Back On The Wagon

I admit it.  I fell off the Jenny Craig wagon back in early October.  I was doing so good on the program that I made the grave mistake of thinking I could continue losing weight on my own.  What was I thinking?  Especially with Halloween right around the corner.  As Homer is fond of saying, “D’Oh!”

At first I wasn’t doing so bad.  I continued to exercise and watched what I ate very carefully.  But as time passed, I found myself slipping back into my old self-medicating ways.  Watching TV while eating a bag of nicely-burned buttered microwaved popcorn sure did make me feel good.  Being able to have ice cream again was heavenly.

But I received a much-needed slap in the face by my friend and co-worker Michelle. She must have observed me snacking a little too much and had the balls to send me an instant message telling me in no uncertain terms that I was sabotaging myself. I immediately felt my cheeks flush red because it felt like I got caught reaching into the cookie jar.  But it was what I needed to hear and what I wasn’t allowing myself to act upon.  I knew I was out of control.  I knew that I made a mistake going off of Jenny Craig and I knew without a doubt what needed to be done.

That very day I called a different Jenny Craig center and set up an appointment to see about rejoining the program.  I addressed all the concerns that were driving factors in my decision to go it alone.  They were as follows:

  • My counselor never had a weight problem and therefore I found it really difficult to relate to her advice.
  • I was getting tired of my weekly appointments getting shifted all over the place based on when my counselor was available.  What was once a steady appointment of 5:30pm on a Tuesday turned into appointments after 6pm which resulted in me getting home after work around 7pm or later.
  • The food is really expensive. A frozen meal may cost over $5 when I could buy a similar Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers meal much less at the grocery store.
  • I was getting really annoyed with my counselor always asking me if I needed any bars or salad dressing or snacks when I tried to cut down my Jenny food purchases.
I’m happy to say that I re-committed myself to Jenny Craig this past week because I addressed all the things that were bothering me about the program.  Here’s what I did:
  • I have a new counselor who has a weight problem herself. During my first appointment with Jackie,  she made me feel instantly better by telling me that I should forget what has happened in the past and focus on TODAY.  When we talked about events that I had coming up this week, I told her about a Christmas party that I’m going to and she gave me some helpful tips on how to survive it.  Not “Don’t eat a thing”, but rather suggested that I eat my meal before hand and if I find myself wanting to snack choose first any vegetables or fruit that might be offered.  But she did also say to me, “It’s OK to have a small snack if you need to, but just have one or two.”  She then offered to call me this upcoming Tuesday to check in with me to see how I did at the party.  
  • I found out that I don’t have to spend a minimum dollar amount on Jenny Craig food to do the program.  I always assumed that I had to and it was such a relief to hear otherwise.  I could buy a little or as much food as I wanted each week.
  • My weekly appointment is every Saturday at 10am with Jackie.  It’s late enough in the morning that I get to sleep in and it’s convenient because the center is only ten minutes away from my house. 
I had my first appointment this past Saturday and it went well.  I’m able to forgive myself for falling off the wagon and proud of myself for admitting going off the program was a big mistake.  I know that eventually I’ll have to learn to maintain my weight loss without eating Jenny Craig food, but for right now it’s a very good thing that I realized I can’t lose all this weight on my own.  I need the help and support of Jenny Craig and in my book that’s going to be money well spent – on myself.
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Down 23 Pounds

Just thought I would take a moment to give you the latest update on how I’m doing on Jenny Craig.  In a word – Fabulous!  I’m down 23 pounds and a few pounds away to achieving a 10% weight loss and a new Jenny Craig menu.

Once I hit a 10% weight loss, my menu will drop from 1500 calories to 1200 calories.  I’m told by others that it’s really not a big change and the adjustment to eating just a little less will be negligible.  I’m not scared.  I just want to be able to say there is 10% less of me taking up space in the world.

