by someone else and definitely using a some fat to sauté the veggies (not the end of the world, but disrupting to weightloss on this part of the protocol), and with a mix of veggie components instead of a single choice per meal (harder for my system to break down). The weight gain is hardly shocking, and should be off soon enough, but it bears repeating that the very best results with this system come with following it to the letter. Because a healthy, fairly low calorie, low carb meal of my own choosing? Didn't do nearly what his standard plan did on the scale.

It was a nice date and I don't regret it, I made good choices and enjoyed myself, but the less I even tempt fate with goi out and eating something, the faster I'll get to goal.

As I mentioned in the title, it's Sunday and so I skip an injection. Given how late I ate last night I am not hungry this morning, so that's nice. I'm 100% on plan today, vigorous with my water intake, and am hoping the pound of this morning will vanish by tomorrow. Only one way to find out!

taryl | General | 8 January, 6:47pm | 9 comments

Yes indeed, unless I do an extended round I am halfway through P2 today, which is great news! I am down to 187.0 today, a .4 pound loss. I'm fighting a lot of fatigue (my own making, I've been getting to bed late) and I think it makes the scale unhappy for me to be tired.

Given that I can barely stay awake to type this, you'll have to excuse the brevity. I'm drawing a happy, weight lossy blank :)

taryl | General | 7 January, 6:45pm | 7 comments

Apparently I'm rare - most gals who do hCG seem to lose big (2-5 pounds a day) for the first week, and then their losses taper down to half a pound or so for the duration of the protocol. I didn't really have any big water weight or load weight losses, but have consistently lost right around a pound per dose the entire time, with very little deviation.m

Today is another one of those days - I was down .8 pounds to 187.4, or exactly 20 pounds gone. It is a bit mind boggling that I can lose so well and feel so good. My skin is clear and bright, my energy is great, my weight is coming off of all the right places, I'm not losing large amounts of hair (I hope it stays that way!). Things are great in dietville and my plan isn't really giving me trouble. I haven't had a hard time sticking to it, while it is boring (with the very limited food list) it is nutritious and certainly tolerable for the short time I am on it, and the losses are so great they keep me well pacified.

I admit I get highly annoyed when hCG is called a fad or crash diet. That shows such a fundamental misunderstanding of both how the hCG works and what the diet is trying to do - retool the chemical signals that control fat storage and break addictions to processed, high sugar/starch foods. It does so beautifully, and not only am I eating NO sugar these days, either in pastry or granulated form, but I don't much crave it and my palate has been completely nixed of artificial sweetener addictions, too. I've been drinking plain water without issue - no crystal light, diet soda, or the like. Not needing five pieces of gum to get me through me cravings for the day. Not needing to sweeten food like grapefruit, because they're sweet enough. Things like that.

The other thing that bugs me about the crash diet designation is that, by definition, those diets have losses that cannot be easily maintained - they yoyo users. But the entire point of the protocol is breaking food addictions, fixing the body, and resetting the previous weight set point to a new low that is maintained within a two pound window on either side. And it WORKS. On the message board and mailing list I see hundreds of ex-yoyo dieters, ex-atkiners, ex-calorie counters like me who all lost weight on our previous methods but found they couldn't be easily maintained, stopped working well after a while, or just didn't give us what we want. Hundreds of people who DID find both healthy weights and livable, easy maintenance after completing P3 and moving into P4. Many more like me who are in the process and genuinely can say we are less hungry on our 500 calorie diets than on our 1800 calorie diets of old. And yet so-called 'experts' have the gall to tell experienced dieters, who know their bodies, that such a thing is just the placebo effect and ignore all the science regarding why the hCG works and what is does? Solid science that has been around and reinforced for six decades?

When I see it lumped next to the tapeworm diet and cabbage soup cleanses, yeah, I get pretty angry. Because that ignorance (or some clinics' shameless altering of much or all of the protocol into something that doesn't work as well) is preventing a lot of people suffering with obesity from finding both a method and a long term answer to their weight control issues.

This plan is NOT for everyone. It takes research, preparation, and dedication. But willingness to do the aforementioned things brings wonderful results. I think any long term watcher of my blog knows I'm both skeptical of most diets and sensible in what I undertake. I didn't just hop on a crazy train and do something completely reckless with the body God gave me! But I hope my exhaustive documenting of my process, thoughts, and results on this blog might help some who are looking for answers find what they need. For me, the protocol is increasingly looking to be 'it'. As I move toward P3 and maintenance - P4 - we will see if that holds, but for getting the weight off in a healthy, painless, manner? This has far exceeded what calorie counting does for me. Less hunger, less cravings, weight off of my belly and NOT my face or arms (the emaciated look, where structural fat is lost but the saddlebags remain).

It has liberated me of most of my autoimmune responses to certain foods and it is OBVIOUS. No more acne, probably 80% less seborrhea, no diarrhea or bloating, no achy joints from sugar inflammation, no overproduction of oil mixed with dry, flaky patches of skin. None of that. And because those are all gone, whe I am slowly reintroducing foods in P3 I can actually tell which ones cause the problem (is it dairy or is it the bread? Sugary treats or yeast?) and which ones I can indulge in on occasions like holidays or dates, where they aren't the most nourishing thing for my body, but they can be tolerated. It allows me to, once and for all, make up a food list that works for ME and break the cravins enough to allow me to ban whatever I truly can't tolerate. That, alone, has made this diet worth it, incredible weightloss aside.

And it IS incredible - in 20 doses of hCG, with about five rest days, I have lost 20 pounds right where they needed to go, with no struggle, no hunger, and minimal pain (from the shots). And the pain factor could be completely eliminated if I did my hCG sublingually instead of subcutaneously. To 'experts' who gloss over the diet's details without researching it and actually studying what the protocol is, it looks like a fad diet. Unsustainable, unhealthy, impossible to maintain. But I know the truth - hCG has been a total answer to my prayers about my weight and food struggles, it works exactly as Dr. Simeons claimed, and for some dieters who struggled for a long time with common wisdom on their diets, it can be exactly the silver bullet needed to move the scale and blast through the wall of cravings that keeps us imprisoned in eating styles that aren't good for our health.

I am so grateful for what this diet has done for my body. I hope others can find some success in it, too. That is why I am blogging so extensively about this - the only way to counterbalance the Dr Oz/Cosmo/uninformed family doctor nonsense about this plan is more information, more experiences, more details into how and why it works. And while I'm a novice nobody, I still hope these posts can give more information to those who are curious, or might be advising a friend or relative on their weight issues. I started out a skeptic, but I'm a total believer through my own research and experience.

taryl | General | 6 January, 7:24pm | 8 comments

I weighed in this morning at 188.2, a pound down from yesterday despite terrible sleep (I stayed up reading an addictive book, naughty me!). My BMI is now 33.3, which is great compared to the BMI of 45 I began with. I will throw a true mental party when I hit 'overweight' as opposed to 'obese'. It looks like that number is at 169 pounds and I may or may not hit it this round, but I'll be darn close!

Nothing interesting to report, beyond that. Just chugging along one day at a time.

taryl | General | 5 January, 5:34pm | 8 comments

So I was posting on one of the message boards I love for weight loss support, and I posted a before and after comparison of my new pictures with an old one. I hadn't realized it was the same shirt, but it is a motivating comparison, I think.

The before picture was at my MIL's home, when my first was just four or five months old (right before I became pregnant with my second). I don't know for sure, but I am guessing I was in the neighborhood of 250-260 pounds, and still thought I 'wore it well' (denial's a scary thing, folks!). Okay, here is a 'before' picture, from when I was around 250-260, four years ago (I think, hard to say) and my current progress picture, at 190. Now most of my weight has been lost through calorie counting, but hCG did the last twenty pounds :)

Now in contrast, the same top but a very different body.

Losing weight is hard, folks. It is a long, slow process with lots of emotional work, in addition to trying to work out the details of what your body needs you to fix to reach optimum health. Was I happy in the first picture? Sure! I loved my family and had a great life. But my health? Not so great. I was sore, slow, and had a hard time lifting the baby AND my butt up the stairs. I had no muscle tone. I also felt uncomfortable in my own skin all the time. I knew I was pretty and young - I am only 21 in that picture! But I felt old, inside and out, and worn down.

The second picture is four years later. I am stronger from working out and doing lots of activity each day around the house. I can run with my kids, sit cross legged on the floor with them, heft two or three of them at a time, if need be! It is the same shirt, and several sizes too large for me now, but I wear that baggy old thing with so much more confidence. I am still beautiful, but I feel like my outside is a better reflection of the young, happy woman I am inside. I am not 'better' or more virtuous after having lost weight - fat isn't a more judgment of one's worth. But I AM taking better care of myself and being a better steward of the resources I have been given. I'm not idolizing food quite as much anymore. And to be honest, these changes have taken place over the past two years, when my weight was higher than this, and during pregnancies and regains, too. These changes happen to have brought me down the scale, but I needed to adopt a more active, less indulgent lifestyle whether it changed my weight or not.

I still have lotsnof improvements to make. I need to be more diligent with my daily activities, I've been lazy again. I also need to work on some strength training, because I was blessed with a mesomorphic body that does beautifully when I lift heavy stuff, and I want to hone that. I also need to keep sticking to my guns on these challenging days of this diet, and figure out a maintenance way of eating that keeps me feeling good (likely paleo, with low to no grains, sugar, and starches). I need to keep working on my body image, and not forget that it is my inward woman that God is looking t, not my appearance. I need to be grateful every day for the things I have been blessed with - health, a family to care for, ample resources to even be able to DO a diet.

But all spiritual issues aside, it is good to take a step back and remember how far I've come, especially when the journey forward seems SO long. I have a lot of room for growth and change, physically and emotionally, and it is worth doing the hard work to keep at it.

Still, don't expect to see the orange shirt again. I'm kissing size 18 goodbye for good, when I am swimming in it! ;)

taryl | General | 4 January, 11:56pm | 4 comments

As I am approximately ten pounds down again, i took the aforementioned new progress pictures. In real terms, I am only about eight pounds down from my previous batch (which were taken at around 55 pounds lost), but that doesn't tell the whole story. In between those pictures and the new ones I lost another six pounds, getting down to 192 one day and 192 for a week or two, went to my brother's wedding, gained weight eating the junk food in the hotel, came back from the trip in the mid-190's and struggled to lose the regain, then just maintain in a window, for six months. I was up above 200 again around Halloween and by the time I decided to iron out a new plan (this one) and eat to capacity so I wouldn't be hungry as my body adjusted, I was a full nine pounds OVER the progress pictures from the summer.

Now I am not only back to them, but below them, in three weeks. The real story is one of about 18 pounds lost, a fair but of time passing, and deciding that if something isn't working for me I really ought to change it. I am proud of myself and eager for the next ten pounds and more to be gone. When I'm ready to lose, I'm ready. The problem was not being in the game, mentally, for a lot of months. Still, that's life and I have no shame in taking my time. But now? I'm done with this stage. I'm done with obese. I'm really ready to move down and maintain in a new, lower window.

Here's a new (not my best, but works for the purpose intended) front shot, contrasted with the old one, below.

And the new side view, contrasted with the old.

I don't see much difference in these two, but from my starting pictures 67 or so pounds ago, the reshaping is pretty huge.

As for measurements, here is where I am at (measurement difference in parentheses is the contrast from my starting point on the hCG, on 12/14/11 and at 203.2 lbs):

Waist: 36.5 in (-2.5)

Hips: 48 in (0)

Bust: 45 in (-4)

Underbust: 36.5 in (-.5)

Thigh: 23.5 (-.5)

Upper Arm: 14.5 (0)

So it becomes pretty obvious where the weight was lost, doesn't it! A lot out of my bust and back (my back rolls are half of what they were, it's very dramatically smoother) and a noticeable few inches off my waist, but my hips and limbs remain virtually unchanged. Given that I was never excessively 'hippy' and my limbs have always been comparably slim compared to my torso, none of this is surprising but it IS quite a nice change. I imagine the inches lost will continue in the same areas with the same dramatic shifts over the next ten pounds. So as of yesterday I am down 17 pounds and 7.5 inches off the places I measured. I can't complain about that!

My weight this morning is 189.2, down 1.2 pounds from yesterday for a total of 18.2 pounds lost. I'm definitely heading in the direction I want to go by sticking to my plan like glue. Whenever the food is boring or I crave some junk I just remind myself of the amazing progress I am making and put the desire off for another day. The lack of sugar cravings and wheat bloat is amazing, I feel better and look better, too. Clear skin, no achy joints, sore throat, headaches, all the things I noticed from my dairy/sugar/wheat sensitivities. My clothes are getting looser, not tighter, also a nice change. I'm so grateful I found this program!

taryl | General | 4 January, 5:37pm | 4 comments

I did it! I finally broke through to a new low for myself, 190.4, down .6 pounds from yesterday for a grand total of 17.0 pounds lost since the beginning of the protocol.

Though I'm lazy and not in makeup right now, I will get spiffy later today for an appointment (chiropractic, I need it SO bad right now!) and then corner my husband into hallway pictures, where my door gets relatively larger as I shrink. I haven't had one of these in at least six months, I'd say it is long overdue.

Yesterday was rough for some reason, lots of cravings and willpower issues. I had to bake some more breadsticks for the protocol, which could have been the trigger. When I bake for my kids it is no issue because it is completely off limits to me, but these were specifically for this diet and I had one allotted to eat, fresh out of the oven. I think the warm, yeasty allure was a little too much for me. I ate one too many for the day but still remained under my calorie limit. Fortunately I shouldn't have to bake anymore for this cycle, and I'm grateful for that. No point in needlessly tempting myself!

My goal today is to stick to my guns as rigidly as normal. I am almost halfway through my injections (40 injections is what I am aiming for, with rest days every Sunday to stave off hCG immunity and rest days for the three heaviest period days) and eager to see the 170's or even high 160's at the end of this. The latter seems far too optimistic, but I do believe I could lose another ten or fifteen pounds in the next 25 days without making an unrealistic goal for myself. Fifteen down would put me at 175, and given how long it has been since I've even been in that range (I'll give you a hint, it's about a decade), I think I would be perfectly happy there for a two months or so while I do P3 and P4, before setting off down the scale and aiming for the 140-150 range.

Either way, I have to keep my goals in sight and remember it is just a few more weeks of this crazy restrictiveness before I can have what I am craving. I will do it, because this is for ME and it deserves to be done right.

Progress pictures and measurements to come.

taryl | General | 3 January, 5:21pm | 8 comments

I think tomorrow might be a picture day, as the scale was wavering between 190.8-191.0 this morning! I am taking the higher weight, just because, and calling it a 1.8 pound loss from yesterday, bringing my total weightloss to 16.4 pounds. Pretty good, eh? My face is looking MUCH slimmer and I noticed my ribs are today, as well. Measurements and pictures at 190 will tell for sure, but I'm very pleased with where the fat is coming off.

I have to admit it, I was making white chocolate bananas for the family yesterday and actually had a crumb of white chocolate. It was the very first thing I'd consider a 'cheat'. Amazingly enough, it was anticlimactic. Overly sweet and not nearly as delicious as my brain was telling me it would be. I skipped my grissini for the evening, just in case the carbs or sugar in it would cause me to react badly on the scale, but realistically it was less than a 16th of a teaspoon of chocolate. Still, that little crumb reaffirmed my decision to leave that sort of junk behind, even as a treat down the road. It's just not very satisfying, given what it does to my body. Some really dark chocolate or icecream? Maybe. But pure sugar like white chocolate? As tasty as it is in my coffee, it's better saved for company, I think. I haven't decided whether the (killer delicious) white chocolate powder should just be taken to church and left in the kitchen by the coffee maker for others to enjoy or not. Wisdom says it should.

No major plans today, other than getting my butt downstairs and watching the kids so my husband can spend his last day off doing something he wants to do. Tomorrow is back to the normal grindstone and hopefully my sore ribs will cooperate with both bible study and chiropractic.

taryl | General | 2 January, 7:16pm | 5 comments

Lets gets the weight data out there to begin with - I was 192.8 today, down .4 from yesterday. I've been spoiled by big losses every day so half a pound seems a little puddly, but it is good to remember that is actually what most women average while on this protocol :)

My shingles were bothering me a bit more last night than usual (sleeping was sore and I couldn't lay on my back easily) and this morning I was definitely feeling more sore than I had the previous two days. I did a fairly 'normal' day yesterday in terms of cleaning, shopping, etc and I think I did a bit too much. Unfortunately I missed church today, which I am bummed about, but I am thinking I'll be feeling well enough to do bible study on Tuesday, at least. I just need to not overdo it here in the last few days I have to rest before my husband goes back to work.

As the title indicates, today is Sunday and thus the day I take my weekly injection break, to help hold off immunity to the hCG. Later today I will also be mixing up a new batch of the Hucog as I used my last dose yesterday. There is supposed to be 16 doses per mixing jar but with the length of my needle it is very hard to get the last dose or two out of there, so I just tossed it. I have plenty left to do a normal or even extra long round (if I buy more syringes) so losing a dose or two each batch isn't anything to sweat over.

I'm definitely losing inches, which is quite nice! A fleece vest I bought in a large that was almost two small to zip before I started the protocol now fits nicely. I can also button up my size 16 jeans again, without terrible muffin top. My bras fit better, skirts are looser, all positive signs that I am indeed back where I want to be. It's going to be exciting to surpass that in a week or so, but right now I'm just enjoying the relative thinness I haven't experienced much of since this summer (the weight I gained eating during the trip in California and Vegas never was shed properly, I just yo-yo'd around the upper side of it for months and then slowly creeped up another four or six pounds on the fall).

It's hard to believe such a small difference on the scale and in the percentage of my mass could make a huge visible difference in my appearance, but it really does. Slimmer face, flatter belly, far less back fat, you name it. I look good at this weight. Not my best, not my goal, but this is probably the upper limit of what is tolerably 'suitable' for my frame in terms of appearance, where most people would classify me as 'normal' or 'pudgy', even though I am still obese by the technical definition.

As I mentioned months and months ago, 189 is the first weight where there is a break in the cost of our medical insurance, so we will be placing a call into our agent when I reach it. The weight must be maintained at or below for a year before the discount is awarded, which is why we want to get that call in sooner than later.

I can't think of anything else to ramble about, so I'll be back tomorrow with a fresh batch of solution and hopefully a new low!

taryl | General | 1 January, 11:47pm | 5 comments

Chugging along here, nothing novel to report. My weight is 193.2 today, which is down .8 from yesterday, and puts me at 14.2 pounds lost in 14 injections (remember, I am tracking days by the ones I have actively treated with hCG, there's been a few rest days in there ;) ).

My kids are spending the night at their grandparents' home and my husband let me sleep in, so I slept from midnight to almost noon and it felt quite nice. Funky dreams, though. Either way, I'm refreshed and ready to take on the day, with only a little soreness to complain about in my ribs.

On my to-do list today is getting new clothes for my four year old. Her stuff is high water and her sister has outgrown most of her three year old clothes, so it's time for another shift downward. I don't really like shopping but it must be done on occasion. Or rather, let me rephrase that - I love shopping, but I hate driving to and parking at the mall, which is a mess. The actual clothes part of it doesn't bother me.

Either way, I promise it won't be as much fun as it sounds! Then I have more knitting to do and maybe watching through a movie here at home, before the children get back. Weee! I live an interesting life! (not)

taryl | General | 31 December, 8:50pm | 6 comments

Good morning! It looks like I won't need to be breaking any stalls forcibly, as I am down to 194.0 this morning (13.4 pounds down from my original weight!). I am right in the range of 192-194 I was in for my brother's wedding this summer, and it looks SO much better on me than 200. My face, in particular, is looking much slimmer and less puffy. No hunger issues or major cravings, though I was having some head hunger when I smelled the bacon Peter made for the kids this morning. That will be all mine to enjoy in a few weeks, but until then, tea with a tbsp of milk is my fare.

The shingles continue to get progressively better. Though the entire area around my right ribs is still tender and the skin is tingly and hypersensitive, it can bear enough weight now that I can finish knitting the socks I began for my MIL for Christmas. The shingles struck right in the middle of my last minute finish-it blitz and I couldn't get them done in time. Once those are off the needles, legwarmers are my next order of business! It is getting too chilly under my skirts, even with boots and thigh high socks, so I'm going to add an extra layer of insulation to cover the gap in my boots and go up my knees. We'll see how that works out :)

Nothing else to report, really, other than that I am also able to do small chores again, like folding laundry and dishes. I have to b on my Vicodin and move slowly, but they get done. My energy is deceptive - I feel all right and begin doing something, but hit the wall of soreness and exhaustion much more quickly than I anticipate I would when I begin. That seems to be the toll healing is taking on my body. I am also sleeping long hours at night and still having a hard time waking up, from naps and the overnight rest, which seems to be a side effect of the painkiller and my body spending its reserves healing me and dropping pounds. It's not bad, just a bit of an adjustment. But every day I see an improvement in how I feel, so I can tolerate the (diminishing) side effects for the time being.

taryl | General | 30 December, 9:19pm | 4 comments

I was able to do quite a bit today, though it drained me quickly. Even though I am feeling better I am definitely still in recovery.

