Monday, January 16, 2012

Progressing Quite Nicely

This very well-preserved railroad bridged "surprised" me quite nicely as it was more than five miles into the backcountry along the Cabin Flats Trail.  Isn't it beautiful?
January 9, 2012

Good Morning!  I am still basking in the glow of what Mr. B called, "the perfect day!"  Tomorrow (Tuesday) is his birthday and we celebrated with friends yesterday by attending our sixth performance of Les Miserables followed by a delicious dinner at Chesapeake's, our favorite local restaurant.  I make no apologies for having seen this Broadway production six times.  But I do admit that this isn't even MY favorite, although it is his.  My favorite is Phantom of the Opera which we have only seen five times, so guess what's next.  My birthday, maybe???  No matter - either production is well worth repeat visits and last nights did not disappoint.  Our recently renovated venue for these events, The Tennessee Theatre is now more than worthy to host stellar productions such as these and I am thrilled to no longer HAVE to travel other places to see great shows!  Today (MLK Day) is a holiday for Mr. B so we'll continue to celebrate.  My suggestion of a hike did not meet with much enthusiasm as this is NOT his idea of a birthday celebration, so guess I'll have to go with whatever he suggests.

I am into my seventh week following the 17 Day Diet which I first wrote about here and here.  I could not be more thrilled with this plan or with my results.  I still cringe talking about it because I so dislike the word "diet," and am searching for the appropriate way to mix words so that I don't have to call it that, yet still give honor to the fact that it is the copyrighted name of the plan.  I have settled into the different cycles, moving in and out of them as my schedule dictates while still losing steadily.  The weight loss has slowed (as of this morning, I have lost 15 pounds), but I have the complete confidence that if I were to move back into Cycle 1 - Accelerate and follow it to the letter for 17 consecutive days, I would lose quickly as I did before.  Currently, I am moving among Cycles 1, 2 and 3 and losing between 3/4 and 1 full pound each week.  All three of the cycles have become second nature to me and each morning I spend about thirty seconds reviewing my schedule for the day and deciding which "cycle" I will live in that day.  I've learned that I instinctively strive for Cycle 2 as it is my favorite, but my overall goal is to spend consecutive days in Cycle 1 as that is where the quickest weight loss will be found, yet it is still a well-balanced meal plan that doesn't leave me feeling deprived or hungry.  Rare are the days when I choose to live in Cycle 3.  I no longer need the cushion of knowing I could choose a pasta or bread product as I no longer crave, nor want them.  Yet that option is there for the days when I might be faced with less choices and knowing I've chosen that option for that day completely eliminates any feeling of guilt or doing something "bad."  I find that more often than not, I choose to NOT exercise that option reverting to something back on Cycle 2 or 1.  

Sugar, the bread basket on the table in the restaurant, white flour products and processed foods have completely lost their appeal to me and are no longer a temptation.  This is the factor for which I am most grateful and still in the stage of disbelief.  There are restaurants I have refused to go to for years because of the bread basket.  I'm still not heading there tomorrow (Macaroni Grill comes to mind), but believe that if given one of those "no choice" situations which have derailed me so many times in the past, I could accept it, find something suitable on the menu and ignore the bread basket.  

Here are the two things which I want everyone reading this post to understand with complete clarity!!!

1)  I am not CURED!  This is not a MIRACLE!  In a weak moment, one bite of any of those things could send me in the downward spiral I've encountered so many times.  I have gone as long as three YEARS without sugar and one bite was all it took.  You can argue whether or not carbs are "addictive" until pigs fly, but those of us who know it is just know.  And we also know that, FOR US, "one bite" does NOT satisfy and moderation will NOT work. 

2)  But on the other hand, I want to encourage you that if I can do this, so can you.  I read a lot of blogs and spend a lot of time thinking about my journey and my writing.  For many of you, the new year began with such hopes, new plans, new enthusiasm and renewed motivation.  Some are succeeding, some are already discouraged, some set goals that are already needing to be modified and yes, some have already just quit!  I have been there, I have done all of those things.  I have arrived at January 16 more times than I can count in a state of despair that this year was just like all the others where I'd end the year at a higher weight than I began it.  The 17-Day Diet may not be for you - in fact, it probably isn't although it is a healthy, sustainable "plan" that can work for a lifetime.  But if you don't possess certain personality traits that "fit" with this way of doing things, it isn't for you.  But there is something out there that is!  And no matter what it's called, it will be a balance of healthy calories in vs. calories burned out!!  