I had a funny experience with the food about a week ago.  I microwaved my SW Chicken Burrito and nearly spit it out when I went to take the first bite during lunch.  Oh God, it was so tangy and nasty tasting.  So I took another bite…just to be sure.  It tasted worse than the first bite so I deemed the lunch spoiled.  I sat at the lunch table eating my Bruchetta Chips and eventually bought two low-fat yogurts to fill me up for the rest of the day.  It was only later that I realized the SW Chicken Burrito should have been kept frozen.  I thought it was one of their lunch selections that you could store at room temp.  Oh, well…lesson learned.  Always read the box before storing my Jenny Craig food.

I did a little clothes shopping last night after work.  I can now comfortably fit into XL again which is such a satisfying feeling because for a while there I was wearing 1X and sometimes even a 2X depending on the fit.   I bought several blouses for work and a few pairs of dress pants that are still slightly snug in the badonkadonk region.  I’ll try them again in a few weeks and I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Spencer surprised me with a pair of Smurfette Blue Lounge Pants that I had saved to my wishlist on Amazon.  You can see them by clicking here. Their largest size was XL so whenever I saw them last night, well let’s just say that I thought it would be a while before I was able to wear them to bed.  But I took a deep breath and tried them on just to gauge the anticipated snug fit.  Much to my surprise, I managed to get both legs into them without busting the seam.  Score!  These blue Smurfette PJ bottoms are now my way of showing myself the progress of my weight loss efforts.  Each day that passes will find them just a little less tight and eventually they will be loose on my hips just like my other pants. 
And when that happens, I’m going to pull out my lime XL Hello Kitty pajama bottoms that Heather got me last Christmas and RULE THE WORLD.

What Not To Do…

My Jenny Craig counselor is getting married and will be taking the next two weeks off for their nuptials and honeymoon to Costa Rica.  Here’s a little piece of unsolicited advice for all you JC counselor’s out there:  if your co-workers  buy you  a gift basket filled with amazingly scrumptious baked treats and things dipped in dark chocolate~be a dear and don’t display it on your desk in your office during your sessions with JC clients. I cannot even begin to tell you how distracting my 15 minutes were tonight because my left elbow kept touching the saran-wrapped basket.

Also, the cinnamon twists are done for the season and their new Turkey Panini sandwich is already out of stock so I wasn’t able to try that one this week. Something to look forward to next week, right?  I ended up buying the old Turkey sandwich and will hope for the best next week.

‘Course the best part of the visit was I’m down another 2.2 pounds which brings me to less than a half pound away from a 20 pound weight loss in 12 weeks.

Yay me!  Go ahead-pinch my ever shrinking fat tummy. Folks are starting to notice my success. I’ve had two co-workers comment on my slowly emerging ‘figure’ this past week which gives me pause because I never considered that I ever had a figure. So it’s a wonderful concept to consider that somewhere under all this weight is a girlish figure emerging when I least expect it.

One other point to mention.  My massage therapist Heather recommended that I visit Sam’s Club because she swears their fruit is amazingly fresh, lasts a long time and most importantly-is very, very inexpensive. (She’s been on JC since January and has lost about 58 pounds to date.)  One of her biggest challenges has been staying ahead of the expiration date on all the produce she has to buy each week following the program.  Me, too!  I’m always one banana away from a fruit crisis. 

We visited Sam’s last night and I signed us up for an Advantage membership which means I can now take advantage of their amazing choices of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you would have told me three months ago that I would be excited over the cost of bananas, I would have said you were nuts.  Yea, I like fruit.  But I’m not in love with fruit, know what I mean?  I lean more towards being an orgasmic BOGO consumer when it comes to candy bars and boxes of blueberry Pop Tarts at the local Stop & Shop.  But there I found myself last night wandering up and down the aisles sighing over the freshness of  strawberries and a bunch of perfectly ripe bananas for $1.36.  Not $1.36 per pound,  but rather the whole perfectly ripened bunch.  But I don’t get this way just over perishable  items. Sam’s Club sells a box of 20 Skinny Cow sandwiches for $10.07.  Now that’s where the  sweet spot of wholesale club shopping lies – tucked away in a back freezer adjacent to the gigantic tubs of Edy’s ice cream.  You just have to know where to look and fortunately for me, I’ve got all the time in the world.