Shingles aside, for a moment, can I just say how thankful I am to have found this plan? How perfectly timed the entire change in eating and habits was? Praise the Lord! I am so grateful for the option to go high fat, ditch the wheat and sugar, use caution and much fermentation with the dairy, get AWAY from unsatisfying diet food, and most of all, ditching the inflammation? It is wonderful!

I am taking stock of myself here, approximately two weeks in. My bloat and bowel issues? Gone. I noticed they were gone because the antiviral messed with my guts and made them come back - I hadn't even realized how regular and mellow my stomach and intestines had been until something gummed up the works again! Hunger cues? Fixed! I don't really get hungry on this diet, and that's the way it is supposed to work. But that burning desire to eat the whole house, munch constantly, scarf every carb in sight? Gone. Sore throat, runny nose, headaches? Gone.

Really, other than one minor headache during detox and the shingles, I have been doing remarkably well. The protocol has cleaned up my system, cleared out the junk, given my body time to repair itself and my brain much time to absorb and mull over how great this all is and what permanent changes to make to keep it this way.

And darnit, I'm excited to lose weight again! Not complacent, thinking I can't control this or content with not being at goal but not being 'huge' again. I'm making plans for what new clothes I want to buy, imagining new hairstyle to try, new items to knit to spiff myself up, how I'm going to look when I visit my family. I'm content to put off another baby for a bit, as my husband needed me to, in order to lose more weight. That is huge! I'm enjoying feeling good after eating - not sick or constantly wanting more. I'm definitely looking forward to eating fattening, lovely, real food in P3.

The injections don't bother me, the meal plan is simple, the maintenance plan is so perfect and doable for my life it's remarkable. God has been so good to me in answering my prayers regarding diet, exercise, and food. I wasn't ready for so long, but now that I am in a better headspace and willing to move forward with this, I'm raring to go!

This stuff needs saying just as much as the dry, daily nuts and bolts or the complaints. I have to cheer at how good I feel and how well this works, even in the midst of a horribly painful illness. I can't ignore that this has been wonderful for me and these lessons must be taken with wisdom. Grains and processed, sugary junk aren't my friends. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucrolose? Give me headaches, spike my insulin, and make me crave sugar even worse than sugar, itself! Going gluten free isn't enough - I really have to watch my starches carefully and fill up on fat and protein, with a delicious side of low-sugar fruits and vegetables, and leave the grains to the very occasional splurges and heavily fermented, well broken down porridges. They just don't play nicely with my body's chemistry.

I am itching to get to 190. You cannot believe how ready I am - even now I can see so many inches lost and bloat just melted away. My belly is flatter, my face is bright, my energy (sickness aside) is solid... I want to get down the scale and stay down it more than I remember ever wanting it in my life. I have not cheated a lick, crumb, swipe. Not a bit. And my desire to, for the most part, is nil. I am so looking forward to the way of eating at the end of the protocol I don't even miss my previous indulgences that I could never quite control. Very occasionally I want a bite of pizza. But I can make up something healthier and tastier and more satisfying at home - why not? And if I have pizza once a season at a restaurant? That's a choice I can make (and my guts will have to live with it). But when there are so many tastier options that don't fight me all the way into the toilet? Why would I go back?

I have to keep reminding myself that this is best and not forget why I ditched my previous standard American diet for good. Why just calorie counting wasn't working. Why grains are bad for me. Why simple substitutions like coconut flour for all purpose is going to make as tasty a goody but with far less negative impacts on my health. Why 190 pounds on my frame wasn't a place I was willing to stop forever.

It is good to sit back and take stock on occasion. Especially when I am uncomfortable, like with the shingles, tallying all the wonderful blessings I have had and can still look forward to is a wonderful way to spend my time. Almost as wonderful as imagining myself thinner and healthier, in a particularly cute dress ;)

taryl | General | 30 December, 6:24am | 5 comments

Weighed in at 195.0 again today, which is the same as yesterday and pretty close to the last two days before that. No big deal, but not my favorite. My body had to adjust to these rapid losses and I can tell, visually, I'm losing inches in my torso. My cup size has diminished by at least one (made my husband sad, but he'll live ;) ), my belly is smoother, my back rolls are less, you name it. I know I am sticking to the protocol like glue so I just can't complain about a stall or two. Given that I am still on my period, antivirals, and pain meds with very sore muscles? Some might be water retention I just can't control, too.

The best thing I can do is stick to the plan and let it work. That includes days of stalls or small gains. The human body, on ANY diet, is not a machine. It doesn't work like a well-regulated clock. Expecting it to is setting oneself up for a lot of disappointment. As for me, I'm looking forward to a nice whoosh here soon.

My shingles are hurting slightly less today, the skin is still hypersensitive and the band of muscles aches, but it's not tear-inducingly bad. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and adding some chores and such back into my activities. It's a slow process and somewhat frustrating, but I can't rush healing.

taryl | General | 29 December, 6:37pm | 23 comments

I weighed in at 195.0 today, which is .8 down from yesterday, for a grand total of 12.4 pounds lost in eleven doses. I'm quite happy with that, I must say!

As for the shingles, I am hesitant but hopeful, my pain seems better this morning even without my Vicodin. Maybe they're actually beginning to heal? I still have the hot poker pain in my ribs if I burp or have any involuntary expansion of my chest beyond a shallow pant, but the skin and muscles, themselves, aren't throbbing quite so badly. I also slept more soundly, which was a boon. There may be light at the end of this tunnel of ouch, after all. I don't want to jinx it, but I'm praying this is relief!

Yesterday I had to force myself to eat dinner - how weird is that?! I am the girl who always out-eats the boys and can put anything away, anytime. And I seriously had to force feed myself a measly 250 calorie dinner? I was pleasantly shocked. It seems between the fat burning effects of the hCG and the obliteration of all my carb cravings, my uncontrollable hunger and lack of satiety cues are actually being fixed! That was what I was hoping the hypothalamus reset that this diet aims for would do for me, and I'm so pleased to see signs of it. Now, I know I cannot maintain this state if I go off the rails and start overdoing it on sugar and starch in maintenance, but knowing that excluding those foods gains me control over an area I previously had none? I am in awe of that.

I'm also pleased that, for all the calorie and fat restriction of this diet, I look less emaciated in my face and neck than after a month of small-restriction calorie counting. It really does on burn the stored fat - my structural fat under my skin is in perfect shape and I look healthy and bright, not sunken, dry, or 'hungry' (you know what that looks like, it ain't pretty!). Whenever I hit 190 I'll take another batch of pictures and measurements, I think it will be interesting to see how not-starved I look ;). For a fairly 'extreme' diet, I am taking very well to it (shingles response aside) and I know that P3 and P4 will be right up my alley as well. I do great on protein and high fat, I'm excited to get there. Heavy cream on berries and a nice ribeye sounds positively delightful right now!

taryl | General | 28 December, 6:51pm | 5 comments

I'm still incredibly sore and not healed yet, but the Vicodin can stay on the pain well enough that I can lay in bed. Last night I didn't take enough of it upon going to sleep and spent half the night awake, in agony, waiting for the next time I could dose. Ow... Then I slept until 1:00 pm after taking my morning dose, to catch up on some of what I lost in terms of rest.

TOM is still here but the protocol indicates to only cease injections for the three heaviest days, which means I'm back on this morning. My weight was 196.0 (I gulped water, so I actually think it was the same as yesterday's 195.8) and we'll see what it does tomorrow. When I'm not hunched over in pain I can definitely see some visual differences in my shape and fat but I won't measure again until I hit 190, then we'll see what kinds of inches have been lost.

I'm still sticking to the plan with as much perfection as I can, giving it my level best shot even with pain and soreness like I have right now. These shingles really need to heal, the sensations they create are like electric shocks or hot pokers jammed into my body. Go away, evil disease!

taryl | General | 27 December, 10:29pm | 19 comments

... That's a side effect o haven't experienced, before! Every nerve in my body is twitching and tingling, begging for a scratch. Still, the pain in my ribs, shoulder, and neck has been blunted, so I'll take some opium-induced nerve sparking for a respite from that awful pain. I'm also taking the Vatrex generic to get the virus under control and hopefully that will shorten the duration of my illness and keep the possible secondary effects (including pain that persists months after the outbreak has cleared) from occurring.

The VLCD might have stressed my system enough that the chickenpox virus could flare up again (it lays dormant in the nerve cells around the spine after having it as a child, and thus shingles outbreaks can occur at any time, multiple times, over the course of one's lifetime), but beyond that possible opening there is no correlation to my current diet and my illness. I'm grateful, because this is working marvelously for me and I feel great. No cravings, no flare ups of food allergies, even when I eat dairy or eggs as my protein for my meal, nothing. No bloat, acne, worsening of my seborrhea, or anything like that. This was exactly what I needed to reset my body and break from the things causing reactions and inflammation in my system.

So I'm going to ride out the shingles and persist with my full hCG course. Then I'm adopting a paleo-style of eating for maintenance, where I am limiting the things I react to or crave and fermenting what little bits of grain I do have. That seems to be the ticket for my best health. I will still bake for my family, but I'm choosing recipes that neutralize the anti nutrients like phytates, so it is healthier and easier for all of them to digest.

And should my next round of P2 cause another outbreak of shingles, I now know exactly what to look for and how to treat it. It's all a learning experience ;)

taryl | General | 26 December, 10:04pm | 19 comments

Well I did it - to see if nutrient issues were at the root of my pain I ate a protein and fat heavy breakfast yesterday (three eggs and six pieces of bacon) but to no avail, I didn't see any improvement. Thus, I continued on the rest of the day plan.

This morning, to my surprise, I was 195.8, which is 1.2 pounds down from yesterday, despite the breakfast experiment. This is my third day in a row with no injection, as I am on my period and am supposed to cease hCG for the three heaviest flow days. I'll be back on the normal injection schedule tomorrow.

Now, as for my mystery, miserable, malady. It appears I have shingles without a rash (herpes sine zoster). The muscle relaxants and ibuprofen aren't touching it, it is definitely nerve pain in an isolated area, and it looked like I had the barest splotchy rash pattern where the pain was. Except for the rash, every symptom fit perfectly, so I am waiting to hear back from my doctor about prescribing me some heavier duty pain killers that can affect nerve pain, and some acyclovir or other herpes-type mediation to address the chickenpox aspect of it. I am praying this is my road to recovery, as this has been brutally painful to the point that I oftentimes can't lay in bed to sleep and talking/walking/rustling clothing hurts.

I should be getting my other test results back from them today, as well. Hopefully those will be normal.

On the diet front, other than this unrelated pain I am doing fine. I made it through Christmas without a cheat and am moving forward with what has proven to work for me. I'm in a miserable spot where my husband has to help prep my meals, because I can't move my right arm and ribs without pain, but he's been very accommodating.

If I'm remembering correctly, I am down about 12.2 pounds from my first injection day to now. Not too bad, eh?

taryl | General | 26 December, 6:27pm | 9 comments

This drives me nuts to say, but I think it may be in the best interest of my body healing if I do a planned interruption and eat more than I have been, to give my body some fuel to repair these muscles. I just started my period, too, so I'm off the hCG shots, anyway, for the next three days. I didn't take one yesterday or today, and I will likely eat mor today, tomorrow, and until my shoulder and ribs get better. I don't want to do this, but the pain is debilitating and if a protein or mineral deficiency is to blame, I'm going to heal much slower on the diet.

I admit, I'm waffling on this big time. I'm at 197.2 today and have lost ten pounds, I don't want to turn around and regain it all because I stopped in the middle of an hCG cycle. But I can't even put on my own makeup, my arm is so screwy, nor can I lay in bed without tears. The muscle relaxants and ibuprofen are barely touching the pain. Ow.

We'll see, but I think giving my body a break is wise until it heals. Not ideal and what I want, but wise.

taryl | General | 25 December, 5:23pm | 7 comments

Yes, my shoulder and rib muscles keep seizing up, it's terrible. I'm still waiting for lab results but if they don't call me tonight I'm going to go get calcium/phosphate/magnesium supplementa anyway and deal with this, myself.

The weight loss is still marvelous - 197.4 today, which is down ten pounds in ten days. If these spasms do persist I may have to get out of P2 in the minimum amount of days - 21, with three days of VLCD but no shots - and see if that remedies the pain. I want to lose a ton of weight in one go, but if I am just not getting enough nutrients to keep these spasms under control I may have to do more rounds in shorter time than a few, longer ones. It isn't what I want to do, but the pain these muscle cramps are causing is immense and debilitating.

I'll be on plan throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas. I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas, without too much weight gain ;)

-------------------

This was originally supposed to be injection day ten, but I forgot to take it again and so I'm just making today my rest/off day from shots and will resume then tomorrow. Whoops!

I got a call from one of the nurses at the clinic and unfortunately that only got back one of my results - my magnesium a which was normal. I was advised that if I felt the same or worse to go to the emergency room. I haven't decided if I will or not, but I am mulling it. It's not particularly straightforward, since I will feel better one moment and then seize up the next. I'm glad to hear the magnesium was normal, but that would have been the easiest thing to fix if there had been a deficiency. We'll see what happens with the other tests. If things get worse I will head in, but right now I'm hoping ibuprofen and the Flexeril will keep this under control. I have a chiropractic appointment on Jan 3rd and I may pair a massage with that, to see if that will help things ease up.

taryl | General | 24 December, 10:06pm | 7 comments

I'll expand upon this later when I know more. Right now, we're doing this quick. Weighed in at 199.2, which is a one pound gain from yesterday. I stuck the the plan perfectly and my body stalled and is bouncing around, which is very normal. I'm not worried in the slightest.

What has me worried, and may account for the pound gain, is that I may have strained or torn a muscle in my ribs and back. I am heading over to the urgent care center right after this, but basically my right side under my breast, around to my should blade, and on top of my shoulder and neck hurt so bad I can barely breathe. I have to pant, any deep movement of my chest makes it ache and burn. I used that arm to pull myself into our car and twisted a bit last night, I think that is when the Injury happened, but it is so bad I cannot lay on my back or left side and still get air. So I'm going in to have it checked out and make sure it is nothing more serious like a blood clot, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to need muscle relaxants and pain killers. If I did injure the muscle, my body would be using glycogen to repair it and that would equal water weight retention. It all makes sense, we'll see what the doctor says.

So ouchie chest and bye for now :(

------------------------------

Update: the doctor was, predictably, very uncomfortable with and skeptical of the diet (he obviously hasn't done much research on it, I can't blame his assumptions as I had them too, before looking into it) but didn't harp excessively. He thinks I have some muscle spasms that may be caused by an electrolyte imbalance or insuffient nutrients (magnesium and potassium). He drew blood for a panel and I should be getting results back tomorrow.

I've been prescribed NSAIDs and Flexeril (muscle relaxant) and need to focus on resting. Even when the muscles aren't seizing back up, now my right ribs, chest, neck and back are so sore they ache, regardless. It really sucks but I am hoping it goes away soon.

Unless I get worse I am not reconsidering this diet, as there is no proof it is linked, but I am definitely going to consider supplementing more calcium, magnesium, and potassium to prevent the cramps. This is no fun at all, but I am glad there doesn't appear to be anything significantly wrong. He is doing a blood test for detecting possible clots, just to be on the safe side, but I'm not too concerned.

Despite the pain and funky midday sleeping and such, I stayed on plan with a blended strawberry/cocoa/spinach shake for lunch and a spinach frittata for dinner. Hopefully I won't be retaining such a huge amount of water tomorrow, but as long as I am sore I'm not holding my breath that the glycogen repairing the strain won't affect the scale.

taryl | General | 23 December, 5:36pm | 10 comments

So I had an airhead moment today. Well, more than one, but only one you're going to hear about!

It was such abuse morning getting the kids ready to leave, cooking my daily food before the gas and hot water went bye bye, and then doing tech support for my MIL (well, my husband did it, but I watched!), that after journalling I completely forgot to take my injection! Thus, at 1:45 pm I dosed, instead. Not a big deal, but I can't believe I walked by my supplies so many times today and it didn't occur to me I hadn't yet stabbed myself. Doh!

taryl | General | 22 December, 11:10pm | 4 comments

Weighed in at 198.2 today, down .6 from yesterday. I stayed completely on plan, the slightly lower loss can be attributed to either a previous set point (definitely possible) or just my body taking a breather. It's still well within the range to be expected and I'm happy with it.

Today is going to be a cold one around here - my husband will be replacing our broken hot water heater and to do that, he had to turn off the gas to the house. No fireplace, heater, or over/stovetop. The girls will be going with their grandma for an overnight 'camp-out', as we call it, while Seth and I hang out today and Peter is frantically plumbing and soldering. On the upside, our new hot water is a tankless Rinnai and the savings each month for this much more efficient model will be substantial, and well as lessening the likelihood of running out of hot water at any given time, like we used to. The downside, of course, is this installation.

As I said earlier I am doing fine and on plan, though I have noted two negative side effects to extremely low fat diets that are known to occur, I just hadn't expected to see them in me. First, dry skin. I kind of expected this, but in the dead of an already-dry winter, it's an itchy affair. The second and less expected side effect is zero sex drive! As a married woman, this is a problem, though my husband understand it is brief. Even during the load days, where I was stuffed to the gills, I still wanted sex just fine. In fact, my libido was better during the highest fat days (known to happen). Now, in the trenches of a low fat phase that would make Dean Ornish proud, I am about as interested in sex as another glass of water (I drink a gallon and a half or so a day!). It's not the end of the world, but after a few days of watching this one I can only conclude that this is not normal but a definite consequence of the diet. Interesting stuff to watch, actually. I am in the luteal phase of my period right now, too, which also contributes to a low sex drive. Either way, it's all conspiring against me to make my husband bored and lonely ;)

If this was NOT a brief phase, where I know it will be over in about a month, max, I'd be seriously considering changing my diet. This just proves to me that humans in general and me, on particular, thrive on a diet of whole animal products and plants with cooked, properly fermented grains and dairy (sparingly, still!). The high fat, low sugar, low starch diet is perfect for my needs and my biochemistry responds very favorably to it. Ultra low fat, super lean, calorie restriction? It is useful for a phase but nothing I could or would want to sustain long term.

That being said, I am becoming more positive the mechanism of hCG for burning fat stores is absolutely legit and working beautifully in me. My face and hands are still supple and full of vitality - no gauntness or ill health apparent. But my midsection, breasts, and thighs are all visibly shrinking. My abnormal fat stores are disappearing while the quickly lost and replenished sub-dermal fat remains largely untouched. That is the only way I could be living on so few calories a day with no hunger or visible emaciation, and no negative side effects but a little tiredness, some dry skin and no sex drive. Given the incredible calorie deficits I am pushing (21-2500 a day) that I am not impossibly hungry or miserable speaks to the metabolic mechanisms working.

I don't possess inordinate willpower and even minor calorie restriction tends to be tough for me to stick to, after a few weeks, due to hunger and cravings. Those are all but gone. No cravings for sugar and carbs (just fat and protein), no aching hunger, no overwhelming need to cheat or nibble... None. I'm not particularly great and staying on plan, historically, so my ability to adhere to this is God helping me and a fair bit of sensibility to the (admittedly odd and extreme sounding) plan.

We'll see if my losses are better tomorrow. I should be coming up on TOM, which would slow them for a few days.

taryl | General | 22 December, 5:28pm | 7 comments

Weight this morning was 198.8, down 1.2 pounds from yesterday for a total of 8.6 pounds lost. I'll take it!

My arm hurt so bad last night in bed I had to get up and hunt down our Traumeel, which is an arnica-based analgesic and anti inflammatory. Good stuff, and it helped me finally get to sleep. You don't realize all the things that put crazy pressure on your forearms until you can't do them anymore. Most of my normal typing, sleeping, and sitting positions are out. Stupid icy driveway... And if that isn't bad enough, we got more heavy, wet snow on top of it last night. It just makes things even more slick. Fortunately the six-hours-too-late new salt did wonders on the ice below it, so I'm hoping that makes up for the decreased traction that comes with that type of wet snow (think wd-40 on an ice rink).

I'm having a phenomenon I've heard about but never really experienced - food thoughts! I'm craving the nutrients I want more of (fat and protein) and imagining the food I'll be eating in a few weeks. It's kind of sad and hilarious at the same time. I still refuse to cheat and have made very tasty stuff on this diet, but it is SO restrictive that my mind keeps thinking of 'better times'. Fortunately I know these thoughts are temporary and they don't affect my food choices right now, but when I catch myself thinking longingly about oxtails melting fat into beef broth and crispy duck skin the drool starts ;). I'm so thrilled that is the sort of stuff I need to maintain on!

