Sunday, April 20, 2014
While things are at a stand still in my current round of hCG, I am always making plans for my dietary future. This is more of a personal rant, so beware... I have a couple of dozen Paleo sites bookmarked in my "favorites", I love looking at the recipes, the updates of how science is making strives to go against the FDA and USDA, and I especially love reading the comments. It's the comments, more than the articles/recipes themselves that make me laugh, make me cry, or make my blood boil. When my oldest and dearest friend, Lisa, told me she lost 50 lbs. on hCG, I made it my mission to check this stuff out. First the clinics (good golly they're expensive), then the hCG forums (to get lots of opinions), then I downloaded, printed out, and read Pounds and Inches. I took the time and made the effort to learn all I needed to know. I didn't rush in, and buy the most touted and popular product, I just don't have that kind of money! After learning HOW to lose the weight, next was how to keep it off. My "doctor recommended" eating plans (I had TONS), had helped me right into being 300 to 400 lbs., so, instead of repeating the same pattern and expecting different results, I decided to step out of the box. I looked into what was really going to work for me. I had some expectations. First: Any way of eating had to be realistic. Second: It had to be something that the family could eat too. Third: Healthy had to be the priority. Any way of eating had to be realistic I love steak. I am not ashamed to say it. I don't care how cute cows are, I don't care if they fart methane (like people farts aren't). I love steak. That being said, I certainly wasn't going vegetarian, vegan, or anything like that. Yes, vegetables should be the cornerstone of ANY diet (remember, the word diet is the food you eat, not just about losing weight). My diet had to consist of foods that I would eat, and feel good about eating. I don't feel good about eating processed crap, I don't feel good about the "fat free" diets out there, I don't feel good about buying boxed, ready made meals. It had to be something that the family could eat too I have a husband, a father-in-law, adult special needs son, and two littles (5 and 7). Bacon was in, tofu was out. My husband is OK with what I cook, as long as he get what he wants. He likes meat, he likes veggies, he could care less about baked goods, biscuits, pie or cake. My FIL is a junk food junkie, he has his own money, and uses it to buy milk, powdered mocha crap he calls coffee, cookies, and raviolis. He eats dinner with us every night, so my food can't be that bad. My #1 son loves BBQ chicken, hates ham, but he has a job where, again, he can buy his own junk food (he likes Tortino's Pizzas and doughnuts). The my 7 yo, the Pookers, loves breakfast and lunch, but will balk at every dinner. Whereas the 5 yo, the Peanut will eat whatever I set before him. Dinner is always a battle, because everyone wants what they like, and (other than my husband) will turn their collective noses up at new and weird. Since no one else will volunteer to cook, they are stuck with what I serve. Overall, the family at one night or the other will have something they like, even if it's only one item. Otherwise, they just lump it. Healthy has to be a priority I buy the best meat I can. I serve 2 veggies with dinner. I use healthy fats in my cooking. I make most everything from scratch, with ingredients I can pronounce. I start with whole, real food. If we need noodles, I use a spaghetti squash, or zucchinis. Our proteins are meat, chicken, fish, pork, or eggs. Veggies are random and varied, broccoli, salads, cauliflower, green beans, different squashes, spinach, carrots, beets, non-GMO potatoes, and the list goes on. Some are cooked, many are served raw. All these wonderful, healthy foods are cooked in water, or healthy fats (coconut oil, EVOO, butter). I do make some treats, but only once every couple of weeks. Add to these foods, healthy snacks nuts, fruits, homemade jerky, cut, raw veggies, hard boiled eggs. Now, this list isn't even close to exhaustive by any means, and I am not going to tell you that I emptied my house of crap food. There is still bread, store bought processed crap, cuppa noodles, all sorts of canned crap, hiding in many corners of my home. But, I do make it a point to keep the healthy foods in the forefront, and the crap as moderate a possible. I didn't magically get to this point. I had to learn many new things (like how to cook with coconut flour) and unlearn many more things (a healthy diet begins with wholesome grain...). I took the time to educate myself, and not just dive in head first into some weird diet to lose weight, and I didn't just dive into the ever evolving (pun intended) Paleo diet. There are so many fads