Friday, December 31, 2010


Christmas 2009 with Sharon and Vicki

Christmas 2010 with Vicki and Sharon
For nearly 20 years I've enjoyed a holiday lunch and gift exchange with my girlfriends Sharon and Vicki at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. There's always much laughter and vows to get together more often in the coming year. As I was trying to get a visual of where I'm beginning this new year in comparison to last, I realized that these photographs tell a story of size as well as of friendship. I'm really looking forward to being half the woman I am now when I'm ringing in 2012 with good friends!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A few thousand steps at a time ...

Over the three months of the OptiFit program I've learned alot. And re-learned even more. The road to getting fit, figuratively, is really quite literal. In mid-December I bought myself an early Christmas present ... a pedometer. My husband measured my stride and set it up for me. What I've discovered in the past two weeks is that in the course of my regular day I average just over 4,000 steps. What that means is that I have to get moving and build that up to closer to 10,000 steps a day. I lead a somewhat sedentary life, sitting in front of a computer writing or standing in front of a microphone talking. I'm adding activities to the twice a week strength training at OptiFit and am more conscious of where I park in parking lots, choosing now to park further away from my destination to rack up steps. A competitive person by nature, I want to "win" this numbers game. My New Years resolution for 2011 ... maintain forward motion!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Real food

In the sometimes crazy world that is my life, I find myself interacting with food in unexpected ways. When the owner of Rosa's Italian Deli asked if I'd like to be included on the restaurant's Celebrity Menu, I was flattered but very conflicted. I'm a work in progress in dealing with the myriad of food issues that have found me fighting and winning the battle of weight. Then I realized I could set a good example for any of my column readers and radio show listeners by creating something that was heart healthy and balanced. Tina and I came up with the Main Street Mojo sandwich ... served open-faced so there's just a single slice of multi-grain Italian bread. :) Topped with albacore tuna dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, tossed with sun dried tomatoes, sweet onions and capers, served on a lettuce leaf. It's good but as you can see from this photo, more than twice the portion size I would eat at one meal. A balancing act to be sure but I'm taking some satisfaction in how educated I'm becoming.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Unexpected outcome

My toes and feet are happiest when submerged in the water of our beautiful lakes and rivers but alas they must be tucked into shoes for most of the year. While I've been reveling in the revelation of baggy clothes, trying on shoes this weekend brought an amazing discovery. After years of wearing a size 8, and depending upon the style, even an 8W, I apparently now wear a 7.5 shoe size. Even with a pair of trouser socks, the size 8 were simply too roomy. Incredible shrinking feet. Who'd have imagined?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Baggy is good ...

This photograph will be a favorite for years to come. It's Christmas morning and we drove out to Higgins Point at the east end of Lake Coeur d'Alene. I took my camera down the trail to the shoreline to enjoy the view. Coming back up the trail I realized I wasn't out of breath and needing to rest. I also noticed that my clothing is getting increasingly baggy. Even wearing a couple of layers of sweaters under this jacket, it's loose-fitting, as are the smaller size pants I bought I couple of weeks ago. I'm liking the new and improved me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Small Victories

just a small sampling of sweets
that have appeared this month in
the KVNI studio.
Another 2 pound loss this week. Doesn't sound like much when you have at least another 50 pounds to lose but I'm taking my victories wherever they present themselves. I remind myself that I did not become nearly 100 pounds overweight in a matter of months. It was a decade or more of gaining several pounds a year. Slowly and covertly, the pounds came to stay. I aged and my metabolism slowed down. I became less active and less vigilent. So I try to practice patience and resist the urge to become discouraged. It's winter, a time when I tend to want to hibernate, and the holidays.
Me and Janna with festive sugar-free
Jello holiday dessert

To have lost ten pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas ... with vast arrays of treats everywhere and holiday parties galore ... is a victory. I will begin the New Year by hitting the ground running on this journey to fitness. And by this time next year I hope to be half the woman I was in 2010. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

Week 10 of a 12-week program finds me just 10 lbs away from my halfway point goal. A lot of work ahead of me to be down another 50 lbs by the time my next birthday rolls around in May but a good foundation has been laid.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's magic!