No hunger besides the aforementioned dream munchies, no headaches or ill feelings. I definitely am short on energy and I notice it most when lifting stuff (my arms feel fatigued under loads they didn't used to). I'm also freezing pretty much all the time, which given the definition of a calorie (unit of energy used to heat one ml of water 1 degree centigrade, if I'm not mistaken) and the lack of them in my diet right now, makes sense. I don't feel emaciated or look bad, quite the contrary, but there are little biological signs that I am burning huge amounts of energy stores which is EXACTLY what I want.

I'm grateful I have yet to see one symptom - hair loss! When I lost weight in my first chunk my ponytail thinned quite a bit. This type of diet can be hard on the adrenals and any significant calorie deficit can cause biological stress and result in sheds. I'm pretty serious about the condition of my hip-length hair, so I'm glad it's holding up well.

taryl | General | 21 December, 5:46pm | 10 comments

Another fine day on plan - I had definite munchy head hunger for lunch because I took the kids for our lunch date with daddy and got to watch them eat tasty junk, while I sat with nothing (I was eating at home, after the excursion), but it passed without incident or cheating. In fact, everything was fine until I parked in our driveway, which had become even more of an ice rink since the time we left and was now solid, slick ice.

In trying to get out of the car my foot slipped as I was lowering myself out of the door and I ate it, big time. I slide down and under the open door, slamming my elbow on the car door and then on the ice, with the full weight of my body bearing down. It was incredibly, nauseatingly painful. I iced it immediately upon entering and that seems to have limited the swelling and bruising quite a bit, but my entire arm from elbow to forearm is so sore I can't even rest it on a couch cushion, and my fingers and wrist throb on occasion. I don't think I broke or fractured anything, which is a total miracle given the severity of the fall, but the bone bruise is nasty and will be a slow healer.

We had been meaning to get more salt at Costco tonight, to melt the ice. Clearly we were about six hours too late. Ow ow ow.

In diet related news, other than staying on plan rigorously again I have little to report. No real hunger, no headaches - I actually couldn't finish the amazing P2 Cincinnati Chili I made for for lunch, it was such a big bowl. What I did notice today, confirmed over the past few nights, is that my acne is clearing up in a big way. I have struggled with hormonal acne since having Callie, and nothing has really touched it but topical treatments to eliminate the spots. They still kept popping up, which was an issue. Apparently it is starches or dairy that did it to me, because I am having only a tbsp of each per day right now and everything else is normal food for me, but the immovable skin issues are improving. My scalp issues are also appearing to lessen, another miracle. I will have to see, as I add substances back in down the road, which ones exacerbate these issues. For now, though, they are going away and I am thrilled! I am thinking it is the dairy, but we'll see. Either way, I'm blessedly clearing and inflammation all over my body, in multiple forms, is healing. That is EXACTLY what I was hoping would happen and yet another reassurance that this course and eating style is perfect for me. Yay :)

taryl | General | 21 December, 6:15am | 9 comments

I weighed in at 200.2 this morning, down 1.2 pounds from yesterday's weight of 201.4. Grand total weight loss is 7.2 pounds.

I am almost positive I simply took an injection break too early in the cycle. Now that the hCG is back in normal doses, I feel fine. No headaches or cravings, no significant weakness. My mom brought up a good point and I decided the same - due to the fact that exercise increases my hunger and I have some weakness, I'm just going to shelve my normal exercise block for the duration of P2 and resume it when I'm back to normal calories in P3/P4. Maybe if I'm feeling absolutely awesome I'll put it back in early, but outside of daily movement around the house I probably won't see as many benefits as drawbacks from the light exercise. I'll just add an extra half hour of sleep and call it good.

I'm taking the kids to Peter's work for our normal every-other-week lunch date at the cafeteria. Instead of trying to find something on the menu, I'm just going to eat at home and call it good. That's my plan for all social interaction in P2 - drink lots of water and maybe iced tea with stevia, but no eating outside of what I prepare at home.

Time to get the kids ready, I'll report back in if something interest comes up.

taryl | General | 20 December, 7:02pm | 5 comments

My headache subsided by the middle of the day and my slight hunger (I'm still not sure if it was the physical empty feeling or actual hunger, but it was minor in any case) is completely gone, so I am thinking the hCG is back circulating through my system in the necessary quantities to keep me feeling good. My energy, which was flagging in the morning and afternoon, is also back up. I stuck to the plan like glue today too, I'm quite proud of myself. I was making dinner for my family and didn't have one taste of the sauce I was seasoning (tricky! I had to do it by smell), a lick of noodles, and I wore gloves the entire time to prevent fat absorbing through my skin.

On another aside, kneading bread with gloves on? Interesting task and not particularly straight forward, but it worked well enough. Better than coming into contact with a ton of oil and accidentally stalling myself out. The fat really acts like a hormone interference substance when it comes to the protocol, so even the tiniest amounts could cause issues and temporarily stop the hypothalamus response the hCG is affecting. I've been diligent in gloves and scrupulous in my food preparation and consumption and, while I am not sure that is what can be credited for my losses, it can't hurt!

It came to my attention today that Simeons, in Pound and Inches (pg 57), says that the only weight to count as a start weight is not the one prior to loading, but on the first day of the VLCD. As I want my record for this experiment to be correct and record weight daily, regardless, it is really six of one, half dozen of the other for me. But since that it how most other protocol dieters record their weights, for uniformity I should do mine the same way.

What that means, in practical terms, is that I have lost 6 pounds in five days, from 207.4 on Friday to 201.4 this morning.

I guess it makes sense to calculate it that way since the load gaining was not water weight, it was actual extra calories consumed as per the diet instructions. In which case, I am losing marvelously fast for feeling so good! A light headache that hasn't needed Tylenol and a little tiredness for one day? Not bad at all!

That rate of loss will surely taper off, but I'm happy to ride it! If I would see my ultimate low from the summer (191) by the end of the week or beginning of the next? I would be elated. And if I 'only' lose half a pound a day from here on out, I should still be firmly around 180 by the end of my course, so long as I keep being mindful and diligent to follow the protocol to the letter. If I'm going to do it, I'm doing it right. That's what I keep telling myself. It gets me through those moment of cravings and head hunger, or prepping for the rest of the family when I want a taste SO badly.

I don't want that taste more than I want to get this weight off lose these allergies. I don't want that junk more than I want to slim down for my husband. I wasn't in that place for a lot of months - the one where I was willing to work hard and sacrifice my temporary satisfaction for long term benefits - but now I am. It is GOOD to be back. Will there be struggles in subsequent rounds or down the road in maintenance? Always. If I have learned anything over these past few years, it is that weight is something constantly in flux, always requiring some vigilance, and the culmination of MANY choices day to day. I know exactly what it takes to maintain and exactly what tips the balance of the scale up or down. The 'knowing' hasn't been the issue. The doing?

Well, that's where I'm at right now, isn't it?

I will not post pictures at 200, but I will at 190 and every decade of weight below that. The pictures from the last time I hit this weight are still accurate with my current shape. I'll check in with my plan tomorrow morning, and I think I'll make a habit of listing my meals, if not the full recipes for them. It will make this blog less repetitive and boring in a few weeks, if my daily blogging has something more than a number and 'losing weight, feeling great!'.

Until morning, then.

taryl | General | 20 December, 8:33am | 5 comments

201.4 today, which is a 1.8 pound loss from yesterday. It was a little rough last night and this morning with slight headaches and tiredness, but then some insomnia, however I also had my first serving of Splenda in over two weeks. I'm going to watch carefully to see if anything is related to the Splenda, as I think it might be. I also think it may have been a bit early in the cycle to take a rest day, as my body just stabilized on the hCG and then I forced it to compensate again. Next week's should go more smoothly.

Hunger is still not an issue. I'm still battling some head munchies, whereby I am thinking about food and wishing I could eat it, but it's not physiological in nature. This is where I'd previously give in - wanting something and then acquiring it. But that isn't the mature way to manage my body, and it neither made me more healthy nor look the way I want. Thus, whether I feel like it or not, no matter how good other food may sound, I am sticking to my plan like glue. It is such a brief period of time, I am going to give it my absolute all. What's the point of doing something drastic like this if I am not going to try to glean as much benefit from it as possible? And the benefits HAVE been great. In four days I am down six pounds from my loading weight and two from my starting weight. That's a great loss and should continue at the rate of half a pound to a pound per day for the duration of the diet, with a few stalls here and there as my body adjusts.

I woke up this morning with the intention of working out. The baby actually woke me an hour before my alarm (and I got to sleep well past 1:00, thanks to insomnia) and so I got up and did my bible study, but as the time came to work out I realized I felt icky enough that I'd benefit more from additional rest than half an hour on the bike. So I rather intentionally made that choice and do feel a bit better for the additional sleep.

I'm going to experiment with some of the other proteins Dr. Simeons lists as okay, including moose (super lean game meat was said to be acceptable), Mahi Mahi (white fish), and even three egg whites and a whole egg. The egg, in particular, I will be watching like a hawk. They have been known to cause sensitivity symptoms in me before, and if they cause a reaction after a solid week of not having even a hint of them, I will have to relegate them to the 'no-except-on-the-rarest-occasion' list.

This is a short week for us, as a family. My husband only works until Wednesday, he has the rest of the year off thanks to vacation time. We have a hot water heater we will be replacing on Thursday and Friday, Christmas celebrations, and then the rest of the year will be spent finishing the bunk beds for the girls once and for all. Callie is in hers, as a single, and Lilah's is done in the garage, but the steps that connect them still need completing and then we will ditch Lilah's crib once and for all. It will free up a ton of space in their rooms, so I am looking forward to completion.

I'll be tracking my symptoms throughout the day and update if necessary. Until then!

taryl | General | 19 December, 6:33pm | 15 comments

Hola!

Report from last night is positive - I stayed completely on plan, with help from a very understanding friend who I had a late, gloriously enjoyable craft night with. My dinner was at 4:30 (apple, pickled cucumber, chicken, grissini) and I wasn't hungry by 2 am, nor when I woke up the next morning.

Today I am feeling pretty weak - not sick, just slightly drained. That's normal for this period of time and I'm taking the opportunity to rest and not overdo it while Peter takes care of the kids.

My weight was 203.2, which was really great considering I quick pickled a cucumber yesterday for dinner and it involved a tablespoon of salt >_<. The good Dr. Simeons does NOT restrict salt at all, but that doesn't mean that so much of it won't make me retain a little water, even if I am drink over a gallon a day. That's okay. I want real fat loss, not the illusion of it through water weight disappearing. And since I drink SO much water the salt is helpful in not allowing my electrolytes to get wonky. Plus, it was tasty. Very, very tasty. I used stevia in place of the sugar called for in the recipe and it worked fine, but without the negative sugar impact.

Now, onto today:

To extend the time I can dose with hCG without hitting immunity to it (where my system gets used to the amount and I begin getting hungry again, and not losing fat as well) the protocol recommends that one day a week is a rest day from injections, whereby you still follow the VLCD but don't dose with the hCG. This works because the hormone remains in the bloodstream in effective quantities for 72 hours, so skipping a 24 hour period is no hardship on the dieter and allows them to lose weight for a longer period of time. Thus, tomorrow will be day four, despite today being the fourth day on the diet, because tomorrow is my fourth injection. I'm calculating days on this diet by injections, officially, not calendar duration. It makes things slightly tricky, but is a more accurate way to do it.

Other than the weakness this morning I am feeling great, just drank my tea with a tbsp of milk and stevia, and am eating a lunch of steamed asparagus with Tony Chacheres (super yum), chicken dry-sautéed with salt, paprika, and water (also yum), grapefruit with a little stevia to sweeten and my trusty grissini. The minimal starch in the grissini breadstick and milk in the tea do not seem to give me allergic symptoms at all, which is great. I didn't want to cut those out of the diet unless I had to, but apparently my tolerance for those substances is decent enough that trace amounts don't hurt. That will make the maintenance phase much more smooth. Also, it doesn't seem to stir up cravings, another worry of mine. Other than the occasional braised hunger for more food and junk, my body is very satisfied and feeling better and better. No inflammation, stuffy sinuses, headaches, or anything else. I nixed my coffee and diet soda for the time and will probably not interject the latter back in again - I haven't ascertained if, on the rare occasions I drink soda, whether the artificial sweetener is worse for me than the sugar. It's a toss up at this point, and something I will probably just wholesale avoid except for very rare occasions.

I am keeping the salt a little lower today to see what kind of losses I have tomorrow and if it was indeed the cucumber pickles that kept me from more losing. But either way I am down four pounds from the first few days and my skirts fit looser, belly is more flat, and chubby chin issues are almost subsided again. All good things, and this diet IS called 'Pounds AND Inches' - I'll happily take the inches if the pounds are being stubborn :)

******** EVENING ADDENDUM

Ended up with a slight headache tonight, but it came about after several hours of looking at a computer screen in the dark and thus I cannot conclusively attribute it to the diet. Heading down to make dinner now, with P2 chicken chili and spinach chips.

taryl | General | 18 December, 11:23pm | 8 comments

Good morning everyone! I just woke up (it's been about sixteen hours since my last meal and said meal was about 250 calories) and NO HUNGER! Still! That's exciting to me, as my willpower couldn't withstand wanting to eat m own arm ;)

I was 204.0 this morning which is down the three pounds or so I gained during the loading, so I'm about where I was at the beginning of the week. I'll be dosing (belly, totally!) in just a few minutes. I have no symptoms to report except maybe the slightest light headed sensation when I stand too quickly, and my normally low blood pressure plus the low blood sugar from this diet would be attributed to that. Nothing negative or impacting me in a big way. Hurrah!

taryl | General | 17 December, 8:33pm | 11 comments

I came across this description of how the hCG works and thought it was the best condensed explanation of why asimeons uses hCG in the protocol. I figured I'd share.

   How does hCG work or help with weight loss?

   During pregnancy it triggers the hypothalamus which mobilizes the mother’s stored fat. This is essential because it helps insure that the mother and the fetus get the energy they needs in order to be healthy. In non-pregnant persons, research suggests hCG similarly increases the metabolism similar to a pregnant female.  Thousands of calories in stored fat are released, and are used by the body or expelled.  

Dr. A.T.W. Simeons' research suggests a small, daily injection amount of hCG (approx. 125 IU to 200 IU), results in an average weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs a day when accompanied by a VLCD (very low calorie diet).    

That mobilizing of fat stores is what allows the protocol to work with so few calories and no hunger issues beyond the first few days of adjusting. Your body gets its remaining calories through the fat released into the bloodstream, so long as the VLCD is observe fully and properly.

Oh, and injections into the thigh? Yeow! That stung like crazy and ached afterward. Lower belly remains far superior for me, thus far. I'm not stabbing my leg again.

***** EVENING ADDENDUM *****

Well the end of my first full day on the VLCD has been good! No headaches or insane hunger issues, in fact I'm not really hungry at all despite being right around 500 calories for the day (540 by my count, but I overestimated the size of my tomato and head of cabbage).

Now, I feel head-hungry, meaning my brain is telling me I want to eat, but it isn't physiological, which is amazing for so little food. I have a curious empty feeling, as there isn't anything in my stomach, but that isn't the gnawing, distracting feeling of true hunger, either.

The first week or so I am expecting to be rough as some people on protocol experience negative symptoms while their systems adjust, but at least into my third injection I feel just fine. Sticking to the plan like glue hasn't been hard as I know exactly what I can eat and don't even look twice at the other stuff. The restrictive food list is actually a bit freeing, it takes the decision of what to eat and how much to consume out of my hands. At this point I am still craving some junk, but it's completely manageable and mostly in my head. I've probably had a gallon and a half to drink today, between my gallon of water and two pots of tea. Peeing like a racehorse to go right along with that ;)

We'll see how I'm doing tomorrow. Adios!

taryl | General | 16 December, 8:08pm | 5 comments

Third day of hCG injections and I must say, if I ever needed an object lesson in sodium related water retention, my dinner last night gives it. I'm up about four pounds this morning thanks to a burger and fries from Carl's jr. This, I begin today at 207.4, which will be gone by tomorrow, perhaps taking a friend or two with it as well.

Here is what I am going to be eating from now until day forty of injections:

Breakfast: Tea or coffee in any quantity without sugar. Only one tablespoonful of milk allowed in 24 hours. Saccharin or Stevia may be used.

-----------

Lunch: 1.    100 grams of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken breast must be removed from the bird.   2.    One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.   3.    One breadstick (grissino) or one Melba toast.   4.    An apple, orange, or a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit.

---------

Dinner : The same four choices as lunch (above.)    ---------

Nifty, huh? Generally speaking, I am eating the meat, grissini, and fruit and counting calories, then filling my remaining space in the 500 calorie allotment with vegetables. The trick being that I cannot mix them, only one type per meal and better to not repeat the same veggie for lunch and dinner. But I can have 100 calories of cabbage, for example, in a broth I made with my chicken breast, and with some added spices. That turns a fairly small calorie amount into a pretty extensive meal. There are NO restrictions on salt, pepper, and most spices and herbs, other than that they contain no added sugar or fat. That means flavor plays a big part of making an otherwise very simple diet interesting, and Cajun shrimp sauté or curry coated chicken is allowable, so long as it is cooked in compliance with the protocol. I have a nice little PDF cookbook just for phase 2 (P2) that gives me a lot of good options for flavor while staying firmly on plan.

I am stating it again, but it needs to be repeated often - I am giving this my 100% try. There is no point in drastically changing my lifestyle and body's chemistry if I am going to cheat. Thus, no going back. From here on out I am staying as on plan as I possibly can, right down to skipping Christmas dinner to instead eat what I packed myself. And when I get into P3 and P4, I am using the cessation of my junk food cravings as an opportunity to permanently replace my previously grain and sugar heavy recipes with ones that aren't going to spike my blood sugar and make me a ravening beast. I'm accepting, flat out, that I cannot eat some foods in moderation, and that half a donut or a slice of cake is really a once-a-year thing for me if I want to stay slim and feeling good, without food allergies.

I'm so fed up with junk and despite what I have told myself in the past, I truly DON'T need it. Thus, from here on out I am not only sticking like glue to the protocol, going so far as to wear gloves while cooking for the family to keep from coming into contact with fats, but I'm using the maintenance periods to get myself firmly in the habit of cooking without grains and sugar. Coconut flour, almond meal, stevia... These are going to be replacements I have to train myself in using, to gradually shift how my family eats. It's a big task but I'm so ready for it. It took a lot of time and struggled to get to the point of being fed up with this current weight (195-205 range) and even more time to be convinced that the standard American diet isn't a right, nor is it something I should be bummed about avoiding. But I did hit that threshold and now I'm all in for changing it.

Everyone has to do their own journey and soul searching on this point, but I am confident with my path for the next six months or so. And being in the habit of eating pretty firmly paleo for the next pregnancy? That will make my pregnant maintaining all the easier, having broken my wheat habits prior to it all.

I'll probably report in at the end of the day with how the cooking went and how many lurking fats tried to land on me ;). Wish me luck!

taryl | General | 16 December, 5:45pm | 6 comments

After eating probably no less than 4000 calories of fat and protein, as per the protocol instructions (eat to capacity, ie: eat until your stuffed, with the most caloric, fattening foods you can find) I am actually down a pound this morning to 203.2. Go figure, right?

Shockingly, you'd think eating and eating steak, ice cream, slab bacon, cheeses, eggs and the like would be a ton of fun, but fat is very filling and it was actually somewhat of a chore. Still, I know it is important to get my sub dermal fat stores in shape before going on the VLCD tomorrow, so despite how contrary to conventional wisdom (which, I am discovering, is rarely wise and usually wrong!) this diet initially sound I am doing it as well as I can.

As I mentioned before I cannot have nutritive oils in any body care products, as even that small amount of fat in lip balm, foundation, or conditioner can have an interfering effect on the hormone processes I am trying to achieve with my hypothalamus. Products I use can have mineral oil and petroleum, but if it can be eaten it shouldn't be worn during phase 2, in general. I need to acquire new soap, lip balm, and had to switch back to mineral deodorant. I am going to have to wear gloves when making food for my family, so the oils I am cooking with don't get on my skin. It's no hardship, but it does take more awareness of what I am doing and touching than I have ever used before. Things like wearing lip balm, I didn't realize I do constantly until I couldn't anymore. Olive oil dribbling a bit on the side of the bottle is suddenly a problem. Little things like that take a brain switch.