What A Difference 12 Weeks Make

I wouldn’t believe it if you told me back in June that I would be able to stick to a weight loss program without little “cheats” here and there.  If you know me then you’ll understand those little “cheats” could have consisted of an empty Sour Skittle candy wrapper or on occassion an empty pint of Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar ice cream.

To my surprise, I have faithfully been on the Jenny Craig weight loss plan since June 16th. I’ve lost nearly 18 pounds (Damn the precision of their digital scale!) which is the most weight I’ve ever lost being on a diet.  I’ll say it again…18 pounds off of my 5’2 frame.  This weight loss amounts to 6 Macbook Air laptops or 20 cans of Baked Beans.

I have to admit that I’ve been struggling with my choice to continue on with Jenny Craig because the cost of the food is very expensive.  I see my weekly tally of purchased food at the center and it goes without saying that it kills me to spend $6.39 for a small piece of portion-controlled frozen lasagna – traditional or not. I walk the grocery aisles a few times a week stocking up on 6 oz. cups of fat-free yogurt, fruits, vegetables and Cool Whip because these are healthy choices to compliment my Jenny Craig menu.  But lately it’s been getting harder and harder to walk down the aisles seeing all these 100-calorie packs of food.  They are everywhere.

But I think everything I’ve been feeling lately is a natural reaction to being on this weight loss plan for what I consider to be a very long time.  I recognize that I’m at a fork in the road to becoming healthier: I could drop the program and count calories on my own (using a free site like FitDay) or continue to press on doing the Jenny Craig program for a year to match my membership commitment I made to myself back on June 16th.

My biggest fear is that I’ll convince myself that I can lose all this weight without the support and guidance of Jenny Craig and their pre-planned meals just because I’ve managed to drop what I consider to be a significant amount of weight.

I feel like a little girl begging her daddy to remove the training wheels off her bike.  Or as the Ting Ting’s sing, “Shut up and let me go!”  

Last night I awoke around 3am because I needed to use the bathroom.  When I returned to bed and settled back into my delicous nest of pillows, I shifted my body to and fro a few times so that I was lying on my stomach hugging my many pillows.  It was as I was starting to drift off that it occurred to me that this was the first time that I got up in the middle of the night and returned to bed without feeling my heart speed up in response to the exertion it took to reposition myself in the bed.  Maybe losing 17.8 pounds made that much of a difference to my cardiovascular system?

Here’s another example of progress. Tonight I went to the gym and did 45 minutes on the eliptical and 15 minutes on the treadmill.  Being able to be on the eliptical for that long is a major achievement for me.  I recall that when I joined the gym maybe a month ago, my goal was to do ten minutes on the eliptical.  I can’t believe I actually did 45 minutes tonight!  I walked out of there with rubbery legs bursting with pride and personal achievement. 

I’m happy to say that I’ve drawn the rather obvious conclusion that I should keep using my training wheels and re-evaluate my progress in another three months.  It feels good to know that this time around, I challenged my own belief system with new and improved ways of taking care of myself and chose a path that I can continue to follow.  I apologize for sounding like Miss Oprah, but here it goes:  I want to live my best life and for me that means saying good-bye to my old life–one pound at a time. 

The Queen Is About To Be De-Throned!

I was recently on vacation so I doubled up on my Jenny Craig food and skipped the weigh-in last week.  I exercised a lot and stuck to the program except for one Olive Garden splurge on the day we visited Newport, RI and did the Cliff Walk.  (I figured walking four consecutive hours without rest deserved 1 roll, a glass of deliciously sweet Coke, salad, lasagna and a slice of lemon cream cake.) 

Otherwise every other day trip we took found me packing a lunch:  salads, fruit, carrots, diet iced tea, sugar-free Bubble Yum, etc.  We even did a pit stop at a Target adjacent to the Berkshire Mall to buy a box of plastic spoons and fat-free yogurt just to take the edge off my hunger pains for the very long ride back to central Massachusetts. In fact, our last day trip to South Kingstown, RI found me again at Target buying Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches to hold me over until we got home so I could microwave a dinner. I tell you about these sacrifices while on vacation last week to show you how hard I’m working the program and my dedication to becoming healthy and fit. 