I have said before that I don't know what happened or what clicked on that day just before Thanksgiving when I walked into Barnes & Noble and first laid eyes on the 17-Day Diet book.  It's a bestseller, for heaven's sake and I'd never even HEARD of it.  And that's the miracle I want to stress.  Don't give up - don't quit.  I was flirting with that idea myself although the thought was always met with self-disgust because deep down I knew I wasn't at the weight I wanted to live with and in the end, I wouldn't stay there, I'd just keep gaining. 

And maybe that was exactly when my 2012 resolution of finding a "surprise" in every day was born!  You have to look for it and you have to be willing to see it when you least expect it.  What an absolute joy 2012 has been because I've found multiple surprises in every day, not the least of which is my "surprise" that I made it through another day full of energy and feeling healthy.  Not the least of which is the total feeling of success when I watched the other three at my table last night chowing down on a chocolate waffle covered with ice cream and various other toppings knowing two things, 1) I didn't want it, and 2) I'd be the one who'd later lay down my head on my pillow feeling strong and healthy while those three would lay down in a sugar-induced haze feeling like crap and fervently wishing they hadn't eaten that dessert. Sure enough, Mr. B's last words before we went to sleep last night were, "I'm miserable."   I don't say that to be judgmental or critical as that would be so wrong.  I've done it to many times myself.  I just repeat it to emphasize once more that yes, it can be done.  And yes, it becomes easier.  

How Can I Help You This Week?


  1. Sharon congratulations on so much success with your plan! I know all too well how addictive carbs are for me, so I get what you are saying.

    I also have to agree that we are never "cured" we have to continue to manage our weight and our health.

    It sounds like the 17 day diet plan is working perfectly for you! You were in the right spot at the right time when you found that book.

    Wishing you continued success!

    I think I will read that book.

  2. It is so nice to be free of that carb craving isn't it? I do low carb and never thought I would see the day when I could take or leave carbs. Since I love salads, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, raw almonds, etc. who needs carbs? I feel so much better and the carbs are not worth that sluggish, angry feeling that goes along with them. Well done.

    1. Hear, hear! Before I gave up carbs (the first time), I remember saying there was no way I wanted to live without them. But once I did, I didn't miss them a bit. Same thing happened after I fell off the low-carb wagon and contemplated re-starting Atkins last summer. I thought, "No way!" But I finally took the plunge ... and again, I'm not missing the carbs at all.

      It's amazing that I can walk through the break room and not even think about eating a piece of cake. If I were trying to eat carbs "in moderation," I'd probably end up eating not one but two pieces.

  3. This line really resonated with me:
    I am not CURED! This is not a MIRACLE!

    I know I am not cured. My five pound gain in three weeks attests to that. But, I know I can do it and I know that my system works: eat less, move more. Today I am getting back on track and moving forward to my targets.

    I would never have guessed that you of all people would fall into a "diet." But it is working. I will continue to watch your progress. Very happy for you in your 15 pound loss. Quite something.

    Thanks for your comment today on my blog. I have been thinking about the "drama" ever since. Lots to think about before I share. Have a great week, Sharon!

  4. Its great to hear that this plan is still working for you. I'm very intrigued. My library couldn't get it for me. I might have to shell out a few bucks! And I agree--I do think there is an emotional and/or personality trait component that makes certain plans work for some people and not for others.

    How nice that you have a local theatre to go to!

    Did you get my email? I think I"ll re-send it.

  5. I'm not cured either.. we're all just work in progress. :) Great post!

  6. Wonderful news, Sharon. I am so happy for you right now, and completely understand the desire to want to bite your tongue; but your success simply cannot be ignored and it is working for you so, yay!!!
    Love Les Mis. It was my first musical (I've only been to two, but it was certainly memorable!)