I also find it fascinating how the first two days of P2 are so heavy on fat, then the next 26-40 days, depending on how much weight you need to lose, are as minimal in fat as is humanly possible (the lowest fat meats commonly around, no extra dietary fat, no fat through contact, etc). This is to trigger the chemical signals in your body, with the help of hCG, to release the extra calories and dietary fat you need from your fat stores. Even the smallest amount of fat present through the skin or by mouth can fool the body into not beginning that mechanism and result in inferior loss of fat. The three weeks of P3 involve tons of fat again, anywhere from 50-60% of the daily calorie intake from fat is desireable. This is to help to body stabilize and rebalance, and the restriction is on sugar and starch, not fat. Again, the protocol specifically discusses why this is needed, from a hormonal perspective. The three weeks to lifetime spent on P4 is to maintain the new fat, protein, and fiber heavy diet while figuring out how much, if any, starch and sugar can be tolerated without causing abnormal fat storage and weight swings. High fat and protein are crucial for the rest of one's life, unles they do another round of the protocol to lose more weight. It's far from what the diet industry has preached for years, and yet it makes good sense when looking at the various hormones (insulin, leptin, cortisol, etc) respond to certain nutrients. Our bodies seem to signal satiety and normal storage function the very best when we have adequate fat intake and watch it with inflammatory things like dairy and grains. The more data that comes out on this subject, the more Dr. Simeons original observations are justified and strengthened. Fascinating, eh?

Tomorrow begins the real exciting part - the VLCD in which I begin to shed pounds and inches like crazy and get my body's immune responses to certain food back under control. It will be good, though I don't get to enjoy a normal Christmas meal this year it is hardly a burden, given the benefits I get from shedding all that weight and working through my food allergies. All in all I am anxious to get it underway.

The injection was better today. Still stingy, since the hCG was refrigerated I could feel it in my belly fat until it warmed up, but the needle insertion wasn't felt at all. I chose my lower belly, instead of above my belly button, this time. Tht may have helped, as I have had low sensation in that skin ever since those nerves were sliced through in my c-section. Either way, I think rotating injection sites between my thighs and lower belly will be the least painful. I am glad it was more tolerable this time, that bodes well for future injections. I don't want to confront my needle phobia every single day for six weeks if I don't have to - getting over it and having it be 'normal' is my goal, so I don't cringe every time I have to do it.

taryl | General | 15 December, 9:14pm | 6 comments

So for recording purposes, here are my measurements and such as of today, the official start of this little experiment of mine.

Weight: 203.2

Hips: 48 inches

Waist: 39 inches

Bust: 49 inches

Under bust: 37 inches

Thigh: 24 inches

Upper arm: 14.5 inches

As expected these are all half an inch to an inch larger than my last set of measurements, due to that darned regain. I'm thoroughly looking forward to them shrinking like mad, I must admit ;)

taryl | General | 14 December, 6:27pm | 8 comments

Today was my first load day. You'd think gorging on as much fat and protein as you can stuff down would be fun, but it's actually a little sickening. Necessary and enjoyable, but by the end of the night it's a bit of a chore. Still, Dr. Simeon is very specific about the necessity of these days to the success of the first week of the protocol, and I'm not about to argue with him on it! My mother said much the same - a solid load made her second round much easier than her first, where she was a bit afraid to eat as much as was being asked.

It was quite a learning curve today, because I had to reconstitute my freeze dried hCG (Novarel/Hucog) with my sodium chloride water and come up with my dose. I've never done much with mixing sterile solutions and that is where the bulk of the learning curve came in, but I think I did fine. Lots of alcohol swabbing and sterilizing the equipment, but one can't be too careful with hygiene in working with something that's injected under the skin, right?

My hCG is in 2000 iU vials and I need 125 iU each day. I mixed 4 cc's of the sodium chloride water with the hCG to get 16 days of doses, before I need to make a new batch. hCG has a short shelf life and is a delicate molecule, so having just two weeks or so of solution made up at a time and kept in the fridge is ideal.

Despite some twitchiness over the needles and learning a bit about positive and negative pressure in these sealed mixing bottles, all went off without a hitch. Then the real shakiness began, as I loaded up a dose into my itty bitty insulin-style subcutaneous syringe and braced myself. I am a bit terrified of needles and so voluntarily sticking myself is kind of scary. I manned up and did it, but there was much anxiety and gnashing of teeth. It stinged and ached a bit, but nothing that I'd classify as particularly awful. Still, it's no walk in the park.

I may do the next round sublingually (under the tongue) instead of injected, but that requires twice the amount of hCG because of how it is absorbed (not as well as straight into the body via injection) and that stuff isn't cheap. So if I can handle the needles without too much cringing this time around I'll likely just stick with them (haha ;) .

I did things slightly backwards today, as I loaded up before my injection due to not having time to sit and mix it up, but it shouldn't affect anything huge. The first several doses are getting it into the system and working, the spacing being slightly cluttered for a day isn't going to be crucial. I've been eating enough the past few days that the load isn't going to make or break the integrity of my fat stores, but this slight deviation from my planned timing is still a bit annoying, though trivial. My next dose is tomorrow morning, we'll see how it goes, eh?

The next post, if I remember, I will give my starting weight and measurements, though my last pictures should be as accurate as anything right now, since I yo-yo'd back up to the weight I was when I took them from my previous low. I'm glad I haven't made a habit of regaining weight, because even these ten pounds have absolutely sucked.

More information and intrepid journalling to follow tomorrow. Adios!

taryl | General | 14 December, 10:02am | 7 comments

I am not sure if this link will work, but here is a PDF file link to the hCG protocol I am following. Many online are modified or bastardized and don't work the same way, and there has been a big kerfuffle with the FDA over some of the issues with the scammers and this diet. The original, unaltered protocol is all I am willing to try and what hundreds can attest to working for them, safely and effectively. I'll be following it to the letter.

http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/oJLnTi3tw_isv8HZAtggZzT45ddGXPQFk2W_IIoicZtHA1s-HZaFWcBxtm6G0FrGaupDSJsVqeNW89dN1iZw7DXzWkZn01Q/Pounds%20%26%20Inches.pdf

taryl | General | 13 December, 6:07pm | 8 comments

Well my hCG arrived a few days ago and my mixing and dosing supplies should be coming today, so I'm officially in serious prep mode. I've done my online ordering for some supplements I need to be taking (things like potassium and magnesium) as well as the basics for making the transition away from starch/wheat based baking and cooking, like coconut flour and ground almond meal. That has been a total trip! I know I need to do it and am excited about it, but healthy, low carb paleo-ish baking is a whole different set of kitchen chemistry than what I have perfected as a truly competent baker throughout my married life, thus far. Different textures and cooking times, leavening options, flavor enhancements, and even some adjusting of my palate to get away from sweet, bready things and enjoy more savory dishes.

Fortunately those changes won't be enacted for a good six weeks or so. The progression I'll be undertaking, as far as I can plan at this point, is dictated by the Simeons protocol and is thus:

- Two loading days (beginning Wednesday)

- PHASE TWO - Forty days on hCG (this will include a day a week where I eat the normal VLCD foods but don't dose with hCG, to extend my time before my body becomes resistant, as well as a break for the three heaviest days of my period)

- Three days of continuing off hCG while still eating VLCD, to transition away from its' metabolic effects completely.

- PHASE THREE - This is the stabilization phase where I am eating to maintain my weight in a two pound window of my last dose weight on hCG, where I must eat no sugar or starch beyond what was allowable in phase two. This is crucial to resetting my hypothalamus and my diet will need to be at mainentnance calories and at least 50% fat. High fat, high protein. Tasty!

- PHASE FOUR - Either the break between hCG cycles, or maintenance for the rest of my life. This must be at least three weeks before starting phase two again, and each cycle of hCG phase four needs to get progressively longer. This is where I slowly reintroduce starch or sugar, one serving every few days, and watch how the scale reacts. If certain foods make me gain more than two pounds of water weight or give me other sensitivity symptoms, I need to put them on my own no-eat list. The goal of P4 is to figure out what I can maintain on and what my lifetime normal way of eating is going to be. I am intending that it be continually low starch and added sugar except for the rarest of occasions, because those foods make me sick.

The previous phases (prior to phase four) work to break food addiction and craving, chemically reset the hypothalamus and change the body's fat storage into energy conversion (that is the function of the hCG, the same thing it does for babies and mother's metabolism in pregnancy), lose abnormal fat stores quickly, then teach the body a new set point for weight (that's what phase three is all about, and why losing weight continually through it is a no-go), then teach us how to eat in a way that doesn't make us gain weight again or restart the fat storage/sugar craving cycle.

This is a bad summary of what is an extremely complex protocol that has to be followed to the letter, but it is the best I can give to a layperson ;). I've been upping my normal fat stores and transitioning to low carb for a week and I must admit that, while the scale is higher than I want right now and a part of me is itching to cut my calories before beginning the diet, the first week of the VLCD goes much more smoothly if one has been eating high fat and not restricting calories beforehand. It has to do with the normal subcutaneous fat stores not being depleted (those things are normally the first to go in a diet and the ones the body tries the hardest to regain, creating the nasty yo yo effect).

Tonight I will be buying both my high fat loading foods and then my VLCD foods, I'll load until Thursday night, and then dose with my hCG to begin my forty day cycle on Friday morning. I will report my weight and such here in the body of the blog, as my sidebar still isn't working, and try to keep faily exhaustive records of what I am doing for my own knowledge, as well as to help any of you out there who are curious what the real hCG protocol looks like.

I'm expecting to lose between 20-40 pounds in the forty days on the protocol, likely somewhere in between. Then I have six weeks of stabilizing and then transitioning in a precious few starches like beans and a crouton or three, before I plan on going back on another round of phase two through four again. That should take care of most, if not all, of my excess weight. If I need a third round round on the protocol I will probably take it before we TTC again, but it really depends on how I am feeling. That will delay my TTC until the fall of 2013, which seems like a long time to wait. Reducing so much excess fat is definitely worth it, though, and I can't do this successfully while breastfeeding and thus would have to wait until the end of 2014 to do my final round, if I didn't do it before getting pregnant again. That is not desirable to me at this time, but I will re-evaluate after each round of phases and choose whatever course of action makes sense to me and my husband at the time.

And that, in a nutshell, is the plan.

taryl | General | 13 December, 6:03pm | 4 comments

This past week has been a mini experiment, in how my body responds to various foods. As I am heading toward a very low carb (starch and sugar carbs, anyway) diet that looks a lot like paleo, I wanted to estimate how badly I needed it by gauging how the aforementioned foods affected my body.

The long and short of it? I need it bad. I kind of knew this, but given that I do enjoy sugary, bready food so much you can forgive me for hoping it didn't have any significant impact on my metabolism. But grains, even whole grains, make me feel bloated and sluggish, as well as making the scale bounce all over the place. When I eat free of most starch and sugar I feel better and more energetic, I also seem to have less cravings for foods that are red light foods for me - the ones I have trouble controlling myself with. The scale bounced all over the place, from 205 to 199, depending on what I ate. Wanna guess what made me retain water like crazy? Oh yeah, bread and sweets. Want to guess what helped me shed water weight and an inch or so of bloat off my belly? Mhmm, the meat, fat, fruits, and veggies. As much as a part of me doesn't want to, I do realize it is high time that I declare a breakup with foods that make me feel sick and screw with my weight. Fortunately the diet I'm undertaking in the next few weeks is designed to do just that, including a testing phase (p4, for ease of remembering) where I reintroduce foods slowly, watching the scale and keeping a diary of how they make me feel, so I can figure out once and for all what my tolerances for certain nutrients is, and what just needs to be verboten for me.

This morning I was 199.2 or 199.4, I can't remember, but what I DO know is that I had approx. 1.5 ounces of dairy the whole day, some cookies we were surprise-gifted from a friend (I served myself some and declared them done, letting everyone else eat the rest), a big old salad and a bunch of blueberry protein smoothies (just 'cause they sounded good and the protein powder needs to be eaten up). This is much cleaner than I usually eat, with the exception of the cookies that popped up on my doorstep, and despite having a wicked cold all day I felt a lot better than when I have more eggs, bread, dairy, or much more sugar than an isolated serving. I know this is the case, I just need to keep reaffirming to myself the reality that I am an individual very responsive and sensitive to insulin, and eating foods that make it spike around just makes me fat and sick.

Bummer, but it's the truth.

I'm still awaiting my hCG in the mail, it's currently being inspected my customs and I'm hoping they don't hold it for weeks on end or levy massive charges on it. I have terrible luck with customs, unfortunately, so I am not holding my breath. If the ampoules aren't here until right before or around Christmas I wouldn't be shocked.

taryl | General | 5 December, 6:29pm | 12 comments

We are having terrible Internet issues right now, due mainly to the load our server has put on our bandwidth (it had previously been hosted in Nevada but had to be brought home for repairs after the collocation place broke it... Grr!). Comments are broken on here, my connection is spotty, the HTML and MySQL are currently locked up, too. So this is mainly me talking to the air on here, with no decent way for anyone to respond and nothing editable but the blog, itself.

Oh well, right?

I'm moving forward with my VLCD in the next few weeks (I'm waiting on my supplies to arrive) and it's very exciting stuff. In the meantime, I've been sticking to 1500-1700 calories and losing slowly but surely, in the meantime. I'm going to try and keep my progress updated on here with pictures and some details of the protocol, in case anyone else is interested and for my records. It is likely I can lose between 20-30 pounds in each round of the protocol (which is about three months from beginning to the end of the rest period before another cycle, with another week or two added each cycle for a greater rest) and I'm hoping two or three of them will take care of my excess entirely. I was originally going to just do one round before trying for another baby, but at this point I'm actually feeling very excited at the prospect of doing two or even all three rounds in a row.

I haven't had peace over delaying trying to conceive for MONTHS, even knowing my husband would like me to put it off (for financial reasons) and I have wanted to get down to 160, myself, before trying. I have been praying for guidance on this and that is about as distinct as it has been. It is a surprising load off my mind to be able to put to rest my biological urges for a season, without it being a daily fight over my desire for another child. Wanting health and weight loss more, for the first time in a year, is refreshing.

My default weight loss support site, 3FC, doesn't support hCG weight loss in its forums (primarily due to scammers), and so I have had to search elsewhere for information from users. I have discovered a wonderful Yahoo group of wise hCG users who have had lots of personal experience and success with the protocol, as well as frequenting one of my favorite old haunts, Low Carb Friends, who have an active and helpful hCG Protocol bulletin board. The information is extensive and the support and friendship is exactly what I wanted. I will miss frequenting 3FC, but the fit isn't as good anymore. I'll still be there, but less so.

I am looking forward to providing information on this blog about the protocol and what I am doing, because the more I research the more I believe in it and see a workable, healthy solution to some of the weightloss struggles I have had (restricting calories without hunger or lean mass loss, breaking food addictions and sensitivities, resetting my hypothalamus for a healthier maintenance pattern, etc). It's backed by solid science (including reproducible results from the original, successful protocol) and as far as I can tell is a shockingly healthy way to reshape one's body and get rid of abnormal fat deposits. It sounds so wacky on its' face and the hCG market is rife with scammers and alterations to the original diet, but the basis is simple and effective. I knew NONE of this before researching the heck out of it the past week, and was highly skeptical, but I've become a believer in theory and am looking forward to affirming it in practice.

When my hCG gets here I will do an official set of start pictures and measurements and move on from there. I am still food journalling and recording my weight daily, but I will likely make that information a more frequent feature in daily blogs throughout the duration of the protocol, so others can see what I am doing. I hope I can do the whole thing justice, it is definitely going to be a challenge but one I am more than ready for, after so much time working at calorie counting and maintaining.

taryl | General | 30 November, 5:52am | 6 comments

First off, happy Thanksgiving yesterday! I hope everyone had a blessed time with their loved ones. I definitely did, with a lot of food to spare ;)

I may have previously mentioned (I can't remember if I did or not, honestly) that I'm officially weaning Seth and lowered my calories. That's worked pretty well and I'm happy to report it wasn't difficult to adjust to slightly less food available. It definitely makes me have to plan more carefully, though!

I'm considering modifying my approach drastically for the next few months, to get off weight more quickly in the time bracket I have before we try for another baby. Something came to my attention that is exactly what I have been looking for and has been used with great success by my mother, I'm considering giving it a go. Maintenance isn't an issue for me, I can honestly say I consider myself a maintenance success after the last three years of minimal weight swings. My biggest regain has been eight pounds? I've kept off 55 or so without issue? Success! Happiness! Yay for me! I honestly count myself a very hopeful story given how many years I have been overweight and then obese.

The thing is, I am still obese, though much, much less. So I am considering going on a medically supervised VLCD (very low calorie diet) with supplementation, to lose a fair chunk quickly, before maintaining again through a pregnancy. The losing is hard for me, holding steady isn't such a challenge. I am generally highly opposed to extreme, fad, chemically diets (which is why I am a calorie counter, of course!) but I've been doing a lot of praying, talking with my husband, and researching this and the science behind it extensively. It honestly looks like a very good choice for me and I'm willing to give it a go. Worst case scenario, I switch back to what is currently working for me, albeit very, very slowly. But given that Seth has weaned and I have an extensive history of tracking both weight and food (required for this approach to be successful, long term), I have no contraindications and am as good a candidate as any. I'm not 100% decided but I'm getting there.

It's nothing I want to advertise or would even recommend to other dieters, but for me I think it is a solid choice and am mulling it.

No other news in these parts other than that my blog is still being weird and I am not going to be able to migrate content to a new site any way but manually copying it in, which is a big hiccup in upgrading. Hubby and I still have to discuss the particulars but one way or another I'm ending up with a new site, it's just a matter of if I have my old stuff there or just begin anew.

taryl | General | 26 November, 4:30am | 4 comments

My brilliant, though painfully busy, husband is still working various updates to our server after some system updates required adjusting other components to keep them all copasetic, and thus this site is still not at 100%. I couldn't update my sidebar block properly this morning but weighed in at 201.6, which is fairly consistent with the past few days' weigh ins.

I just finished working out and am happy to report I have been on plan thus far this week. Thanksgiving I will focus on a single plate of food, no seconds of anything but green veggies or turkey, and not bother logging (too difficult to estimate when I am only cooking the rolls and dessert, I don't know what my inlaws will add to the food in prep), but since the stuff is relegated to one meal at their home, I'm not to worried about it. If it was at my place and all leftovers stayed with me, we'd have an issue ;)

I am officially weaning Seth, he has all but weaned on his own at this point and I'm cutting off the last 5% of it. He is simply too busy in moving and looking around to eat well and is lazy in latching. He likes sippy cups of milk and the only time he nurses is occasionally before bed and in the early morning, but not well either time, so I'm just moving him to water and calling it good. It was a solid thirteen months of nursing and way better than the barely-six months I managed with the girls, so I'm pretty proud. I really enjoyed our nursing relationship and am a little sad to see it go, but it is time and he doesn't need it anymore.

In response to this and to cut some of the wiggle room out of my diet (I tend to take a mile from an inch, unfortunately) I have dropped my calories back to 1550-1600 a day or so, with a few as closer to 1800, to speed up weightloss and keep me stricter on my totals. If I am unreasonably hungry on it I'll consider bumping it back up, but I think this is a good choice until I am pregnant again. It forces me to make wiser food decisions and that generally begets more of the same, with me.

Nothing else interesting here, other than continued piano practice and, at this time, frantic knitting to get done a bunch of projects with deadlines (cold kids playing outside, friends moving, etc etc). My free time is being spent with none to spare, and the next few days will be a lot of the same with needles clicking while I try not to fall behind on the normal, everyday stuff too.

taryl | General | 22 November, 5:31pm | 7 comments

Not much to say this week, I am suffering from both ovulation-related bloat AND munchy issues, just working through each day the best I can. One of the fabulous things about logging food and blogging it for a few years is noticing my weaknesses and patterns in habits that correlate to hormones, environment, emotion, etc etc. I know myself SO much better than I used to, and that knowledge does indeed help me in this area of my life.

Case in point? I bloat up, regardless of eating habits, when I ovulate and menstruate. Two weeks out of the month, with solid eating and activity habits, I retain a good pound or three of water. With that bloating comes carb cravings and irritability. Knowing this, I can pick and choose my foods or activities to satisfy my cravings or head them off, at least being aware of what is occurring. Also - knowing I am NOT a failure with no willpower. I don't just go nuts every once in awhile, there is a real biological basis for it. All good things (it also helps me tell, really quickly, if something is systemically amiss).

I was bloated up to 201.4 this past weigh day, we'll see what the coming week brings. As ever, for always, I take this day by day, behavior by behavior. Three days this past week,for various reasons, I have exceeded my calories. Tomorrow morning I aim to rectify that with my very next meal. I have noticed when I have a big breakfast I still eat the same amount later in the day, but with less calories to spend. I do much better with a big lunch, moderate dinner and snack in the evening, and a light breakfast starting it off. I can eat more early, I am usually physically hungry for it, but holding off and eating less seems to work out much better. Also, I have been lazy about planning my meals ahead and logging them before I eat. No good. It helps me SO much to stay on plan by having a daily plan laid out, knowing what food is coming, monkeying with it if need be, etc etc. The less I plan the worse I do as two weeks ago vs this week (a well planned week vs. a haphazard one) turned out. Noted and acted upon!

I can't yet tell if I am having sugar cravings due to real and artificial sweeteners, I don't do a lot of the former but have been drinking lots of crystal lite, diet dr pepper, and the like. It may be making some of these cravings worse and I don't need that. If, after another few weeks on plan, I find myself stabbing binge monsters in the eye every night after my diet drink, that might be a clue. It is the thing I am honing in on the most right now.