Before my weigh-in today at the center, I took off my watch, earrings and decorative ring. I greeted Laura my counselor and told her I had to get on that scale…right now…immediately.  I was dying to know if I lost weight on my vacation.

Down 3.8 pounds!  I just stared at the digital read-out until it sort of blurred and listened to Laura say, “Great Job!”  I did it.  I actually lost weight while on vacation.

I know without a doubt that starting to consistently exercise is making the biggest difference in my weight loss.  I hate to exercise, but I can’t argue with its result.  This 3.8 pound drop brings me to a stunning 17.6 pounds lost in 10 weeks.  It’s the most I’ve ever lost on a diet in my entire life and I’m just so proud of myself. 

Queen Latifa has lost 20 pounds on the progam so far.  I’m sorry to say the current commercial of her being in a recording studio and then walking out of the sound booth in her skin-tight jeans to show off her twenty-pound weight loss is very, very contrived and way lame.  But she does look thinner and I think to myself that pretty soon people might be noticing that I’ve lost some weight, too.  Jillian at work told me my face looks slimmer and quite coincidentally my JC counselor Laura said the very same thing today during our session. 

Obviously I can’t see it, but I know how I feel wearing my current work wardrobe.  Several of my pants are loose in places that were once embarrasingly constricting. It’s such a thrill to get up in the morning and not have to make that awful decision about which pair of pants will hurt the least to wear.  Now I take my pants off at the end of the day and I don’t see the outline of the pant’s waist pressed into my skin like an angry red tattoo. 

I’m so close to achieving a 20 pound weight loss just like Queen Latifa. Dare I say it’s so close I can almost taste it?  And what, might you ask, will it taste like?

I dunno, but I’m about to find out.

A New Temptation

I’ve been on Jenny Craig for seven weeks now and have successfully resisted a handful of mild to medium temptations that would derail my weight loss program. However, I have just read about a new Eggo breakfast product (and we all know how much I salivate over “new” products and packaging!) that is going to haunt me for the next year: Eggo Bake Shop Swirlz frozen pastry.

It’s like a frozen Cinnabon Cinnamon roll without the 300 calories and 15 grams of fat. These little beauties have 150 calories and pack a mere 3 grams of fat. If you’re on weight watchers that would translate into 7 points Cinnabon compared to 3 points Eggos.

My typical breakfast prior to joining Jenny Craig was 2 Cinnamon Pop Tarts or 2 blueberry Eggo waffles or a heaping bowl Cookie Crisp cereal. No wonder I’m a fatty, right? My typical breakfast now consists of a chopped banana sprinkled with cinnamon, dipped in no-fat Cool Whip and a low-fat banana muffin. Sadly, this is my treat breakfast during the week. I’ve even gone so far as to substitute one of my frozen breakfast scrambles for a blueberry muffin so I could have 2 muffins a week. I’m working up the nerve to ask the counselor if I can three a week because this is the best breakfast I can have in my new healthy regimen.

It’s going to be so hard when I finally see these in my grocer’s freezer. I’ll have to develop a strategy of walking down the aisle to the very left of the freezers so I don’t even peek in to see if my local Price Chopper is stocking them. I highly doubt I’ll be able to talk to my counselor and get her blessing, but I sure would like to ask her anyways. These Eggo Bake Shop Swirlzs look absolutely delicious. I want to try one so bad.

But every time I successfully resist something such as this new frozen treat, I know that I’m taking a step in the right direction. I’m making an investment in myself to put healthy food in my body. I have to continue on the program for the next year, achieve my weight loss goal and learn how to incorporate food such as these new Eggos into my breakfast.

I have to remind myself that this weight loss program is not forever. Someday I’ll be able to have one of these. The result of being successful in losing all this weight will be that I’ll grow to appreciate an occasional treat such as this new Eggo breakfast pastry realizing that my new relationship in food is all about moderation and less about indulging in gluttony.

June 2009 is a long way away. I’m hoping these new breakfast pastries make it as a permanent part of the Eggo family. But if they don’t, I have no doubt that some other company out there will launch something as equally yummy for me to savor and appreciate.

I’ve just got to hang in there.