  7. LOVEEEE reading this! And I wish I knew what makes that switch just change for us. As you know, I can very much relate to the "one bit away" thing. Happy birthday to Mr. B. Les Mis is coming back to KC next year. I've seen it a few times. My favorite and the one I've seen the most (and I've lost count but maybe 5-6 times) is Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

  8. I went and visited the Tennessee Theater a couple Friday's ago when they had an open house. It's absolutely Beautiful!! I want to go see Riverdance there when they come in May, but the tickets are a bit high. We'll see ;)

    Glad you have found a plan that is working for you. One of these days I'm going to give up the sweets as I know moderation doesn't work, and one bite is never enough....I'm just not there yet. I'm still trying to convince myself those approaches work...but I know deep down they don't.

    Proud of you, and glad you and Mr. B are enjoying his birthday week/weekend!!

  9. Yes, that's it in a nutshell: one bite of sugar does NOT satisfy. Those of who experience it, agree with you, and just know.

    I'm picky about the music I put on my ipod... I have a playlist called Favorites that I made up... and "All I Ask of You" from the Phantom of the Opera is on there. :-)

  10. This is such great news! So glad this plan is working for you... that it's mentally working well. I have trouble totally giving up sugar. I feel like something's missing almost if I don't have something sweet... even if it's fruit... in the evening.

    Oh, Les Mis... love it!!

  11. Sharon,
    I am so glad you are in a good place. So happy to read about your perfect day too.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. You are so right. The motivation has to come from within. I think it will come. It gave me hope to know that you have only enjoyed winter hiking in recent years.

  12. I'm glad your plan continues to work so well for you!

    I never realized that I was so firmly in the minority in the "little dab will do you" with regard to sugar or other foods. Wish I could figure out how to package it and sell it, and I'd be rich! :)

  13. Very good Sharon! I'm also on the never-be-cured team, but if I watch my food carefully for two weeks, I can get rid of the sugar/carb cravings. After that, I'm not really sure why I go back to eating it--because I'm testing myself? Because I'm bored? Because of family peer pressure?

    :-) Marion

  14. Sharon you are amazing! I love your enthusiasm for life! You can help me by keep reminding me to look for the surprises each day. I don't know why I can't remember this!

    Keep focused!!!

  15. I am glad you found something that works for you! Wheat products are proven to be actually addictive.

  16. Hi Sharon - so glad that you are feeling great, losing weight, and have conquered those cravings for sugar, refined flour! I find that when I eat something really sweet, I always want more. Better to avoid it completely when possible for me! Although dark chocolate does not have that effect - maybe it is not sweet enough.

  17. Amen, sister! I'm also in the one bite of sugar and I want to eat off the rails. So glad to be on my journey with others. Keep posting your hiking photos. Love them and congrats on your success. It sure is a great feeling to lay down and night, having and On plan day. Keeps you going from a place of strength. :) Karen P.

  18. Hey friend! I'm so glad to hear about your success. I think we all feel better and encouraged when one of our community of blog friends is having such success. I'm not calling it yet, but I think I'm almost ready to say that I'm back on track with my eating and exercise. It makes me feel so good to be living this way. I'll look into that book next time I'm at B&N. So glad you got to see Les Miz again. I remember being blown away the first time I saw it. We're planning to see some shows at Wolf Trap NP this summer.

  19. I'm with you. Sugar is an addiction and I struggle with it. Anything refined gives me issues. Once I'm off it for a while, I stop craving it, but it takes nothing to put me back there.

  20. Hi Sharon, I enjoyed reading about your 'diet' (lifestyle change---right)... You have struggled with so many of the same things I have struggled with. I have never been happy with my weight and have lost LOTS of weight all through the years.. I feel so great when I lose --and tell myself that I am not going to gain it back. BUT--I always do...

    Last April 15, I joined Weight Watchers Online --which works well for me since I hate those meetings. It was all up to ME. I am on a 1200 calorie diet and began losing. However, I'll admit that losing is much harder than it used to be when I was younger. (I'll be 70 in August. Yipes!) I've lost about 60 pounds and am determined this time NOT to gain it back.

    Well---enough of this... Just wanted you to know that I do UNDERSTAND what you are going through... Keep up the good work.

    Have a great weekend.