I'm out for the night, bye!

taryl | General | 17 November, 7:11am | 3 comments

Well the title says it all, I might bounce around a little due to water weight but I am back on a downward trend from a high of 203-204 to being back down to 199.6 this morning. It's a good feeling and one I will persist in maintaining throughout the day today. One good choice at a time I can do, all the way back down the scale and beyond my lowest low.

Have a great day, too!

taryl | General | 7 November, 5:36pm | 6 comments

I believe I mentioned a few days ago I was having a hard time adhering to what I needed to do. I've been working hard and stuck to my plan all weekend, finally getting over the hump I kept tripping on.

It's snowed here finally and I am enjoying the gorgeous winter scene - lots of tea and knitting in the evening, warm snuggles with the kids, and that cozy feeling only the dark of deep fall can bring around these parts.

Yes, snow shoveling sucks (though it is great exercise!) but I truly love winter and spring dearly. It can be tough to stick on plan around the holidays, but for some reason this time of the year is, historically, a really solid one for me when it comes to health and happiness. I get lots done and feel great, I don't struggle overly with the desire to hibernate or SAD and other light issues. We all have our struggles, I'm always happy that mine are quite malleable and God has been so gracious in helping me work past them.

I'll weigh in on Tuesday, but regardless I am darn proud of myself for getting back on track. This is life - daily choices to make that move us along. As I have always said on this blog, I am working to make good choices most of the time, that are livable, healthy, and suited for me. It's never "lost", "hopeless", or "over" until breath leaves my body. Every day is new, every choice is another one I can consciously and deliberately make to either help or hinder my goals in life - in everything (not just food but how I spend time, treat people, the things I say, etc).

In this season and all others after it, I will keep on doing what I know is right and work hard to live life in a way that glorifies my God, pleases my husband, and gives me that contented, sated feeling at the end of each day. It's the best I can do with the time and health I have been given, and I will *never* give up on trying to my very best in this and all things. I pray you each do the same.

taryl | General | 7 November, 4:15am | 6 comments

Sorry for the blogs absence, we had a major issue with our collocation service for our server and they ended up breaking a bit of it and having to mail it to us for repairs. My husband cobbled together a mail server on the fly and just got the main one back up last night. It's not at 100% but I have access to my sites again, at least.

Cake decorating is over. Halloween is over. I just suffered an unfortunate miscarriage, but am mostly over that, too. Thus my sugar/stress/busyness/sadness overeating needs to also be done. I am doing daily battle with keeping myself under control and it is probably the toughest struggle in three years of calorie counting and journalling. But I begin every day anew, working hard to stay on plan, and am doing better and better. I'm bouncing around between 200-203 which is about thirteen pounds higher than I'd like to be, but I am nowhere near giving up and keep on doing what I know works. It's just a matter of adherence and the devil is in the details ;)

The good news is I am working out much more consistently, usually four out of the five weekdays I set about to do it (and the one day I don't is a morning where I have bible study first thing and have to get kids ready). I am usually on plan for two to three of my meals, which is also good. It is the evening that is *killing* me lately, with snacking that blows an otherwise on-plan day and it's become compulsive again. My major challenge this week is to uproot that renewed compulsively to eat when I'm not hungry and just say no to myself when the urge comes on. I've done this before, I *know* that a few days of doing it makes the whole thing easy, it is just the initial hump of compliance I am struggling with.

Still, this is a doable process for me and I am determined to get back down and then some. With this miscarriage (I lost the very little one on Halloween) ends our brief time of trying to conceive this year, unless my husband changes his mind. We need a baby due either before or after the election season, if possible, and this was the last time this year I could have a baby due before August. I'm sad, of course, and that has compounded some of my eating issues, but I am also taking this as a bit of a blessing in and of itself, as now I have four months until we begin tring again in Feb 2012, in which I can get my weight as low as possible. Along with continuing my hard work in piano and knitting up a storm, it is these aforementioned healthy endeavors that are my main focus right now. My goal is to be below 190 when I conceive next, unless we try again before the agreed on time... That gives me PLENTY of time to hit that new low before another baby (and earn myself a new handbag in the process, which is still a very lucrative goal on my list).

Wish me the best, I need all the help I can get!

taryl | General | 4 November, 6:46pm | 6 comments

Cake decorating class? SO not helping the diet. I am a finger/bowl/spoon licker, so every time I have a dirty dish I find myself sampling the sweet goodness, practically before I even realize it. It's like naughty food prep reflex action.

I've been on plan and off Fairly equally the past week and need to tighten it up. Fortunately this coming Monday is the last where I'm required to make pounds of icing and baked goods. Thus, I can remove temptation and win the day. I'm looking forward to it, because this doing-well-whoops-try-again cycle is getting annoying.

199.2 today.

taryl | General | 19 October, 11:39pm | 6 comments

(and no, it's not a suppository***)

After being up above 200 since the Fairbanks trip, I weighed in today at 199.0 which, though still about nine pounds over my lowest weight, is a step in the right direction and more comfortable. I said I'd never let myself get back up there and I meant it, which included buckling down in very short order to rectify the regain. I'm working on it and praying for strength, it seems to be helping.

We decided on what we are you to do about my websites - Peter has about a day left on our last yard project for this season (which is good, because the ground keeps freezing hard and snow is falling) and then he has to clean up and organize his office for a winter of hard programming on his software. Since the personal website I need includes a somewhat tricky database widget, he decided he will crunch on that a bit now and finish that first, before beginning his personal stuff. So in the next two or three weeks we should be ready with a combined crafty, piano, weight site for me, that will essentially pool all my thoughts and interests onto different pages but more readily and easily available. It wll also streamline these seperate blogs. They will still be seperate and have their own tabs (I didn't want to use one blog and just tag things differently, I need more separation and features for each one that that) but checking out what I'm doing will be three clicks and some scrolling, not entering in three different web addresses and checking each individually.

It should be good stuff, I think, and greatly increase the functionality for me.

So that's what is new with me. This past week has been getting back into the swing of things after the trip and knitting my hands off, I need to strike a balance this coming week of not oversleeping (my schedule got off on the trip) so I have ample time to do my morning stuff and then disciplining myself to relegate the knitting to the evenings and not try to do it during the day, when I have chores or piano practice ;)

All in all, it's moving in the right direction. I just need to keep it that way.

*** points to anyone who gets the reference

taryl | General | 15 October, 6:12pm | 4 comments

We just returned from our four day trip up north to Fairbanks, visiting friends and attending a meeting there. I am SO glad to be back! Nonstop takeout and junk food took its' toll and bounced me up the scale with sodium and probably a solid pound or two, I'm giving it a week back on my normal eating and activity schedule to see what the real situation is. Once again, I have solidified in my own little brain that I am a creature who thrives on routine. On the fly, traveling, crazy busyness just isn't for me!

I just got off the bike this morning with an easy, respectable 7.8 miles and bible study tucked away. Today will also be busy, but for different reasons. I am doing a cake decorating class with a friend and have to run around for supplies and bake up a cake to work on tonight. This is fortuitous, as it is also my littlest one's birthday! That's right, little Seth is one today. And yes, it is going by way too fast.

I'm going to decorate his cake in class tonight and we'll probably celebrate tomorrow evening, so if my camera is cooperating I should have some cute pictures to follow.

I'm off to the shower and on with my day. Wish me luck!

taryl | General | 10 October, 4:18pm | 13 comments

Just a quick update - things are still good in this house, schedule is working well. Yesterday I was feeling a little run down and exhausted so I skipped the morning stuff and regretted it, so despite getting about four hours of sleep I still managed to complete a chapter of the study and get half an hour (and eight miles) on the bike.

Now, the greater task: try not to drag the rest of the day!

taryl | General | 29 September, 7:00pm | 11 comments

Good morning!

With only a little sleepiness and gritting of teeth I have begun my slightly modified daily schedule. The kids have a setup that already works, so it has just been a matter of tweaking my time to make room for all the important things (bible study, exercise, piano practice, husband time, etc etc) without foregoing too much sleep. I essentially swapped my exercise and piano practice blocks, as I was sleeping through the piano way too much and my brain wasn't awake enough when I DID practice to do much effective work. So now I am waking just before 7:00, doing my bible study until 7:30, and then working out from 7:30-8:00 am. I'd love to have hour blocks for both the study and working out, but that has me waking up early enough that I couldn't stick with it when I tried. This is much more doable. Piano practice got bumped to the 3:00-4:00 pm slot, right before I wake the kids from their naps and begin dinner prep.

The thing I think has been missing most from my time lately is self discipline. I've gotten lazy and complacent as a default, just getting by, and it crept into multiple parts of my life - eating, worship, fitness, and yes, even meal prep and parenting. But as with every other time I have tried to 'relax' my personal standards and spend more time in leisure or relaxation, I have gotten thoroughly sick of the result which is constantly feeling lazy, behind the curve, and seeing a mounting pile of unfinished tasks. Extra sleep or a few more minutes reading a book just isn't worth that, especially when I have found that if I discipline myself to get to bed when both me AND my husband need it, I manage to get everything done WITH enough rest to manage it all. Go figure, right?

As a Christian I am supposed to be characterized by wisdom and self discipline, not laziness and foolishness. I know this intellectually, and yet I find I must be vigilant, year and after, to walk in the manner I know God has commanded me and not slip into what I find temporarily convenient, but what ultimately costs me far more than it affords. There are a plethora of scripture on this topic - especially in Proverbs - but as always the Bible has no power unto itself to change men. I really had to go cry out to God and beg Him to control my will in these areas to overcome this sin I have struggled with my whole life (a lack of diligence in the taste set before me). Even knowing what to do wasn't enough - I had to put it into action and I praise the Lord He changed my heart enough to manage. On my own power I can't make it through a single day in the manner I need to, as the past few months have shown.

Lesson learned and hopefully remembered. One task at a time I need to be diligent. This crosses into cleaning, crafts, eating, the way I instruct my children - having a hard working attitude and a willingness to say no to myself to serve others as I am commanded is necessary in almost every moment of my day as a mother and wife. This is the calling the Lord has given me, I will answer and fulfill it joyfully and to the best of my ability. For me, that means rising early and consistently and beginning my day with a study of the Word and a disclipline to take care of my body. I need it in good shape to do everything else I have on my list, after all!

This morning began a new study by Paul Washer called "The One True God", which is a free ebook I cannot recommend heartily enough: http://www.worshipatsgbc.org/Web%20Messages/OneTrueGod-Ed3-online.pdf

It was then capped with 7.7 miles on the bike, and now I'm off to wake the kids, shower, and proceed with the rest of the morning.

As for the site issues, I talked with Peter and we both agree a redesign and combining of all my sites is in order. I need to investigate other journal editors as I am not great with JAWS. With any luck that project of expanding and combining the site will commence in a few weeks' time.

Off to get de-sweated ;)

taryl | General | 27 September, 4:12pm | 6 comments

Well, I haven't poked my husband about setting up another blog for me, but it's on the list. I did, however, want to give good news on the diet and exercise front - I'm officially back in the saddle! I was on plan yesterday and today without issue, and even got in 7.5 miles on the bike this afternoon.

Now I just have to keep this up, one day at a time. That's all it ever is - not fifty pounds or marathons, but another solid meal or set of steps. One good habit replacing a bad one. Momentum.

Given my rear hasn't graced that bike seat in two months and some change, it was important to note this day in bloggy history ;)

taryl | General | 27 September, 12:20am | 9 comments

I feel like I need to account for my time spent on here, since I'm not exercising but not off the wagon, either! I'm considering adding a tab for my piano related stuff as I want to talk about it, but my weight loss buddies probably aren't interested. Any thoughts?

On the weight loss front, I haven't managed to balance back in exercise yet, it is still woefully lacking. For no reason other than strength and endurance I want to get that back in, but I don't see much good in forcing it when I am already tired, either. Dilemmas, indeed! On the food front, I'm at about 60/40 good eating to lazy, indulgent eating. I still need to get that under control but every day I am hanging in there. Most of the time I am doing fabulously until about 8:00 pm, and then I snack or at dessert and kill it. It's head hunger, not physical, and so I really just need to exercise my 'no' muscle and close the kitchen or drink tea, and that is my challenge to myself this week.

I've been forgetting to weigh most mornings, for some reason, so my progress tracking has been lazy, but I feel like I am mostly maintaining. There are certainly worse things to do than that! We're coming upon the time to try for another baby and so that is much of my motivation to drop another ten or fifteen pounds and maintain there (and I still need a new purse!), please be praying for me as I work at seeing the 180's before another baby. I really wanted to be in the 160's, but I couldn't anticipate the months of complacency, sickness, and food struggles this summer and fall turned into. And since I am in this for this, I am fairly gentle with myself and my 'failings' in food, which is just one of those lifelong character struggles I have to manage. It's doable, but I accept it isn't linear and I'm still learning and trying to further shape habits I have had for years. I've been successful in losing and keeping all but about four pounds off, I just need to take a stepwise approach and reform that little bit more to make more progress down the scale. Little, permanent changes are the name of my game, and it isn't a quick or easy process, but it is one I can stick with (and that is what matters!).

This morning was 197.6, for no particular reason. That's acceptable, but I don't like it. So now all that remains is to do the work and better it. I'm up for the challenge!

taryl | General | 20 September, 3:50pm | 8 comments

I'm still here, plague-ridden and sluggish as I am things are going pretty well. We're halfway through the week-without-Daddy and so far doing pretty good, all things considered. With Nyquil and coffee, alternately, I'm managing to function well enough that stuff is getting done, kids are surviving, and only a few too many cartoons are being watched.

As for my eating, it has been solidly good some days and pretty bad others, in equal measure, so I am losing very slowly or holding steady, spending on the day. I'm trying to take it one good meal at a time. Last night was heavy overindulgence on takeout sushi, and while it was tasty I am looking forward to eating at home tonight. A sweet friend from my church called when she heard I was sick and offered (insisted) to bring me and the kids and meal and help out around here a bit. While I refused the help because I didn't want her kids getting sick, I will happily accept her cooking for a day, so I am looking forward to a nice stew and banana bread. I am so grateful for her tenderness and care, it is a huge blessing to me!

Exercise has been non-existent for a month or two, and the reason is actually not laziness. I have gotten very heavily back into my piano practicing and am loving it, I finally modified my practice approach and it revolutionized the way I felt about the whole endeavor (I've been doing it wrong for years, it turns out, and that was why I was apathetic about playing and not progressing, even as a child. They tell you to practice and never actually explain what that entails!). So my exercise block in the afternoon is now translating to an hour of piano practice. While it burns calories, it isn't quite the same as time on the bike ;)

I need to figure out how to adjust my daily time allotments to fit both in, but so far I haven't managed. That is my second project down the list - my first is getting disciplined about bedtimes again, so I can wake and do my bible study instead of needing more sleep. It's always a tradeoff, but that is one I can't afford to make. I HAVE to be disciplined about sleep and I've let it slide for two months - it shows, too, in weight issues as much as snappy tempers and listlessness. No more. It isn't worth it and it's about time I decided that! My lack of discipline in this area affects my husband and children too, and that is the last straw!

So anywa, that's where I am. I weighed in at 194.6 yesterday and 198 today, thanks to the Japanese and sodium content of last night. Such is life, and onward I go.

taryl | General | 14 September, 5:52pm | 3 comments

Right in the knick of time, as I was about to post about how I was finally feeling better and back on track(ish), what happens to me?

Oh, right. I get sick a THIRD TIME with the cold/flu bug from hell. Seriously, it is only a slightly mutated version of the same one. Gee, thanks immune system. Now we're OVER a month of nearly solid debilitating exhaustion and pain.

It is 4:00 in the afternoon and I haven't eaten yet. I think it's about time I drag my sorry bum to the kitchen and fuel it. Fortunately my husband is letting me rest today, but sadly he is out of town from tomorrow morning to late Friday night, so any breaks are non-existent from here on out.

I'm praying I'll be able to manage without too much exhaustion. Keep me in your thoughts, please :(

taryl | General | 11 September, 11:53pm | 18 comments

I had a few days respite this past week but alas, as of yesterday I have been reinfected with this cold/flu nonsense AND another bout of pink eye, likely from my children and makeup brushes, respectively. I was so wiped out the past two days, and so waking up with symptoms this morning was less of a surprise. I'm bummed, I hate being sick and nit makes diet and exercise SO much harder for me, but that's my lot right now.

I'm still struggling against overeating, complacency, and fatigue. Every day I start out on track and just do my best to stay on it. I'm usually good until after dinner, and then the overeating hits, so right now that is where I am focusing on white knuckling a few days to get back in the habit. I need three solid days on plan to get the ball rolling and I know I can do it again. Illness just complicates it a bit.

Here's to focusing on my health - apparently ALL aspects of it, not just diet and exercise! I'm not doing terribly, hanging in there at 196 (I refuse to regain more), but what I really want is to be in the 180's and the losing side of the equation is what is eluding me. So I maintain for today, and hope for losses tomorrow. When my head is about to explode and my throat feels like I swallowed razor blades, it's the best I can do!

taryl | General | 30 August, 4:53pm | 9 comments

Just a quick note here - I am not dead or off the wagon, though I might as well be the former, with how I am feeling. Sickness aplenty has been visited upon this house, and in the past two weeks I have had a flu-like thingy, head cold, and pink eye (of all things!) in rapid succession. Bein sick has thrown off my body, made me retain water, had my appetite vacillating between non-existent and ravenous, and overall been quite a ride for weight loss. So I've been tracking my food and weighing when I remember to, but it's more out of habit than any purpose right now.

My focus is on getting better (I'm at the tale end of the pink eye and head cold) and then moving forward. Until then, no official weigh ins or caring about showing losses, because there is too much else going on. I'm so glad I generally have a good immune system, because the past two weeks has sucked!

taryl | General | 25 August, 4:25pm | 12 comments

Just a quick note - I am back on plan for the most part and was down about 1.5 pounds from last week, which wasn't bad considering I had a huge overeating day Saturdy and started my cycle again the morning of my official weigh in (thus, water retention). There isn't much to say other than that I am just doing what I always do and my goals remain the same. I am eager to get into the 180's, but I need to be a little more disciplined with myself to do it. I can maintain really easily, but the extra restriction it takes to lose weight is a struggle for me. So now it is that matter of having to decide, daily, that I want to lose weight more than I want seconds, that cookie, a nibble of this or that, etc etc.

I'm doing it, but this week I am challenging myself to do it even better. Three solid days on plan would be awesome. I was 194.6 this morning, as a side note. It IS improving, even if it is at a slow rate. I don't have any particular deadline, so it doesn't matter to me :)

taryl | General | 10 August, 4:41pm | 6 comments

My official weight for this past week, as of this morning, is 196.6. That's already almost a full pound down from yesterday's weight, so it's probably accurate enough.

I'm glad to be done with that nonsense, truth be told. I hate traveling, hate hotel food, and HATE regaining weight. But it had to be done, and my weight fluctuated up during this season and shall go right back down as I get back to my norm. It's not the end of the world, certainly, and is completely under my control to change. I admit, though, that I am thrilled to be one of those steady Eddie kind of people, who likes to live in predictability and actually has the means to do so, most of the time. Because this busyness I've been mired in the past three months has been one of the most wearying experiences of my life. My husband and I have both decided we're never committing to so much stuff again. Other families can do it and thrive, we simply cannot.

I'm off to make some breakfast and start the day, and very excited to show a good loss next Tuesday. Wish me luck!

taryl | General | 2 August, 4:40pm | 8 comments

Well, I went to the wedding in California (Vegas, actually, but I drove there from California to spend more time with my family on each side of the event) and it was just a stressful, crazy, and busy as I thought it would be! Lot of fast food, salt galore, and a weird schedule that changed every day. I'm not a giant fan of traveling anyway, let alone with an almost-crawling baby, but I survived and looked great doing it.

I will see if I can get a photo from the wedding so you all can see you cute I looked in my dress ;)

I did not make my goal of 189 for the wedding, I was just shy in the 190-191 range. That's okay, though! I tried hard and still lost weight, just not as much as I was hoping. I'm not picky enough to declare that less than a victory, even if I didn't win first place. I had a heck of a time once I got back, with the exhaustion of the whole thing, and then my husband having back to back trips out of town for almost the entire rest of the week, I succumbed to emotional eating and struggled mightily with not bingeing over the weekend. I was waiting for sodium and water retention to subside from traveling and didn't hop on the scale all week - I think that was a mistake, because it made it easier to ignore the overeating in the evenings my husband was away, but yesterday I got it back under my thumb and am back on track now. Tomorrow will be my official weigh in and, whatever the number, I'll move down the scale from there.

As of today I am up a good 4 pounds or so, probably helped by the salty soup I had for dinner last night, but my calories were on target and will continue to be, that four pounds and hopefully another 40 more will be gone soon enough.

I just need to go back to taking it one choice at a time, I WILL break through the 190's, it is a matter of when, not if.