I've joked about eating "space food" for the last several weeks, like the astronauts. Little packets of dried food, that added to a few ounces of water becomes somewhat like real food. Since these days I'm eating not for recreation or out of emotion or haste but for fuel, my space food is just what's needed. Look HERE to see how I take these powdered eggs and turn them into a wonderful breakfast that's full of protein. About 125 calories, including my embellishments. :)


Thanksgiving came and went and the world didn't come to an end. :) We decided to forgo the huge, food laden eating fest that the holiday has always centered around and without the daughters and grandsons here, it was a quiet day for me and the hubs. I baked a small turkey breast and made Stove-Top stuffing and mashed potatoes. The things that Bert said he would most like to have. I had a slice of turkey and about a 1/4 cup of stuffing and that was it. No big deal. For all of my fretting about getting through the day I realized it's just food. Didn't miss the pumpkin pie or fruit salads or gravy or any of it. Missed the daughters and grandsons but that was it. And in my next weekly weigh-in, in a week that included Thanksgiving, I was down 5.5 lbs. Go figure.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Success is the best revenge ...

In March of 2010 my sister, Janna and I did something really spontaneous ... drove to Portland for a casting call for The Biggest Loser. Unfortunately so did a couple thousand other people. We stood in line for a dozen or more hours, many of those in the rain, before making it to the head of the line.
Fast forward to our current adventure with Optifit and Janna is also blogging about our parallel journeys. Her Revenge of the Biggest Loser Reject blog is a must-read.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Things

In the day-to-day that is my life, which resembles lots of lives, emotions are always at the forefront. Two momentous events in one weekend: my 79-year-old widowed mother has seen the light about living alone ten miles out around the lake. On Saturday we moved the first of her belongings into her new apartment in town this weekend. No small physical or emotional feat for all concerned.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning my nephew, Dallas (Janna's third of four sons) and the 116th Calvary of the Idaho Army National Guard boarded planes in Gulfport, Mississippi as they officially deploy for duty in Iraq. Pride for Dallas' service and concern for his safety over the long months ahead will be a balancing act for the entire family.

Week 5

Trying to keep all the balls in the air ... juggling the food intake with what is my biggest challenge, to be more physically active. Optifit fitness trainers, Chad and Cate are tough but encouraging. No visible sign of actual muscles yet but I can actually feel that they're in there somewhere after working out. I feel stronger each week.
There are so many components to this journey beyond the physical. For me it's about mentally regaining control of my life. Getting fit, getting strong ... getting my life back!

Note: while I'd like to be seeing bigger drops on the scale at this point, I did have to buy a pair of pants that were a size smaller. Okay, they have an elastic waistband but still are a size smaller than before. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 4

Another week of learning to navigate and what to avoid. I've let myself get over-tired and sleep deprived at a very busy time. The consequences have been not following the meal replacements to a "T." The biggest thing is not eating all of the food I need to eat and not drinking nearly enough water. It reminds me I'm a work in progress but the bonus of the program is that I'm becoming far more aware of the things in my life that have contributed to getting so out of shape. Tomorrow's another day and I'm ready for it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Week 3

I've missed posting for the past few days and have missed putting my thoughts and feelings on paper, figuratively speaking. This has been the most difficult week for me yet. In the Optifit program there are meal replacements that keep the calories down, protein up and the stomach full.
A week or so ago my epiphany was noticing how much of our lives revolve around food and the bombardment of ads everywhere. This week I've been shown what I think I've always known about myself ... during times of great emotion and drama my urge to comfort myself with food is front and center. In this process with Optifit and the professional staff, of equal importance with taking the weight off is to really understand how it came to be in the first place and to change those behaviors so my success will be ongoing and lifelong.
I've been greatly tested this week which is good, with the holidays looming large. I'm back in the saddle again!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Eight reasons

This has been a long and wonderful week, a bit chaotic and unpredictable as it is in all families. For the first time in over three years our three daughters and three grandsons were all under our roof. We celebrated the youngest grandson's 7th birthday as the highlight. A few days before the kids were all arriving, my mother was hospitalized and required surgery. Going back to her home alone was not an option and likely won't be an option moving forward. All of those emotional and highly charged decisions that adult children of aging parents must face are suddenly there for my sister, Janna and I to confront. Family dynamics, for better or worse, come into play. Long buried issues, emotions and fears loom bigger than life. Real life. So did I manage to keep to the program throughout? The answer is yes and no. I deviated not with birthday cake or fried foods or even carbs ... ate some fresh veggies and two healthy salads during the weekend. But I'm back in the Optifit saddle again. I'm doing this for me and for Alyssa, Melani, Sarah, Matthew, Jared and Connor and my husband, Bert. That's eight good reasons to change my life for the better!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Week 2 - food, food everywhere!