that people grab on to. Things they do because their favorite actor does it. Because their best friend (or even worst enemy) does it. They take the easiest path, and put in minimal effort, and expect major results. Then, as time ticks, they become disillusioned, bored, or something new has become popular. What they don't do is think for themselves. Just because 4 out of 5 dentists are surveyed, does that mean that we all should chew Trident gum? Have you seen the ingredients in sugarless gum? Ewwww. And who are these dentists? And why should it matter? Back in the 50's, doctors used to recommend that their patients smoke. Now, doctors are pushing that everyone eat food that's processed and fake (heart smart margarine, fat-free everything, processed, packaged foods like protein bars). Why are we listening to these people over what should be common sense? Sure, it never hurts to listen, but if someone tells you something that just doesn't make sense, shouldn't you not only question, but research for facts? With the internet at our finger tips, it seems like it would be easy, but sadly, people lie. They lie in print as well as in those popular info-mercials. Shocked you didn't I? Read the articles. Make the recipes. Use your brain. Don't blindly follow. If you can read, you can learn, hell, even if you can't read, you can learn (but not from here). Just because Justin Bieber thinks that Elmer's Glue is good for your heart (OK, maybe he doesn't, but he is Canadian), doesn't mean that you should drink down a bottle. Don't even take my word for it. There are plenty of people who used hCG, but it didn't work (although they also didn't follow protocol), but there is no "one size fits all" diet. Maybe you can't live with yourself if you eat one of those adorable cows, chickens, fish, piggies, then don't. But, you have to choose for yourself. Think for yourself. Decide for yourself. Join me, outside the box, it's not a crime (yet...)
Saturday, April 5, 2014
So, I make my first goal, and in a moment of stupidity, I indulged in some Paleo crunch and ham (remember I wasn't going to eat pork or processed foods?), then, just to make things TONS of fun, my girly time kicked in 2 weeks early, all this culminated in a 5 lb. gain! Suddenly, my first goal is in the garbage, and has to be regained (in a losing manner). Of the 5 I gained, I lost 1. Oh boy, I had my work cut out for me. On a weird note, although I gained, I lost. I am thinner, even with the extra weight/bloating. I am now into my size 16s (the bigger 16s as opposed to my smaller 16s). This morning, I woke up to a 2.8 lb. loss! I went ahead and took some measurements, and I am down another 6.5", bringing my total inches lost to 26" overall. Very exciting! Today, we are taking the boys to their skating lesson, and will stay for a skating session. I haven't been this thin on skates since my teen years (I'll be 47 next month), so this should be interesting. There are a couple of caveats to today's plans. First: the 2 hours of skating (a very good cardiovascular exercise and good for core strength) will probably cause me to retain water in my muscles (causing a weight stall) and second: Today is a skip day, which notoriously causes me to stall for a day or two. I use the skip days (days I don't take my hCG, usually once a week) to make sure I don't become immune to hCG. So, as I stand now, I have just over a pound to lose to get to my first goal(again), then I can head to 191 and beyond. It can all be so frustrating. On a positive note, I am not so bummed about the pork and processed meat, as I can truly see the damage it does to my body now. Seeing what happened after what seemed a minor cheat, makes me more determined to stay the course, and stay POP (perfectly on protocol) for the duration of my hCG. In May, I will reevaluate whether or not to invest in another bottle of hCG, and extend my round to 80 days. I feel I have to get to at least 175 (I feel 160 to 175 is optimal for me), on this round. Maybe, I am just being greedy, but sometimes you have got to extend yourself a bit (not in a dangerous, health threatening manner), and be brave enough to jump the shark (Happy Days fans will know what I mean). Remember, focus (not willpower) is the key. Keep on keeping on.