It's good to be back here :). I hope the rest of the summer finds you as well as it finds me.

taryl | General | 1 August, 4:51pm | 8 comments

The difference a day or two can make.

Thanks to my period, my normal weight patterns, and miscellaneous food and exercise influence, my weight at the beginning of the week kept bouncing around the 192 and high 191 range. This morning? 190.6.

Mid week is kinder to me, apparently (and Aunt Flo is decidedly NOT).

Another thing I must just accept and not fight - somewhere along the line, I inexplicably became sensitive to caffeine. I spent several hours last night jittery, tossing and turning in bed, with weird racing heartbeats every few seconds, thanks to a glass or two of iced tea in the hours before bed. I have noticed the same issue, more dramatically, with coffee, but apparently tea does me in as well. So if I want a functional morning I need a restful night, and thusly the caffeinated drinks must be much further from bedtime than an hour or two. It appears I take about three or four hours to fully metabolize caffeine, so none of it after 7 pm should suffice.

The lesson for today, folks? You ARE your own science experiment! Play around with the variables and figure out what is best for you. Also, be completely unsurprised when it changes. What didn't bother my system three years ago is kryptonite to me now. And as my body weight diminishes, the effects of stimulants and depressants (like caffeine and alcohol) become more pronounced. All of this is interesting to me, and just another piece of the puzzle of living life healthy and well.

See you on Monday, it's the day before I fly out to California for my brother's wedding and I am working my tail off to have a number in the 180's to report to you by then. I WILL make this goal! I'm so close I can taste it. Adios!

taryl | General | 13 July, 4:39pm | 4 comments

Maybe I should just change my official weigh day to Tuesday, because I am always a good pound lighter than on Monday or Sunday! Today was 191.4, which was what I was before VBS started, so all's well that ends well as I am officially tying my all time low (for the past eight years, anyway!) just a few days after the fact. I did the best I have ever done with the sugar this go around. Still not phenomenal and the picture of self discipline, but darn close.

With slightly more seriousness, what do we think about me changing my official weigh-in to Tuesday? I kind of feel like I am cheating the system, knowing I am lower that day than Monday, but I always feel like it is more representative of my actual weight than any weekend carb bloat that is residual on the weekend. On the other hand, one of the big accountability factors for my weekends is that I can't go nuts or it skews my weigh in, and doing a mid-were check in would diffuse some of that incentive.

Maybe I'll give it a try for a few weeks and see if, at this point in my journey, I am controlled enough in my normal default habits that I don't need that looming accountability of my 'official' daily weight being reported every Monday. Because honestly, Tuesdays have always been the kindest to me for some reason.

taryl | General | 28 June, 4:48pm | 4 comments

It was a weird, busy week, and we won't even mention the food funkiness the VBS schedule required and induced, all at once. Yet? I clocked a small loss and essentially maintained for the entire week! Given how crazy the whole thing ends up being, not gaining a few pounds from sugar and stress eating is impressive, enough!

I clocked in this morning at 192.6, and I still have a few days to get over the limit or as close to 189 as I can, before assessing whether I made my monthly goals. I'm pretty proud of myself and the hard work the past two weeks has taken to remain even moderately on plan, and I'm so happy to be able to resume my normal schedule. Not a moment too soon, either, as the wedding is in just over three weeks and I want to look my absolute best!

taryl | General | 27 June, 5:06pm | 13 comments

It's over.

With help from my husband and a bang up awesome team in the kitchen with me, we made it through another VBS. Unfortunately this one broke me emotionally, and after four years I will not be volunteering in another (anywhere in the forseeable future, anyway!). It's causing too many issues and upheaval for my family, as well as some struggles and disagreements between us and the leaders of the event. I don't really want to go into detail, but taking a step back and knowing my personal limits on involvement (which I exceeded this week) is really necessary for my spiritual health. When I am too busy or stressed it is a real temptation for me to sin, and my pride in wanting to do well gets the best of me.

So no more, the past two months have been absolutely insane and I'm DONE. Many of these things were good and a blessing, but I'm in a season where I simply need to be doing less, and stick with that for a year or two. I will be doing a lot of praying and hope God gives me some peace over the decision to remove myself from involvement in so many activities.

As for food and exercise, I don't even know. Yesterday was crazy and today I'm not particularly hungry, so I'm going to give it a few days of rebalancing and eating my normal fare before passing judgment on my weight. I couldn't even guess if, once the sodium haze has cleared, I will be down in weight or the same. I have a sneaking suspicion I maintained this week, we'll see!

Excuse me while I pass out, now ;)

taryl | General | 25 June, 11:35pm | 10 comments

Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows that my nemesis has rolled around.

This week is VBS week, in which I, the snack coordinator, am exposed to massive piles of junk food for hours on end the entire week. With stress. And enabling social eating.

My goal is to survive the week and not melt down. So far it is going fairly well. I'm also not veering too terribly off plan. I'll be glad when Saturday rolls around though, no question.

My weight is bouncing between 191-193, as predicted. Salt, lots of standing, carbs, and stress aren't helping much, and my ankles are swelling like they do at the end of pregnancy. But other that that, I'm doing pretty well.

I'll report in with more next week, as my brain is mush for the rest of this one!

taryl | General | 22 June, 5:32pm | 9 comments

Just another reminder of how fickle our bodies can be, and that basing our self esteem or perception of losses on the scale, alone, is missing a huge part of the equation.

I was 195 on Monday, 194 on Tuesday, and today I'm 191.4.

That's a massive drop.

It's also more in line with how my calories have been for the past two weeks.

But it didn't show up on the scale until today.

Why, you ask?

Well, the last day of my period was Tuesday. My hormones shifted and regulated again, and I shed a significant amount of water I had been retaining. Water, that has been masking real losses of fat for the past week. If I had been going solely on the scale I'd have been frustrated, with two weeks of very little apparent progress. But my clothes were fitting slightly looser (except around my bloated lower abdomen) and my face was looking less puffy, even after the Hot Dog Debaucle of a camping trip.

Women, in particular, generally do NOT lose weight linearly. Our monthly cycles dictate our losses, and while most women will lose 4-8 pounds a month if sticking to a 500 calorie a day deficit, many will NOT lose 1-2 pounds per week. If they are anything like me, they hold steady, lose a ton, bounce up a bit, move back down, and hold steady again, before repeating the cycle in another two to three weeks. If I am faithfully on plan I almost always have big whooshes of weight every three weeks or so, followed by my body bouncing around a pound or so on either side before resetting at that point and then moving further down the scale. Unfortunately this cycle is punctuated by major hormonal cravings and if I give in too excessively it can affect my loss pattern and slow it down, but the basic structure is the same month to month, if I am not pregnant.

I am thrilled for the whoosh, but I am also expecting (and won't be too terribly annoyed by) my weight bouncing up a half pound or so by weigh day, as my body gets used to this new range (191-193) it is in, instead of the old range (194-196). But slowly and surely the scale IS moving, and I am so happy that I may be able to make my tentative goal of 189 by the end of June. We'll see, it's not the end of the world if I don't, so long as I am heading in the right direction. But hormones or not, if I am consistently pushing a calorie deficit I DO lose weight, even if it looks a little crazy day to day the pattern emerges from the seemingly random numbers. This alone is a reason I suggest daily weighing to those who can do it, I would have NEVER made sense of the seemingly crazy weight fluctuations I experience without a consistently, long-ranging log of it.

Hormones. Weight loss. It's a side of the equation I don't think gets talked about enough. And that's a shame, because I get the feeling a lot of yo-yo dieting women would benefit greatly from an understanding that not seeing losses like clockwork after two weeks doesn't mean they're doing something wrong, and that sticking with it vigilantly WILL pay off. After three years of slow but earnest efforts, I can say it is infinitely better to lose slowly and unsteadily than to give up and never try at all. I've failed by conventional dieting standards, and failed off over 65 pounds.

To me, I'd say that 'failure' looks a whole lot more like victory ;)

taryl | General | 15 June, 6:00pm | 6 comments

Well all in all it wasn't too bad, I suppose. I weighed in at 194.0 on Monday. It's essentially holding steady from last week.

The issue? I stayed on plan like GLUE all week, was down to the low 193's, and then had to go on a weekend camping trip with my family and church.

Camp food.

You know the type, right? S'mores, hotdogs, etc etc?

Yeah. Pretty much obliterated any calorie deficit I was maintaining for the week, which is just a wee bit frustrating. The good news is that I was on plan before and on plan immediately after getting back, and lost no significant ground. The bad news is that I would have traded the whole trip just to not have to go off plan. I hate stutters in my resolve like that, where I don't even WANT to go off plan but circumstances dictate that I will. I didn't go badly off plan, but I would have preferred to spend my weekend eating normally and not junk. It wasn't even particularly good junk, and if I am going to blow calories I at least want to ENJOY them!

This week and the next and going to be incredibly stressful. It is VBS next week and thus there is both junk food and stress in droves, as I am the snack lady for 140 kids and the snacks are all various types of calorie dense, sugary food. That's just the way the curriculum plans them. Not terrible, but strawberry jam biscuits, popcorn, apples with dip, cookies, etc etc... None of them are diet friendly, and stress makes me tend to shove my face anyway.

My plan is going to be an exercise in control. One meal at a time, planned out from the morning, with allowances for my healthier type of fun food (Italian cream sodas, dark chocolate, home-made popcorn out of the wok, etc etc). I am going to chew gum like nobody's business and suck on mints to avoid putting the piles of sugar into my mouth, licking any empty batter bowls, or generally grazing on stuff that makes me crave more carbs and lose less weight, it's just not worth it to me anymore, to indulge on that stuff. I'm not there, my head is in loss mode, so I can't gracefully accept a junk week as 'okay' right now. If I hold steady or lose a small bit during the next two weeks I will consider that a massive victory, in the face of the hours of being immersed in sugary floury fluff that will make up my evenings.

I WILL get this weight off. I'm done with the 190's and not willing to languish here any longer than necessary. One pound at a time, one choice at a time, my butt is down and out of here! And no VBS treats will stop me from achieving that goal!

taryl | General | 14 June, 5:50pm | 3 comments

That would be me, when I look in the mirror some days and SWEAR I look as bad as I did at 260, though it isn't humanly possible that I am packing that much jiggly fat somewhere when I am 60 pounds lighter.

Before trying to lose weight, I never understood the concept of 'fat days', I honestly have no recollection of ever staring myself down in the mirror and scrutinizing my body, noticing bloat or jiggle. For better or worse, I didn't analyze my body or looks in that particular way until after 2008, when I began changing things and the state of my body became of central importance in my choices and routine.

I was 193.0 today, now that the ovulation-induced water retention has subsided and I am in the back end of my cycle. I am the lightest I have been since high school, that I have verified on a scale. I fit into 16's with my 38I breasts and child-spread hips, and the slight muffin top of loose skin is subsiding even more. I remember when I couldn't get those old jeans up over my thighs, when they looked almost impossibly tiny next to my size 22's (that, let's face it, should have been 24's if I wasn't in denial). I remember 14-16 being holy grail sizes when I just wanted to be comfortable moving again, and not be the fattest person in any room I walked in.

So why, oh why, have those pants started look massive? Why do my XL shirts (the knit ones are on the loose side, when I buy more I definitely need a size down) seem huge and ungainly, coming from a woman who was solidly in 3x at one point? I could scarcely tell you. Most days I think I look phenomenal. I feel wonderful, sexy, full of vitality. But every one in awhile I notice the sagging skin or jiggly leftover fat that used to be firm. My logical brain tells me that it is jiggly because it is on it's way off my body and loose, not pulled taut by fat packed around my organs anymore. That the loose skin is as much from babies at weight loss, and well hidden by clothes. That there is even a huge difference between 193 and 213, and I remember feeling lovely at that size.

Fat days, it seems, have become a regretful part of my vocabulary.

The only cure for them, I have found, is perspective. Lifting a Costco sack of flour and realizing I have lost the weight equivalent of three of those, or picking up both girls at once and understanding I used to sound every waking moment with that weight. Looking at old pictures or trying on old clothes is also a huge eye opener, and a blessing to me when I don't let myself get discouraged about it ;)

Knowing also, that part of the reason I have good and bad days is that I am small enough now that bloat makes a DIFFERENCE in my clothing fit! The sizes and styles at the higher end of my weight were so generous I didn't notice five extra pounds either way, in the ease of the garment. Comforting myself that a little critical eye applied to my figure can be motivating and focusing in working toward my mini goals, but being conscious of never veering into self loathing or unrealistic perspectives on my own figure (body dysmorphia).

Do you ever have 'fat days'? How do you handle them?

taryl | General | 8 June, 4:57pm | 4 comments

When I stick to my plan I lose weight, novel concept, no? I was 194.4 today, which is a new low, and attributed solely to being consistently on plan without any veering this week. I shouldn't be surprised, but a part of me is. I know how the science and chemistry of weight loss works and yet, when I have spent some time 'in the wilderness' of complacency, so to speak, it always seems just a little bit like magic to get back on the trail and see that my hard work actually DOES net me results when I don't self-sabotage.

I have been dreadfully lazy on my exercise, working on my sewing or kitchen organization instead, but I'm not sweating it. With me, the eating has always been the most crucial side of the equation. I like working out, but in a stressful week like this one I am trying to tread water and not burn out before my husband is available to help, and if that necessitates me taking a nap or moderating my exercise, so be it!

We'll talk about sabotage another day, but needless to say my monthly craft night is coming up. I am sticking firmly in the 'bring a healthy snack and eat it!' camp this month, because I really want to get this weight off. I dawdled for months and have been doing better, but I'm done with the 190's. No more being psyched out, I'm ready to leave them for good. That includes finally being ready to say NO to extra calories I don't need. Getting to this point took some time, I couldn't force it, but I am certainly thrilled to be here now!

taryl | General | 26 May, 4:18pm | 5 comments

First to get out of the way - with a week that was half great, half mediocre, in terms of eating, I clocked in at 195.2 today, a nice loss. I'm happy with it, given the circumstances surrounding it.

I am doing better at sticking to my plan when I am on it, but now I am struggling with the title of this post, consistency. I need to do what I know works 95% of the time, and I'm at around 70% adherence. It's better, a real step in the right direction and I am feeling great, but it'd time to up the ante and work back into allowing some grace with my eating (like junk) without flying off the rails and overeating on it. For now, I have an embargo on some things I used to be able to eat in moderation, like pizza and granola, until the cravings beast has subsided. It is no surprise that my last two week tailspin coincided with my monthly cycle, but considering that we are waiting for awhile for another baby I am going to have to find a way to manage those monthly hormone fluctuations without eating the (sugary) house every three weeks. I've done it before, I know I can do it again, but action is the name of the game.

I have been experimenting with adjusting my food logs. I used to fill them out as I was making a plate, but I have begun planning the entire day's food quantities at the outset, and that actually maky be helping me. It takes away some of the open-ended, last minute food decisions that I was overindulging in, and gives me some additional peace that I WILL get enough to eat, as I can see it coming up on the log. Sometimes I psyche myself out with hunger and go nuts, so having a framework in place when that ravenous evening hunger comes around may be that last bump I need on the consistency side of things, to get to where I want to be.

This week and next are filled to the brim with stress. I am trying to cope other ways than eating and we'll see how that pans out!

taryl | General | 24 May, 4:15pm | 8 comments

I was commenting on Diane's blog this morning and it brought me around to thinking about goals. She was talking about hard goals and 'you'll know when you get there' softer targets, and I figured it was time for another goal discussion to keep me on track.

You see, the past four of five months I have been struggling with the scale and maintaining when my goal has been to lose. I haven't wanted it enough to discipline myself in a significant way, and quite frankly I do struggle with both hunger and every persistent boredom eating while nursing. These things are just facts of life I have to deal with, and they CAN be managed in a way that doesn't interfere with my losing weight. I've done it before and I'm doing it now, but I need to make smart choices.

My hard goals, as I've said before, are 189 (insurance discount weight, which I am only about five pounds from, these days), and 160. I have checked several other hard goals, including 199, off my list. While I still occasionally touch it with overeating and water retention, I know that the further I get down the scale the less I'll have issues with 'sticking' below a certain weight.

Being in the 180's will be nice, as it is an ever more popular, normal looking weight for a woman. I am also looking forward to the financial discount on our health insurance premium, and a beautiful new purse at 180. I'm going there, I'm going to GET there, and I'd like to do it (if I can) before July. That's my goal. If I don't make the time goal, no sweat, but I have been working hard to hit it and will continue to do so. 170, as an aside, has the reward of a matching wallet to go with that purse.

160 is my holy grail, sexy weight. The best body time of my life, where I was active, curvy, and quite attractive, was around 160. I haven't seen it since I was 15, and I know I my heart that even ten years and three kids down the road, I can and should see it again. It is completely attainable, if only I do the steps I know will get me to that end. I haven't even decided what I will gift myself when I hit 160 - likely some glamour shots or professional family photos with the kids, as I find we have very few of those.

Below 160 is what Diane was describing as a soft goal, where I don't have a specific number in mind but I will know when I get there. 145 is kind of my lower-end goal weight, but if I don't make it or find it too hard to maintain I probably won't be too broken up about it. Really I can see living my life anywhere between 130-150, if I am disciplined with myself. But those are far off and unimportant right now. My soft goal is looking and feeling great, not having too much difficulty in maintaining, and the weight that happens at is flexible as long as it is below 160. That's the only goal I am focusing on these days, the one that matters most to me.

I have wasted so much time these past few months overindulging and getting into weird head spaces, but in the scheme of things a few years doesn't hurt much. I would love to work at being below 160 by the end of this year, if only because we will be able to try for another baby by then and I'd like to be at or much closer to goal when we do (similar to me wanting to have Seth around 200, tying my children being conceived to weight goals is a great motivator for me). I'm not worried about maintaining my weight once I get there, I'm surprisingly good at keeping myself in a range, but the excess calorie deficit to lose is where I struggle. It has to be done, and at this point I have run out of excuses, celebrations, and time to dawdle any longer. My hard goals are set, I know what needs to be done and how to do it, and I am in the midst of exactly that.

It's a good feeling.

189, 160, 145? Here I come!

taryl | General | 19 May, 4:29pm | 7 comments

For my HYC check in, I admit I was a little sheepish. My weight has been all over the place on the high side for the last week and a half, thanks to much celebrating and junking around. I have been back on plan doing damage control and trying my darndest to get into the 180's. I'm not there yet, but from a high of 201-something on Sunday, I'm at 195.4 today. Some of that was water retention and carbohydrate issues but considering my weight has been in the 196-198 range all month, some of it is genuine, nose-to-the-grindstone weight loss, too.

Not a moment too soon. I'm ready, it's time. Hi ho hi ho, down the scale we go!

taryl | General | 18 May, 4:36pm | 8 comments

Here's one reason to not just rely on the scale - the measurements you clock in at various weight can be encouraging, even when the random number generator makes you feel like a hamster on a wheel! I have been frustrated with the teeth-yanking difficulty of the last ten pounds I have lost, mostly due to the head issues fell into on five pounds above and below 200. I retook my measurements and found the frustration of the last six months pretty much melt away in light of the real physiological changes. At the end of the day, losing the inches slowly doesn't matter to my brain as much as the fact that they are GONE, and I have to remember that.

Also, you can definitely tell I gain my weight like an apple, filling out and padding my torso instead of my limbs. From the beginning of this journey, 60+ pounds ago, I have only lost two inches off my arms, as opposed to almost ten off my waist :)

Measurements taken 11/8/11:

WEIGHT: 215.6 (official post-baby start weight)

WAIST: 41 in

HIPS: 50 in

UNDERBUST: 38 in

BUST: 49.5 in

ARMS: 15.5 in

THIGHS: 24.5 in

Measurements taken 5/10/11, with my original size from 10/3/08 in parenthesis

WEIGHT: 196.6 (257-260, minimum)

WAIST: 37 in (46 in)

HIPS: 47 in (55 in)

UNDERBUST: 36 in (46 in)

BUST: 47 in (56 in)

ARMS: 14.5 in (16.5 in)

THIGHS: 24 in (26 in)

So. Not only is the change from six months ago huge, in terms of inches, given how comparatively few pounds I have lost, but the rate of change since beginning this journey is immense. From my 'I've had it, this HAS to change, NOW!' moment while trying on clothes in October of the year my second daughter was born, to seven months out from the birth of my son, I have lost a grand total of 62 pounds and 40 inches.

40 INCHES! That's more than my oldest daughter is, tall! Thats HUGE on the days I feel massive and can't see any change, realizing the entire topography of my body has changed and I am a much smaller, healthier, and yes, happier person for it, makes all the difference in my outlook. I was frustrated and lackadaisical for months, but this was the last straw to jolt me completely out of it. I AM successful, and will actively and happily continue to be. I WILL get this weight off. I have a wedding to impress family at, a summer to enjoy, a husband to be sexy with, and the rest of my life NOT being obese to look forward to. There is absolutely no reason for me to feel discouraged. In the end, who CARES if it took me almost three years to get here? If I had never started, if it really didn't matter, I'd likely be heavier than my starting weight, as opposed to three clothing sizes smaller, and lethargic, depressed, and a poor role model for my children.