I've observed something incredible in my first week of putting food in the category of sustaining life instead of recreation, reward or medicating emotions ... WOW! There are sure a lot of television commercials for restaurants airing in the evenings! :) On Facebook people talk about food a lot and post photos of what they've cooked or grilled or ordered while out to eat. I'm noticing just how prevalent food is in our culture ... how big the portions are in restaurants. There will come a time in the not too distant future that I won't be so hyper-aware of the bombardment as I successfully put food in its proper place, fueling my body.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 7

A week since entering the "bod pod" and all's well. Today was pretty routine except for doing a couple of hours on air at KVNI, which required getting up at 5:15 a.m. It was a little difficult to eat breakfast a few hours earlier than usual. Had my second workout which felt really good. My energy level is increasing slowly but I really am wanting something that's not sweet to the taste. The Optifit shakes, smoothies, bars etc. for these first weeks are all sweet. I really look forward to evening when the plan includes a cup of hot soup. I can make this work for the duration. Yes I can.


If you're newly reading this blog, scroll down to the first post on Oct. 9, 2010 to follow along in chronological order. Big thanks, no pun intended. :)

Day 6

Sunday is a day of rest and I had very little on my schedule. For the past two or three years my husband has volunteered as a cook for the Post Falls American Legion's weekly breakfast. This is an all-you can eat, eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, hashbrowns, pancakes, french toast kind of deal. I enjoyed breakfast there maybe once a month since not a single item was on any heart-healthy menu I've ever seen.
I generally cook dinner on Sundays. So this Sunday was without me cooking or eating, with the exception of my meal-replacements. Bert is so supportive of my quest and knows he's perfectly capabable of foraging for food that there's no pressure there. But I found the day to be incredibly long and filled with longing for long-standing food rituals. I made it through, went to bed early. Onward and upward.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 5

My first weekend and I found the dynamics are quite different. For one, I'm not nearly as busy so weekends are more likely a time for Bert and I to cook. Saturday breakfast is often eaten out or eggs, hashbrowns and the like. Oops. Not today. I attended a funeral at 10 a.m. and although I probably could have made the lunch reception before I had an appointment, I knew I was going to be hungry and there would be food so I came home and had my scheduled pre-planned Optifit meal. Bert and I would have attended a bbq event in Coeur d'Alene but I begged off knowing that it was simply foolish to intentionally put myself in front of the tempation of brisket and ribs. Another evening in the concession stand of the Lions Haunted House that passed by without a snack crisis but I feel somewhat exhausted mentally from expending so much energy thinking about food, planning meals and trying to anticipate potential landmines. I look forward to a future day that eating is about being hungry and fueling my body ... and nothing more.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 4 ~ Part II

*note: If you're visiting this blog for the first time you might want to scroll down to the first post from Oct. 9, 2010 to follow chronologically.

In the category of daily landmines to avoid, I spent some time late afternoon at the first annual Post Falls Chamber Soup & Chili Cook-Off. Visited friends, took lots of photos and sampled nary a spoonful of what looked like wonderful homemade eats. Landmine #1 successfully avoided. Then I headed to the concession stand at the Post Falls Lions Haunted House. I've run the stand for many of the dozen or so years that Bert's been a Lion. Today as I picked up a few last minute items at the grocery store, it was like sensory overload. Then this evening spending 5 hours with cupcakes, hot dogs, nachos, chili, hot chocolate and hot cider, I had to make a concious decision over and over again not to pick up something to snack on. To call it torture would be an overstatement but I found it the most difficult mine field of the week. I'll spend several more evenings volunteering in the stand between now and Halloween so I'll take it one day at a time. Day 1 in the concession stand was a success!