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Right on target, this morning I made my goal of ldw of 204 (OK, 204.4, but I am not going to pick at nits)!!! Now, the real work comes into play. My next goal is 191, which is the lowest weight I have ever been in my adult life. From there, my goal is 180, then anything after that is just those extra vanity pounds. Having realistic goals is imperative. If someone of my stature (5'9", big boned, and massive stretched skin) wanted to be 120 lbs, I would be fooling myself. Our body views are skewed enough. Women (and men) who strive to look like Kate Moss (or whichever supermodel swizzle stick) are aiming for the wrong goal. Let me rehash my views on supermodels: Being a clothing model is a job. The reason that they are so thin is because designers want a living HANGER to put their clothes on for show. That's right, a live walking hanger. When you watch a runway model strutting on the catwalk, look at their faces, see that sour look? The designer doesn't want you to look at their faces, they want you to look at their clothing. People don't want to look at a "mean" face. Again, being a supermodel is a job. If it's your job, then please, get as skinny as you want. If it's not your job, then go for being healthy. A healthy weight may not get you on the cover of Vogue, but do you really think that's your calling in life? Sure, many of us would love to wear the latest Couture, or DKNY, or whatever is hot now (I don't follow the trends). I am a big fan of Downton Abbey, Masterpiece gets some financing from Ralph Loran (sp?), so there is a 2 minute blurb at the beginning of the show about how Ralph loves his beautiful women. The problem is the women shown. If they weren't wearing the lovely clothes, you would be calling them death camp survivors. I hope it's airbrushing that makes them look that thin, because they are scary skinny. We all suffer from a skewed body image. When you weigh 325 lbs., you don't think you are as fat as you are. I used to have a 5' circumference, yes a 60" waist. I would look into a mirror and think "yeah, I'm fat, but I carry my weight well". Nobody carries that much weight well. Now that I am 120 pounds lighter, my body view is skewed the other way. Now it's I don't look like I have lost anything. We may never see what's truly there, fat or thin. This makes us have to rely on FACTS. Fact: I have lost 120 lbs. Fact: I used to wear a XXXL, now I wear a large. Fact: I have lost more inches than I am tall (I am 69" tall, and have lost more than 70" overall). It's the facts, not the body view that keep me on track. If I went by my "feelings", I would have pitched all back in February of 2012, when things got hard. When I couldn't have bread anymore. I let the scale keep tabs for me. While losing 60 lbs., I didn't lose hardly any inches. It wasn't until 2 weeks into P3 that I got into smaller pants (I lost weight from the top down). We are a society that relies too much on our "feelings", when we really need to rely on cold, hard facts. It's our "feelings" that got us fat in the first place. Remember: Oh, this has been a lousy day, a carton of ice cream will make me feel better. Did it? Did you eat that ice cream in front of anyone? Or, did you hide to scarf it down? By the last spoonful, were you happy, or did you get up and go get something else to eat? Yes, I know. You are reading the truth about the fat life from the Queen of eating emotions. I have done it all. Hiding food. Buying 2 or 3 meals, while making passing mention that I was feeding my family, so no one would think that I was going to eat all this food by myself. Restaurant hopping, going from one drive thru to another, with a stop at a grocery store on top of all that. Crazy. But, that's what we do when our one and only friend is food. But, food is no one's friend. Food (the right food), keeps our bodies alive. It doesn't CARE, because food is not a person. Food has no ability to be a friend. It's not living, breathing, or feeling. This is when it's time to really look at yourself. Not in a critical, "I am such a loser" way, but in a "I need to put me first" way. An "I need to love myself enough to stop this cycle" way. I have always hated the "love yourself" thing. What I have found is that you have to find just one thing you like about you. Maybe you are just that much smarter then the people around you. Or have a special talent (yes, everyone has a talent) that you do. Maybe you have really bitchin' eyes. Maybe you are strong. ONE THING. Start with that. Everyone has one thing that makes them special. Something that makes you unique. Find it. Exploit it for all it's worth, something else to add will present itself, I promise. When that voice in your head starts putting you down, tell it to shut up, and focus on what's important, YOU. Losing weight is a long, exhausting road. You didn't wake up fat, you won't wake up skinny without a lot of hard work in-between. Focus on your health. Not the mirror. Not the latest fad. Not the other people who "are better than you". There is no one better than you. If you do nothing, you will get nothing. You don't need accolades from others, just do for yourself. There is always hope. No one is a lost cause. You are special. You are worth it.