I look different, but more than that I AM different. God has been doing an amazing work in my heart and I am more joyful and peaceful as a result. He has also facilitated this great work on my body, which is slowly and gratifyingly changing it into a functional, healthy shell to help me get through my day. The day to day struggles are still frustrating, but a little perspective on this makes a world of difference. After ten years of being obese and three years of losing, I have a whole life to look forward to at this smaller (and hopefully smaller still!) size. With only small daily habits of food logging and weighing, and daily mindfulness about my eating, I can maintain and improve my body. It is so hard to quantify the vast differences in confidence, self esteem, and quality of life this change in my eating and exercise has afforded me. 40 inches may well have been 40 link of chains, for all the things they kept me from doing. 60 pounds was suffocating the life right out of me, because I told myself the lie that food made me happy and I didn't need restraint.

On days when I still struggle with food being an idol, I need to remember how I feel standing on top of this hill and looking back at where I just hiked. It's a darn good feeling and I don't want to let it go.

taryl | General | 11 May, 4:04pm | 7 comments

I'm still here and doing moderately well. This weekend saw my Anniversary on Friday and Mother's Day on Sunday, as well as my birthday on Thursday of the coming week, I'm in the middle of eating/caking/pampering season for me at this house, and have been enjoying it. Not unrestrainedly, but I've eaten intuitively and not counted calories on most of the out-of-home meals I have had this weekend. It is what it is, but I am looking forward to being more on plan today and getting rid of the bloat and pound or two I regained in the past three weeks.

Once again, when I am off plan I find myself weary of it. It stresses me out and is only fun for the moment I am eating. Otherwise it just throws me off balance and I don't feel well. I don't want that for myself, so the answer is simple enough - put the brakes on and do the work of losing more!

My exercise, conversely, has been better than my eating. Anyone who knows me knows that is rare. I am enjoying moving more and need to get my food to match again. This can happen, I can do this, but it requires rebalancing the equation of my choices so that the good outweigh the bad by a more significant margin. One choice at a time, I WILL take off this last forty like I dealt with the first 60. It is well within my grasp, if only I shuffle forward to it. Slow and stilted is NOT failing, so long as I don't give up.

My weight this morning? 196.8. That number makes me quite proud, in knowledge of how much sushi and frappuccino I indulged in yesterday! :blush:

taryl | General | 9 May, 4:06pm | 14 comments

That's this morning, anyway. A struggle to get going, keep my eyes open, do things cheerfully... I can do it through Christ, and that's the extent of it.

I'm also mysteriously struggling with my diet. Again. Easter threw me off with salt and water retention, then my weight has been higher than it 'should' have been, given what I have been eating and doing (workouts are going great!). I know, logically, that I cannot control the scale, only the behaviors each day, so I am trying to focus on those. I wish I hadn't gotten off track because getting back in the groove is a pain.

I have to do it, however. One meal at a time. Saying no to myself. Spending calories wisely. NO grazing while cooking. I can do it, I can discipline my mine and body, now it is time to buckle down again. If I want health, to look great at my brother's wedding, a cute little purse, and the satisfaction of achieving a normal weight, well then I'd better get my butt in gear!

I will record my weight later, I still have to nurse Seth again (that can throw it off by as much as half a pound, he's a champion eater!), then today is piano lessons on top of the normal schedule, capped by an anniversary dinner with my husband (in which I will do my best to make smart choices, but you better believe I am conserving calories and eating leanly throughout the day to save for it!). We've been married five wonderful years as of this Friday, and he has been such a blessing to me. For him, for our children, for myself, I want the next fifty years to be healthier than the first five. I'm already down lower than I was when we got married, by a significant margin, and I can do better, still.

All things through Christ who strengthens me. Overeating and sinning in regard to laziness and gluttony isn't honoring God, and in this I pray for His strength and discipline. That is my strength - how do YOU conquer your food and exercise issues?

taryl | General | 2 May, 4:09pm | 15 comments

In the midst of cleaning my house top to bottom (and getting rid of tons of trash, organizing, and fifteen or so bags of clothes sorted to go to our church garage sale) for exercise and eating on plan, I managed to drop over three solid pounds last week! Eating 1850 calories a day! I usually lose between .5 and 1.5 pounds each week, but the constant activity in cleaning and organizing seems to have burned a ton of calories. I weighed in at 195.2 and have been solidly in the 195's for several other weigh-ins. Given I was over 200 a week or so ago, this is great progress.

I'm continuing to follow my plan and moving ever closer to my goal *cough*purse*cough*, remaking the habits I got out of - if I'm honest - got out of a few months into Seth's pregnancy. I have lost weight postpartum, about 20 more pounds, and yet every single one was a struggle against apathy, regains, splurges... I feel comfortable now that I am finally back where I want to be, when it comes to the mental work of weight loss. My house in is order, figuratively and literally, I have a working schedule for Peter's new hours that is a blessing to me, I am happy and healthy, my kids are doing well... Everything is aligning in the way I was hoping. This is nothing short of a miracle from God in my life. I have not been able to do this alone, and constant prayer and prioritizing what is really important in my day has made the difference.

I am going to continue my eating, working out (even if it is cleaning instead of formal exercise), and spending each day in an edifying, productive way. That's all I can control, the scale will take care of itself.

The next pictures will be at 189, be on the lookout!

taryl | General | 19 April, 8:12pm | 6 comments

I said I'd check in when it happened, and I went from 198.0 yesterday to 197.0 today, which takes me over the threshold into 60 pounds lost. I am also well on my way through the second half of my journey to my initial goal weight of 160, from 257 initially (and that's just where I started counting, it is a good 20 pounds lower than my highest weight). I'm firmly back in th groove, and it is a GOOD feeling. As much fun as junk is to eat, I prefer being on plan as it makes me feel better physically, emotionally, and grants me much-desired stability.

Hopefully I can clock another pound or two of loss this week, but either way I'm happy to be lower than I was and over my mental block surrounding 200.

taryl | General | 13 April, 6:01pm | 6 comments

Yes indeed, as the weight in the sidebar indicates I (through God's mercy on me and giving me strength!) managed to reel myself backing and conquer that slight regain to get back to where I needed to be. I had one rough day, due to eating at my FIL's house and baking a birthday cake for my husband (he turned 33 yesterday), but enough good days lead to a solid overall loss and getting back on track.

I have been pretty good about getting my cycling in, as I really do love it. I still need to add in strength training, but right now I want to do the exercise I am consistent on, to build up that momentum. I've been exercising my 'no' muscle regarding most wheat, dairy, and sugar, and that has also helped my control. Now it is time to continue on in my losses. My next major mini goal is 189, and 180 gets me a new (and rather expensive) purse to replace my current one, which has a broken buckle. That, surprisingly enough, is motivating for me. I'm dedicated to keeping it off, but I have found I need smaller, more tangible motivation to actively do more than tread water and maintain.

That's a huge revelation for me!

I'll report in when I get to 60 pounds lost, officially, at 197, but otherwise I will see you all next week, hopefully a pound or three lighter!

PS: This would be the highly motivating purse in question ;)

taryl | General | 11 April, 4:15pm | 7 comments

Day one - normal, scheduled day with standard activities. Decent sleep, kept on track time wise, started off with the right breakfast, followed with a big lunch and light dinner. Exercised well, probably went 700 calories in deficit overall.

Day two - hectic, off the normal scheduled activities. Poor sleep, running late, started off with a weird breakfast, had a decent but nutritionally unbalanced lunch, waited over eight hours to eat dinner and ended up frantically bingeing from sheer hunger (errands made the meal late). No exercise, probably went 700-800 calories in excess of my plan.

The lesson the past two days probably attests to? I can stay on plan and disciplined if things go normally, if I can indeed stick to my guns and have a plan that works for me if I say no to myself. If things go awry, I get more and more off track. Skipping meals is the absolute worst. I stay on plan much better in the evening if I exercise.

I am a creature of habit, and grateful that the bulk of my days are controlled, scheduled, in my comfortable environment. It would be an ugly, ugly thing otherwise.

Between these two days I maintained. Now it's time to repeat day one and banish day two. Moving on now :)

taryl | General | 6 April, 5:15am | 35 comments

Despite spending half the week on plan my weight was up this morning to 203.6. Unacceptable. I have been working hard at staying on plan and still getting lazy or using excuses, but I'm above the range I will allow for even hanging around at maintenance. Now it's back on plan strictly. My daughter's birthday is over, all major cooking events that have plagued me are out of the way, and there's absolutely no good reason left to fudge around with my calories. Even on days I am more hungry, which I have definitely had, I can look at my logs and see I didn't spend my calorie budget wisely like I could have. That's my new chore to work on. Eating more mindfully again and staying more completely on track.

I am having flares of my skin issues again, so I am limiting my wheat and dairy and cutting out almost all sugar as well, to see if that helps. That, alone, cuts out most of the snacky foods that have gotten me into trouble and should help me stay on plan. I'll report back in with my progress later on.

As always, the journey doesn't stop unless I do!

taryl | General | 4 April, 5:20pm | 6 comments

That would be the best description of my weight this week. I'm not even bothering to record a weigh-in, as it has been all over the place thanks to workout water retention (sore muscles, yay!), various eating occasions, and wildly varying levels of nursing and sleep. I was 202 on Monday, 204 yesterday, and 199.8 today. I gained two weeks ago, maintained last week, and have been teetering between losing the excess previously gained and bumping up with the weird weight fluctuations this week. Gah!

The good news is that even with baking plates and plates of junk as I have had to do the past week, I've burned out on the junk without a massive regain. I'm slightly tempted, but not enough to eat it instead of protein. And when I exercise, I tend to stay on my eating better. Maybe it is a subconscious attempt to not sabotage my tangible hard earned work? Who knows, but it works!

I know I need to strength train more, my resistance bands keep staring at me as I get on the bike, but I enjoy light cardio so much! I also burn more calories doing it, even though building muscle mass has greater long term benefits, right now I know I will be more consistent with the bike than the bands. For me, setting up that daily workout habit again is more important, and the calorie leeway I gain from exercising hard with cardio is a good buffer as I am trying to get my willpower muscle (saying no to my inner two year old, who tantrums for junk) back in shape, too.

I'm just doing the best I can. I have said it for over a month, but I am so ready for this weight to be off! For awhile my mind wanted it but not badly enough to take my will captive and discipline myself to sticking to my diet, I just floated around in maintenance. Then I realized I was being complacent, and after that was just in a funk over the whole thing. I'm still in a funk, but it's a different kind. I look in the mirror and am so AWARE of my weight. I feel heavier at 200 than I did 70 pounds heavier, because I wasn't aware of myself. Now I am, and it's amazing how my mind tries to play tricks on me regarding my size. I know I am still slimming down and look fine, but days I go off plan I swear I can see the food hanging off of me! Trying to remember to be kind to myself and not overly critical has been very important this week, but ironically the overcritical side of me is the one that is driving me back to better habits and away from complacency. I look fine, but not how I want to. I feel fine, but not how I know I can. I know I can do better, it's time to do it.

And I've been doing it. The past two days have been solid. Today will be, as well. Heck, its our weekly pizza night and I know it tempts me, so my husband is picking me up a controlled and less caloric dish instead, my favorite sub from Subway. And it sounds JUST as tasty to me as the pizza, but without the ability to go get another piece and a lot less calories for fullness it provides. I'm actively on my way back down the scale, that's important. While I hope I can proceed speedily out of the 190's, at this point I'll just take a solid pound a week loss without complaint.

To finish, despite being a little critical of my appearance lately (knowing I regained two pounds), I'm still darn proud of myself. Three pounds is the maintenance swing I allow myself, on either side of the weight I am at, if I am maintaining. I wasn't trying to maintain, so it was a regain, but I caught myself before I really flew off the rails and am fixing it. I don't consider the regain a failure, I knowingly overate every calorie of it. Given that I ate too much, saw it and corrected it within a week? That's success, in my book. Maybe not as nice as losing more, but in terms of the scheme of my life, knowing how to deal with eating, overeating, and ending up back where I want to be is a hugely important skill. I am really proud of myself for making it back and doing as well as ever, instead of giving up and throwing in the towel or staying willfully ignorant of my eating.

Progress, not perfection.

taryl | General | 31 March, 6:03pm | 6 comments

I've finally been able to resume exercise these past few days. The baby is in his own room now, so there is no noise issue, and my knee seems to be finally healed. Some of you may remember I tweaked it before Christmas, mysteriously, on the recumbent bike. I still don't know what caused it, because I have not repeated the issue in the last few workouts on that machine.

I missed that time so I'm glad to be back to it. I'm no great exerciser, but listening to music and getting my heart rate up is something I need, with long days of busyness.

Eating has been better. Tomorrow is my Ladies Craft Night, which has historically been a bit rough for me, but I'm going to do the best I can. See you Monday :)

taryl | General | 25 March, 3:00am | 6 comments

It was an ugly, ugly week. I had a date night and two days of tons of baking, complete with leftover junk coming home post-event. I weighed in at 201.4, and while I know that is a bit high from the carbohydrates consumed, I am still positive I gained a solid pound.

I've been back on track this week, so all's well that (proceeds?) well. Moving on!

taryl | General | 22 March, 8:25pm | 11 comments

Yes, you read right! New weight progress shots (finally!), because I had makeup on and a cameraman at the same time :)

I'm still struggling mightily to stay on plan every day and am mostly successful. It's just a challenge in this season of flux with us. I'm not giving up at all, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't more vigilance and work now than it has been in a long time. We're right in the middle of fleshing out a new daily schedule and budget, that alone has us in transition. It's going to be full of good changes, but change (good or bad) has never been something I weather particularly well. I like routine and steadiness, so being in-between has been rough and I think it is subconsciously affecting my eating as much as the psyche-out of being 'normal-ish' (what my brain defines anything under 200 as being).

I'm not being complacent anymore, as I mentioned a few posts back, I'm putting up both fists and fighting my way out of it, but as with all things it will take some time to smooth back out. Tomorrow is a date Peter and I scheduled, complete with leaving Seth with a sitter for the first time, and I am SO excited. But I'm going to have to eat lightly all day to balance the special surprise dinner out inthe evening, and even something I am looking forward to as much as this date is still not 'routine', and therefore causing me some plan issues. If I really had to dissect this beyond my own head game, I'd say it as just another way God is working in my life to bring me into humility and reliance upon him. Because even after two-plus years of this, I don't have this under control of my own power. I'm not beyond struggles, slip-ups, and needing daily prayer to get through the food in a healthy, controlled way. Being a person prone to pride, I am really seeing these struggles as a blessing (albeit a difficult, trying one!) because He isn't allowing me to stray far from my need for His strength in these issues. And knowing God is leading me and at my side throughout the entire day, always near me in my time of need in something even as trivial as eating, gives me amazing peace.

Speaking of God strengthening me, the weight pictures we snapped were from Sunday after Church. The difference in ten pounds has been fairly minor, but over the scope of the journey the physiological changes 60-ish pounds lost has caused is HUGE. And since the previous weight shots that obnoxious baby-streched lower abdomen has smoothed out a noticeable bit. The lump at my waistband is actually the shirt bunching a bit, not fat, and my back fat has also diminished a bit since the last time. Twenty more pounds will have me looking really, really normal, I think. Not small, but not noticeably fat. I still think, in seeing pictures of me, people would class me as a 'big girl' (even though I don't feel like one until I see a photo). However given my proportions, 180 will be a sweet, sweet spot. I'm praying I can make it down there without too much more struggle and pain. We'll see.

Now without further adieu, 198.4!

Here's ten pounds ago:

And to contrast from the beginning, the BIG change!

And now the side shots for some contrast!

I think I look pretty cute, chub and all, and when I look at these pictures I see the shape and face I remember from me teenage years coming back out again. I just need to keep my focus on why I am losing, stay humble and dedicated, and let the scale take care of itself. God willing, I can do this!

taryl | General | 15 March, 5:58am | 11 comments

With the exception of a delicious and sinful little slip-up with an evil concoction called Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, this was a solid week. As mentioned previously, I reached the 190's and can still scarcely believe it. I am still meaning to take a picture, I keep forgettin to do it and our current camera stinks (our preferred one needs repairing, we're finally getting off our bums to do it!).

My husband started his new job yesterday and it looks to be going well so far. Definitely an adjustment, but a good one. We're looking forward to our tax refund and his first increased paycheck on the same day, actually. Our household budget is remaining almost the same, except for some money being set aside for personal spending/dates each month and increasing our food budget to cover inflation costs. All the extra will be going to debt repayment and accelerating that process, we're hoping to have obliterated our remaining debt except the mortgage by December. *fingers cross*

My eating has been on target, it could be a little tighter (calories spent on real food and not fudgy cookie pies) but I did pretty good overall and cannot complain. And predictably, when I stick to my plan the weight comes off. Funny how that works ;)

I would love to break 60 pounds lost next week, getting into 197. We'll see how that goes. Either way, sticking with calorie counting and journalling is the way I need to go, there's no doubt about it. Here's to persistence (one of my better traits!).

taryl | General | 8 March, 9:24pm | 8 comments

A part of me didn't think it would happen. I believed I'd never get here, I kept sabotaging myself again and again into maintenance, just a few pounds away.

But through prayer, diligence, and hard work, here I am. ONEDERLAND! It's a stupid name, but nothing else quite expresses the excitement and gravity of it.

Me. This morning. 198.8 pounds.

I haven't seen a '1' in front my my weight since high school. I weighed in at 180 something after a 20 pound depression-related gain, moved away from my scale and didn't see one again until I married my husband, and then I was 220-something. This is HUGE. And exciting. And very, very surreal. My highest weight I've seen is 270-something, and I started this journey at 257. So I am 59 pounds down over two years, a pregnancy, and a myriad of breaks to maintain. But I'm here. And I haven't had a regain. Praise the LORD for helping me do this!

I'll take a hallway picture either today or by Sunday, depending on when I next put on makeup and get out of spit up clothes. But either way, it's true and it happened. I overcame my block and whooshed right by 199. I expect to bounce around here a bit, and maybe up above 200 due to water retention for a week or so, but maybe not. This wasn't a fluke, it wasn't luck, it was sticking to the plan I KNOW works. All week long.

So to the 200's, I HAPPILY say 'so long!'. I plan to work hard enough that I never, ever see you again.

198. Wow.

taryl | General | 3 March, 6:02pm | 16 comments

Let's start out with some facts, before we discuss the causes and fixes.

Fact One: Today I was at 202.0.

Fact Two: I began the month a 203.6.

Fact Three: Last Monday, I was 201.6.

Now, have I gained? Effectively no. I'm sick right now and had rice last night for dinner. These both lead to major water retention, and my pattern for the week has not been one of a gain, but of holding steady. For the month, I am just slightly, consistently down (I started the month in the 202-204 range and have ended it in the 200-202 range). But I am still above 200, and not moving down the scale with any consistency or speed.

This isn't a plateau, folks. It's a phenomenon that strikes many long term weight loser and maintainers - complacency. It isn a regain, either. I still religiously count my calories and log my food. I'm not overeating to the point of gaining. But what I AM doing is subconsciously mainaining my weight, even though I am not at my goal and my will says I don't want to stick around here. My body, my brain, my habits, however, are all saying that I DO want to be here. Part of me, enough to override my verbal wishes on the subject, has forgotten how much fat sucks. It sees things are better, and that I look and feel okay. It says 'this is good, you did well, let's enjoy ourselves at this size and not do all that restricting and vigilance'.

Some part of me has decided to become complacent with better, when much better and best is still waiting. I'm not normally the kind of person to settle, but in such a long journey as losing weight, it is easy to ease off your calorie deficit and settle into maintenance. There's nothing wrong with that. Bouncing around a two pound window doesn't make me a failure, evil, bad, or anything other negative moral judgment people might assign someone who is content to remain fat. But complacency doesn't make me slimmer, either. And slimmer is my goal. I want it, but not badly enough to push through complacency with any real vigor.

Until now.

This whole new year has been spent swishing around, being wishy-washy with losing weight. Enough of me hasn't wanted it badly enough to buckle back down. Yesterday that changed. Complacency hasn't gained me any weight, which is a massive adjustment for a woman who ate her way up to morbid obesity through a lifetime of bad habits. Not gaining, and in fact, maintaining a loss and not quitting with logging and counting, is HUGE! I will never diminish my achievements in this area, I worked hard and consistency, even in maintaining, is no small matter. But my goal of being smaller, healthier, more active and energetic - this hasn't gone away. And as spring comes (slowly, this is Alaska, after all!) and the wedding draws more near, the need and desire to get another 20-30 pounds of this weight off in a solid stretch becomes more pressing.