Day 4

Friday marked my first appointment with a personal fitness trainer at Surgical Bariatrics NW, in the NW Specialty Hospital facility. The personalized one-on-one workout is intense. My exercise specialist, Chad Ziegenhagel, is also an ER RN so besides being a nice guy, again I feel a comfort level knowing he's experienced and qualified. Chad resembles Bob from The Biggest Loser in personality and appearance. I know I'll really enjoy making great physical improvements under his supervision.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 3

An incredibly busy day from start to finish, felt like I was running a race. It really opened my eyes about one of the issues that has caused me to put on and keep on the weight. I have very few routine days with routine meal times. Skipping meals and then eating whatever was close and quick when I was ravenous. Today I managed to stay almost on track with my meals and snacks but I know I'll have to really work on putting me as one of my daily priorities. I'm worth it. :)
My bullet dodging today was a campaign event for my friend Cliff Hayes after work. Joe Doellefeld's famous Stateline Speedway spaghetti, salad and garlic bread was on the menu for dinner. I went through the line, filled a paper plate and asked for a piece of tin foil. Wrapped it up and delivered it to Bert down at the Haunted House where he was putting on the finishing touches before it opens tomorrow. Ta da!
Thanks to Joni, Dani, Alan and Cindy for offering encouraging and supportive words. I get by with a little help from my friends for sure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 2 ~ Part II

Late this afternoon I had a meeting with Dr. Tom Neal, the OptiFit medical director, for some medical history, measuring and weighing. I liked him immediately. No judging and genuine interest in my health. Dr. Neal went through the program himself four years ago and has maintained his weight loss. Can't tell you how that raised my confidence level in the program and people I've been meeting at Surgical Bariatrics Optifit.
At 6 p.m. Janna and I took part in our first weekly, hour-long group session led by dietician Kristi Flicker and met four great women who are at varying stages of the program. What great support it will be as we move through the program to have people willing to share their successes and pitfalls they've encountered. A good day.

Day 2

*note: If you're visiting this blog for the first time you might want to scroll down to the very first post from Oct. 9, 2010 to follow chronologically.

Another busy morning and I knew I had to be prepared for attending the Coeur d'Alene Chamber's Annual awards luncheon at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. Gratefully I was seated with good friends, Jim and Cyndie Hammond, Sharmon Schmitt and Patty Shea. While everyone was networking before the luncheon started I located the server for our table. I asked him not to bring my meal to the table but to box it up to go. I also requested an empty water glass. He was very agreeable to what I'm sure isn't a common request. I visited people at other tables while the meals were served and then returned to my table. Not drawing too much attention, I just explained I was on a new program. Everyone was very supportive and encouraging. I drank my shake and ate a crisp bar. Again I was surprised at how I had no sense of longing for the lunch that was served. The waiter brought my boxed meal and I took it home for Bert's dinner. I felt really empowered.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 1

For a variety of reasons this first day presented potential landmines. It's the sixth anniversary of the death of my much-loved father, always a sad day. When I woke up this morning I made the decision to celebrate the fact that I was blessed to have a really incredible dad, who loved me unconditionally each and every day for 52 years.
So I started the program with breakfast and went on about my day, which included a lunch meeting of the steering committee of the Kootenai Alliance for Children and Families ... at my favorite Japanese restaurant, Takara. I considered not attending since I knew it would be hard to drink my shake while others ate foods I loved. But I figured I have to learn how to navigate these breakfast and lunch meetings that are such a big part of my regular day so might as well take the leap on Day 1.
I stayed on track and have not been hungry at all, although early evening I was craving something salty. I'm feeling a real sense of accomplishment for the day. Day 2 brings another luncheon meeting ... wish me luck!

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Step

Today Janna and I met with Kristi Flicker, RD at SBNW/OptiFit for metabolic testing. Information was taken, the program outlined and a visit into the "Bod Pod" to determine the percentage of fat mass and fat-free mass. Mine is a wee bit lopsided. :)
We were provided a week's worth of food suppliments and begin on Tuesday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Feelings of Farewell

I must admit that as I countdown to the commitment to come, I've felt compelled to visit the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator. The foods that brought me comfort or convenience will be a thing of the past. I will be eating not for recreation, reward or to medicate my emotions but to fuel my body.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Journey's Journal

On Monday, October 11, 2010 my first appointment with the staff of the OptiFit program at Surgical Bariatrics in Post Falls, Idaho is scheduled. The first step not to a new me but the "me" that's been buried beneath excess weight for most of my adult life. Although I'm taking this journey with my incredible sister and
friend, Janna, we'll tell our stories independently in the coming months.
I don't have a specific goal weight to attain (although losing at least 75 lbs is the realityor the goal of looking good for a specific event or to wear a bikini on some tropical beach. I simply want to feel good, get my coronary issues under control and live life from the playing field, not the sidelines.