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Four weeks down, and another 4 weeks to go. I am down 21 pounds and 19.5 inches. Pretty awesome for a months work. My first goal was to get to 204 by the end of the month, which is not out of the realm of possibilities, but it will be tough (I would have to lose 1.5 lbs. today and tomorrow, it could happen!!!!). The weight loss tracker I use on my phone tells me I will make my final goal by early May, if I can stay at my current losses, the downside is that my body can be fickle and only drop when it wants to. I am in my second day of a stall, which I would love to say is just me stalling, but I was nibbling on pork (I LOVE all things pork), and it looks like piggy is off my menu (which I shouldn't be eating on hCG anyway). I will have to adjust my plan to get rid of pork products altogether (even non processed products like country ribs and pork chops). There are so many yummy processed food stuffs, but being Paleo, I should have cut those out years ago. Hot Dogs, lunch meat, pastrami, pepperoni, sausages like summer and polska kubasa (sp?), BACON!! I can switch to beef bacon (never had it), but even then it's still processed, and has to be treated like a condiment rather than a main serving. So, besides processed meats, I have to ditch eggs for awhile too, just to make sure I don't react to them. Another bummer, but if I have to go my whole life w/o eggs, it's a small price to pay for my health. I also am going to limit my butter usage, mainly because I buy "regular" butter at Walmart (2 lbs. for just under $6), for my butter usage, I will invest in some Kerrygold, and keep the family on the other (margarine does NOT rear it's ugly, plastic head in my house!) I am sure it seems like all the yummy food is restricted, but not really. With plenty of internet recipes, and some planning, all that's gone can be replaced. Every week I make the family mayonnaise, so why not add ketchup and bbq sauce to my cooking list? The trick is finding a recipe that's easy to use, then, once you understand the ingredients, tweek it to your own tastes. That is my plan for this summer, to make most of our own condiments. The hard part is to use condiments like condiments, and not drowned everything with them. My FIL asked me yesterday about missing bready foods (doughnuts in this case), and I just thought about it, and I can remember exactly what a doughnut tastes like. Very delicious. But, I haven't had a doughnut in more than 2 years, and it's not that big of a deal. If others have it, I just remember, and that's enough. I don't have to taste it, smell it, or touch it. It is what it is, yummy, but poison to my system. It's the same with pizza, pasta, and tortillas. I remember how good they are for the 5 seconds they are on my tongue, but the poundage they would add to my already huge belly would be a step in the wrong direction. Totally not worth it. The hardest part of losing weight is the constant battle with yourself and the others around you. Those who love us really think that our happiness is derived from food. And, at one time, it was. But the happiness the food brought us only lasted for the first few bites, then we are scarfing everything everything in sight, desperately searching for that "happy taste", which won't present itself. So, there you are, fighting that inner battle against ice cream, getting a long drink of water, starting to feel in control, and there is that one who loves you shoving a heaping spoon of Rocky Road into your face, saying "one bite won't hurt you. You've been working so hard, and lost that 10 lbs., treat yourself!" Is that person high? No, that person is ignorant. They truly want to make you happy, past experience (like us scarfing down a half gallon of Chocolate Chip in one sitting) has taught them that these thinks do make you happy. Now, it's time to educate these folks. Thank them for their concern, but "one bite" will hurt you, and that you don't want to eat the sugar, dairy, or processed whatever. If it's homemade goodies, or a family meal, it will hurt feelings, but Aunt Bea will get over you not eating her world famous pie, cake, marshmallow sweet potatoes, or whatever culinary creation that you know contains large amounts of vegetable oil, enriched wheat flour, sugar(or even worse sugar substitute). Stick with "no, thank you". If it's pushed, "no, thank you" in a firmer tone will suffice. Later, away from the family, tell Aunt Bea that you love her creation (whether you do or don't, no sense in rubbing salt into a wound), but you just cannot have it anymore, until you have better control of your health. Then the ball is in her court, if her feelings are still hurt, then she needs to deal with that herself, it's out of your hands. It sucks, because we want to make people happy, and it seems like such a small thing, until you add up all the people in your life shoving food in your face, and you eat to make them happy, oh, wait, that's how we got fat in the first place, trying to make ourselves and others happy by eating. Well, off my soapbox, and on with my day.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