I want to look and feel better. That means it is time to stop stalling myself with my choices and time to say no to my inner two year old a little more often and eat with some discipline. I can't do this on my own, so prayer and action in this area is crucial. But one way or another, my stint with complacency is done. I have a million reasons, good reasons, why I am not moving down the scale. We're in my husband's last week of work before a new job, Seth hasn't been sleeping well, I'm sick and having hormone issues, my social obligations involving food have been through the roof, etc etc etc. All true, all valid.

But now it is time for my reasons TO keep losing weight to out-weight my reasons NOT TO. As previously mentioned, my plan isn't the problem. If I stick to my calorie budget, I lose weight. So, as the ubiquitous Nike slogan says, I need to "Just Do It"!

taryl | General | 28 February, 9:43pm | 4 comments

At least, I think it is week 7. After last week's ugly, ugly weigh in, I buckled back down and stuck to my plan with only a few squishy, slippery days. This morning found me at 200.4-200.8, it gave me differing readouts every time, but either way I am soundly less than I was. This week means business. I will get my butt down below 200, and I will not see above it AGAIN (except maaaaybe pregnancy, but hopefully I'll be low enough the next time I am pregnant that a 30-40 pounds gain would only put me at 190 or so) ever.

I am SO done with a two in front of every weigh in. A one feels much more feminine and much, much lighter in my brain, even if the difference on the scale is only a pound or two. I will also take new pictures at 199 and every ten pounds thereafter, so that is something else to look forward to.

Onward, downward, and happy Valentine's Day to you!

taryl | General | 14 February, 10:14pm | 15 comments

Oh, the superbowl eating was fun. Tasty junk galore, including untold amounts of chips, dip, and hot wings.

The scale on Monday? Slightly less fun!

I spiked up from 201.8-202 over the weekend, to 207-something the next morning. And while I overate enough to probably gain a half pound on the spot, it was a purely evil work of sodium that skewed the scale for the first half of this week. Thankfully I'm back down to the weekend's range this morning, but I HAVE to stop messing around with this overeating nonsense. I'm sticking around the same weight because I have been undisciplined and keep fudging a few hundred calories on my plan, eliminating my deficit each day. That's all well and good, except that I want to LOSE, not maintain.

Clearly I haven't wanted it bad enough to buckle down. Fortunately, that isn't the case anymore. No more pussyfooting around, I've been on plan the past few days and will remain so, because I WILL see Onderland this month and if I don't, it won't be my lack of commitment that is to blame!

taryl | General | 10 February, 10:01pm | 6 comments

I'm just plugging along still, not losing like crazy but slowly inching down the scale toward the 100's. I haven't been particularly strict, nor particularly lax. I'm sticking to my eating plan 80-90% of the time and it is showing. I had a rough, snacky weekend tha turned out to be heavily influenced by hormones. Now that I've completed the worst of that nonsense I hope the craving for sugar goes down and makes my life a little easier ;)

I'd love to say I am focused on exercise, but truthfully my extra time has been focused on being consistent with my piano practice, more than exercise bike and resistance bands. My brain can only focus on so many things at once, so the exercise focus has subsided a bit in favor of other things. I'm okay with that! I'm doing good enough for me, honestly, and living just as I intended when I set out a few years ago - living a healthy lifestyle without food being an unnecessarily huge focus (either healthy OR unhealthy!). The rest is just a constant balance in my life, a struggle with waxing and waning interests demanding my time, and adjusts as needed. That's just fine, so long as I am moving down the scale and happy with myself I don't see a compelling need to change anything.

And quite frankly, a wrekend of lava cake and spinach dip was FUN! But now the fun is over, my nose is back down and I'm moving forward in a more caloric responsible manner ;)

taryl | General | 31 January, 8:01pm | 15 comments

Hey all! Sorry for the continued blog silence, I've been super busy. I'm edging ever closer to 199, and doing well on plan for the most part. I was 204 and some change on weigh day, and 203.2 today. All good things.

If you can keep me in your prayers, I am having some health issues unrelated to weight loss that I'm waiting for news on. Other than that, life is just great right now :)

Take care, friends!

taryl | General | 20 January, 9:54pm | 8 comments

Hey everyone! Is 2011 still going your way? Now that my final holiday obligation is out of the way, it is definitely going well for me. I was clocking down in the mid-204's this week, and even after a very salt and carb-heavy weekend I was down at 205.0 this morning. Honestly, given my weight patterns, I have often thought about moving my weigh day to the middle of the week, as it is when I am lowest. But the accountability of Monday being my official weigh in (and therefore making weekend indulgence much less attractive) beats out any halfnpound benefit I tend to get on Wednesday or Thursday. Weekends are hard enough to maintain my normal eating schedlenon, without me treating it like a free day :)

No exercise progress to report, I'm just chugging along with my daily activities and doing the best I can. Unfortunately Seth is being a bit resistant to a time-based schedule. He does the basic routine (eat, play, sleep) very well, and even in predictable increments of time, but given the variability in when he wakes up some mornings I can't get him down reliably at all the times I'd like too, including during my exercise block. I've also been spending that block of time doing other things, like cooking and practicing piano. So right now my schedule is in a bit more flux than I'd like and that is contributing to my laziness in getting strength training done. It's a reason, but not an excuse.

Overall I am doing well each day, a little lazier than I'd like. I am somehow busy and not getting a lot done, again. Some of that is lax personal discipline, but the bulk of it has just been the nature of our family activities the past month. It won't get much better until February, but I am doing what I can each day to stick to my routine and keep things as regulated as possible. It makes me happier to have a predictable, solid routine. I'm 80% there again, which isn't bad for three months postpartum, but the perfectionist in my wants to go that last 20% before I declare myself 'good' with my time.

How are you all managing your time (and exercise) in this new year?

taryl | General | 10 January, 8:46pm | 6 comments

Unlike so many weight loss blogs, silence on mine doesn't mean I fell off the wagon and got backed over by the wheels a few times, it just means I've been horribly busy :)

I've been so blessed this new year, it's been a wild ride but I'm enjoying it. Just a million little things are culminating to a much happier feeling around our home. My exercise has been nil, which is a bit of a shame, but I've just had other things occupying my time. My diet, however, have been spot on. I'm eating pretty much what I aim to, with no big issues, and feel great! The scale has been cooperating with my efforts and I've lost all holiday weight (the whopping pound there was, anyway ;) and then some. Monday I weighed in at 206 and some change, and the last two days I have been reliably in the 204.4-204.8 range, which feels great. I'm looking less bloated and I love it.

I still have time scheduled for working out that has been sent mostly on fussy kids and loafing, I'm aiming to add my strength training back in and not worry about cardio right now. I'm not quite ready to test my knee again, and the strength training is more important for me anyway (even though I have an easier time getting light cardio done).

Tonight is our (belated) Christmas party for my husband's work, it's at one of my favorite sushi bars, so I am looking forward to that. The older kids are being babysat by grandma and grandpa, and staying overnight at their place, so it will be a little evening break for my husband and me. I'm just hoping Seth decides to cooperate at the restaurant.

Either way, things ar going well here. I've actually had a lot to say on weight loss in general, but been too busy to sit down and type it up. And with the baby currently yelling to get up from his nap, it appears I am once again too busy to talk. Oh well!

taryl | General | 7 January, 8:07pm | 6 comments

Yet another Christmas down, heading into a new decade in just a few days. 2010 was a weird year for me, since I was in the middle of a weight loss journey and yet stuck in stasis, watching the scale go upward no matter my food behavior. In hindsight it messed with my head a little, but I came out the other side at a healthy weight and with very little post-baby fat to lose before being back where I started. In the past two months I have been losing, I have gone from about 215 to a reliable 207, most days. As much as I feel frustrated with what feels like half the month of December ping-ponging around due to holiday overindulgence, the fact remains I am still down for the month (I began at around 211, and thus am down 4-5 pounds even with party eating).

Am I as low as I wanted to be in December? Nope. Am I where I wanted myself to be by the end of the year? Nope again. I am still hopeful to see 205 by this coming Monday, but either way I am happy for any loss and can't get too upset shout not posting bigger numbers when I didn't stay on plan!

My plan, as always, is to stick to my calories and eat primarily healthy, whole foods. I've been doing pretty well with the latter, the former has been my downfall over the past few weeks. For a few days, getting the weight off took a backseat to fun eating. But that is over now, and my priorities have to shift back to where they belong. And so, here's to a week on plan and doing well!

My weight this morning was 207.4 without nursing on both sides, so that accounts for some water weight (so to speak - Seth eats between 4-8 oz per feeding, so I could have had half a pound of milk weighing me down), I'd like to be back to the low 206's or 205 by next week, and shall eat accordingly. Have a wonderful new year, everyone!

taryl | General | 28 December, 10:24pm | 7 comments

Christmastime, I mean.

I really want this season to be over. My social schedule is so uncomfortably busy with any number of food related events and my focus is wavering under the stress and cooking. Some of that, in hindsight, is hormonal. I got my period back at five weeks postpartum, but I thought it may have been some residual bleeding from the birth (definitely not uncommon). But last week confirmed it, the leading was likely the returning of my cycle, as it came back again. How is it that I am so unlucky? I exclusively breastfeed, my kid has never even had a pumped bottle or been away from me, and yet my period returns abnormally early while formula-feeding friends don't get theirs for almost a year? Bummer, either way, and the hormonal shifts cause terrible sugar and carb cravings that I didn't recognize until they had passed, and thus wasn't steeling myself against. These cravings hitright in the middle of massive required baking, and my urge to snack on the junk while cooking and then again at the events was shockingly powerful.

I don't know how much of my gain is water retention, but I definitely wasn't on plan for a few evenings this past weekend. Oh well. While I am frustrated with myself and so tired of eating outside my home, I can't change what has happened. I am just looking forward to all of this junk being over and not having the temptation. I can manage without falling completely off the wagon, but it is still psychologically stressful to keep having so much extra junk shoved at me with few healthy options. I feel no shame in wishing to avoid the temptations completely, rather than being confronted with them and forcing myself to turn away ;)

So yes, the weight. Up to 208.0 from this morning, down from over 210 of salt bloat yesterday. I have a Christmas dinner, cookie social, and office Christmas part left to go (the office party is all the way in January). I am just focusing on keeping on plan every day I can, and will deal with the events as judiciously as possible when they roll around. I still have a lot of weight to shed this year, and every desire to do it. I'm not worried about these events causing uncontrollable backslides with eating, but they are little setbacks that are obnoxious, to say the least!

Be over already!

taryl | General | 20 December, 9:42pm | 8 comments

My eating was solid last week but rough over the weekend... Not terrible, but erasing a few hundred of the calorie deficit I was cultivating and giving me some major bloat, so I made an executive decision to record my weight on a day when it was more reflective of what actually happened last week, thus my weighing in here on Tuesday instead of Monday.

I am down today to 206.6, which is a 1.2 pound loss from last week. Not great, but I'll take it. In hindsight, going badly off plan? Totally not worth it. People keep sending me cookies and I just don't need them, I need to have my husband take them all right away, instead of allowing myself a few and then starting up with cravings again. Also, testing out a fabulous homemade eggnog recipe? Also not worth the calories. Now I remember why I made a pact with myself to not drink my calories unless it is light and in place of a physical dessert.

Even now, the pooch is looking more reduced. I am absolutely looking forward to my 199.9 pictures in a few weeks, and if it makes a visible difference in that after-baby belly. I am not sure if I will reach that by New Year's or just slightly afterward, but I am going to do my level best to stick to my plan like glue and see if I can. A few off days in the past two weeks have really solidified my desire to NOT do it, and therefore lose weight faster and more predicably. It's just another part of the journey, realizing what is and isn't worth the calories to spend!

Exercise is still very limited, do to the random and continued knee pain. I miss it, but limiting it seems best, to avoid permanent injury. If my knees are still bugging me in a few more weeks I will go see a physical therist about it.

Later!

taryl | General | 14 December, 7:03pm | 11 comments

... but after about a year at and above 210, thanks to pregnancy, I whooshed my way to 50 pounds lost!

Yes indeed, I weighed in this morning (and Saturday) at 207.8. My chosen start weight was 257, so that's 50 pounds off of it and well secured into the single digit 200's. I am also, now, only several weeks from 199!

I'll save the brain picking for a later post, for now, I'll post my updated weight loss pictures:

207.8:

For contrast, here's 219.8:

And from the side:

219.8 side:

As much as I see the flaws in the newest pictures and sometimes still feel huge (especially in pictures!), looking objectively at these shots side to side I see BIG changes, and I am proud of myself, all things considered. Even the flabby baby belly sag doesn't look as bad as the NONbaby flab from 13 pounds ago. Yay me :)

taryl | General | 6 December, 6:50pm | 16 comments

Well despite maintaining a solid calorie deficit for the past few days, the weight on the scale has mysteriously bounced around and climbed the same few tenths of a pound, when it should have dropped (in theory). I should be grateful I'm experienced at this now, or I'd find this highly discouraging! My body seems to be taking it's time adjusting to the poundage drop of weeks prior, and with the social occasions last week I didn't create enough of a deficit to solidly push into the single digit 200's. Annoying, but there you have it.

I was hoping the scale would reflect the deficit this morning, but it had me largely the same despite *feeling* myself in weight loss mode (it's a particular kind of hunger that always precedes a lower number), but the potatoes I made for dinner last night neatly mask any weight loss with their water retaining super powers ;). The scale is fickle, but I know I can't keep pushing a significant calorie deficit and have it NOT show up, when I am nowhere near maintenance level. So I'll keep plugging away at it and hopefully have better numbers for next week.

The recumbent bike is still annoying my knee, and now the other one is starting to bug me. This is after two years of riding this equipment with no problems at all, at the same adjustments. I am perplexed as to what changed and a little sad, because I genuinely enjoy riding it. I was on for 45 minutes last night and noticed the aggravation of my knees after about 20 minutes into it. The worst case scenario, I somehow have an injury that bike aggravates and I'll sell it on Craiglist to help fund something else (likely a treadmill), but I hope it doesn't come to that!

This week is looking much better right now, from the eating front. It just needs to stay that way!

taryl | General | 30 November, 7:14pm | 6 comments

If it isn't one thing, it's another! This has been an obnoxious food week, and too light on the exercise as well. I'm not happy with it, tomorrow I want to move on and get back on track.

There was the craziess of Wednesday and Thursday, with Thanksgiving food (tasty, though it was!). Friday night was my monthly Ladies Craft Night, otherwise known as pizza-and-cookies-for-dinner-oh-my! Night. The one where its almost impossible to count calories, because I am away from my sale and measuring cups, eating food made by others and chatting it up til all hours of the night with a bunch of girls? Then there was today, in which I was gifted with a plte of Christmas cookies and had some out of town friends over for fellowship. I could have stayed on plan, but stress and social eating derailed me.

I had on plan days this week, and then the ones outlined above. The food and friends and family were all great, and even worth it to some extent. But I'm tired and done, I honestly just want to be left alone and to get back on track again. I'm actually feeling annoyed and frustrated with the disruptions to my normal schedule, so it's really time to get back on plan. I wish I had never gotten off, so I wouldn't be white knuckling my way back to where I want to be.

Mix all of this in with a few days of frustrating weigh-is where my body should have shed weight and didn't, and you have the mode I am starting this upcoming week with. I am having an icky night, in general, and just want to feel normal again. The diet needs fixing, as does the less than happy heart attitude. So I'll pray tonight and eat tomorrow. That my plan and I'm sticking to it.

taryl | General | 29 November, 7:59am | 6 comments

The scale, that is. It isn't judging you, your value and even your success at your eating plan are not determined by whatever number happens to pop up. And it certainly doesn't determine your self worth.

There are so many new dieters on sites like 3FC I wish I could explain this to. This scale is a tool, that is IT. Don't give it more power over your life than it deserves.

Friday I happily weighed in at 209.2. Today I weighed in at 210.4. I ate completely on plan all week, and all weekend as well. I was less than 300 calories off my target for seven days (that's good, I promise ;). So why the discrepancy in numbers when my overall trend looked so good? Well I'll tell you, it isn't about being bad, its not about cheating, or even an unpredictable scale. The scale tells the truth - it tells me what I weigh. But that requires context. Yesterday, for example, I ate within my calories and did very well with that. I ate healthy food, prepared from scratch at home. But that food included pasta with dinner and a potato with lunch, and even an ounce of Rum with my husband. These foods lead to water retention. I also may have had more food in my digestive system, an extra drink of water in the night while nursing, or any number of other things. My body may be recovering from two weeks of losses by trying to hang onto some weight and hit equilibrium, before dropping again.

All of these things affect the readout on the scale, but none of them have to affect ME. My value isn't determined by that number, neither is my successful weightloss. Today was a reading, just like any other day. It happens to fall on the day I record in my sidebar, so it gets written down whether it is the most representative of my weeks' progress or not. Likely, the number will be much lower tomorrow. Either way, what matters is the overall picture of how I am doing, not just the small day sampling given to me by the scale. A lower loss week in and of itself might be concerning on a diet, which is why the picture of what I was eating and how much is important tl determining whether I need to tweak something to create more of a calorie deficit (I don't.), or whether the value was just an outlier and I'm doing well at what I set out to do.

One more positive note that lets me know I am going the right way, even if the scale isn't cooperating: a skirt that was way too tight across my hips last week and rode up? As of Saturday it fit again. Inches are a heck of a better barometer than just a scale, and combined with my food journal I am confident in how I am doing and eagerly look forward to another solid week on plan (and yes, with the occasional pasta and alcohol mixed in - these are not forbidden foods as long as they don't make me binge).

How was YOUR week?

taryl | General | 22 November, 7:03pm | 6 comments

... But I'm now under my pre pregnancy weight of 210.6! I weighed in today at 210.0 even (actually, it read 209.8 once and 210.0 twice, so I just took the higher number) and am officially on track to be at or near my newest low during this journey by my weigh-in Monday!

207.9 would put me at 50 pounds lost from where I took my start weight (approx. 257 lbs) but my highest pregnancy weight was over 275 pounds at delivery, so really, I am down almost 70 pounds from my all time high. Either way, I am thrilled to be back in the saddle and losing so well! It's a great feeling, and helping me make it through temptations more easily than when I was pregnant (since the scale is actually moving, not just going up no matter how well I do).

I missed exercise twice this week - once because I am having knee and ankle pain in my right leg and wanted to rest it a day, and then yesterday I had a meeting at Church that interfered with my evening routine and I made dinner for everyone before I left instead of working out. But in general I have been on plan with exercise, and definitely on with my food. It's getting easier and easier the more good days I line up, as I get used to eating this caloric amount and not my pregnancy amount again.

I can't decide if I should take pictures at 50 pounds lost (207-ish) or every new decade of weight (where I am today), so any input on that would be appreciated. Either way, three big milestones are right around the corner - 210 again, woohoo! 50 pounds of 100 desired pounds lost - almost a woohoo! Under 200 pounds - so close I can TASTE it! It's making for a very exciting end of the year, weight-wise.

I'll report back in on Monday, I am hoping for another half pound gone this weekend, we'll see :)

taryl | General | 20 November, 12:26am | 6 comments

As much as I hate that exclamation, it fits here! For the first time, breastfeeding is helping me with weightloss, instead of hindering it. By sticking to a calorie budget instead of eating until I am full from any old food I want to, I have managed to lose 4.2 pounds this week! And once I got through the first few days of breaking my sugar/starch cravings, it wasn't even bad. I wasn't hungry and wasn't finding it too difficult to stick with. I am eating enough calories that, without breastfeeding, I can lose 1-1.5 pounds a week. But with nursing, especially when Seth is having a growth spurt and eating every hour? That consumes a HUGE amount of calories!

I may lose a little of that tomorrow, it was lower than I expected and perhaps I was dehydrated or something like thst, but I absolutely believe at least three of those pounds are real caloric deficit losses. I have been so happy to be on plan, this is just a nice cherry on top. If I can lose 2-ish pounds a week I will see 199 by the end of the year, which would be such a nice beginning to the next year. It's well within my grasp, and even if I cant make it due to a stall, as long as I stick with my plan I am well on my way :)

From 215.6 to 211.4.... Not bad, not bad at all!

taryl | General | 15 November, 9:18pm | 7 comments

I just picked up part of an order I got from JCPonline today, some new (not maternity, not massive) shirts and a pair of boots to go with the skirts I am sewing for my new wardrobe. I decided to stop stalling and move closer to how I actually WANT to dress, which would be very feminine and simple, so nice solid colored v-neck tees are my favorite, to go with long a-line skirts.

Anyway... Part of the order came in and I brought it home to try on. The shirts were all misses XL (remember, I started in 3X shirts that looked awful from every angle) and I was worried they might still be a little snug, especially since the knit was clingy.

Wouldn't you know, I tried them on to discover they fit beautifully, and were even a bit loose! Had I been in the store and could exchange sizes easily I'd have probably tried on a large, especially since I am actively losing weight. They looked really good, even on my lumps and bumps! It's been a long time since I really liked the clothes I tried on and didn't just tolerate them or think