I have been neglecting my blogging lately. It can be a real chore to keep your head in the game, as it were. My focus has been drifting, even to perfect me, who knew!!! Oh, wait, I am not perfect, what a shocker! My first week on hCG, I lost 12+ lbs., which is super duper. My second week I lost 3-ish lbs., not great, but on track for hCG. The 3rd week I lost one whole pound. ONE, uno, single, AAAARRRRRGGGGGGG!!!! That really put me into a tail spin. Not that I tossed in the towel, or anything. But, it really plays havoc with the self control. I tend to cheat with protein, not sugar or similar treats. I keep making beef jerky, and I keep eating it (weird). Also, there have been some real strangeness with my girly time. It started off right, but then stopped, then started again, then stopped, then started, my normal 4 days have turned into a 6 day ordeal. Add to that I am trying out a "Diva" menstrual cup, in an attempt to move away from the standard feminine hygiene products. And, just to increase the stresses, my beloved Colonel has been working 16+ hours everyday, and has been driving long distances on small windy roads, so I worry. Oh, and my car is in the body shop getting 3,000 dollars worth of repairs to the front passenger door that got hit by a valet parking someone else's car. I must admit, the Cadillac the rental company provided me with is a real "hooptie" with plenty of bells and whistles, but I miss my car. So, instead of using all these reasons for excuses, it's time to take charge, refocus, and basically get my sh*t together. It can pile up, but this is life, and stuff will happen. That doesn't mean I have Carte Blanc to toss all my work away. As I stand now, I am down 16+ lbs., and 19.5"! Not too shabby at all, even with all the weirdness that life is chucking my way right now. As my first bottle of drops was getting down to the last couple of ounces, it occurred to me that it also might be losing it's potency, so I opened another bottle, which seems to be helping as I am losing a pound a day currently. I am hoping that I will be to my first goal (and ldw) of 204 by the end of March (I am at 211.6 now, so 7 more pounds to go), then be in "one"derland by mid April. After that, it will be all gravy losses. My goal is to be at or below 180 (165 being ideal, but that would just be a vanity thing, not a health thing). With my focus regained, and my goals in sight, it makes the whole VLC days easier to get through. I still believe that "will power" is bull. Focus, not self denial is the key. Will power means that you just "push through" with no goal. Focus gives you something to push through to, and landing place, so to say. If you are just saying to yourself, "no, I won't cheat on those tasty cookies", you are just powering through, with no safety net. But, if you say "those cookies really look tasty, but I am just 7 pounds away from my goal" you have a reason for saying no, including the acknowledgement that the cookies (or your weakness of choice) look good. They won't DO you any good, and cookies (or whatever) are not gone forever, you just can't have them now. I like to tell myself "not 'no', just not now". Today I am taking my Littles to the roller skating rink for their first lesson. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks I can join them on the floor. I have been roller skating for 40 something years, spending the bulk of the 80's as a rink rat. Once I get to goal, I may just invest in a new pair of rink skates (the $100 ones, nothing fancy). I really do love the fact that there are things that I can look forward to. 2 years ago, I got to go on water slides for the first time since my early 20's. We just got back from Disneyland, and I was able to ride all the rides I wanted to, without being so fat that I worried about someone telling me that I would break the ride (a major worry 10 years ago, the last time we went). Now, I am getting back onto the skating floor, looking forward to more water slides, more amusement parks, camping, travelling, and maybe renting out a Sea Doo for some jet skiing (my ultimate bucket list item). I have let my lack of focus take 20 years from my life. Nothing is sadder than a life wasted. Even in our crazy world, life is worth living. Live it hard!!!!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
After 3 days VLC, I have lost 9.2 lbs. Fantastic! I am starting to feel boney parts again, specifically my hip bones. Right now I am really pear shaped, a total bummer because I used to be an hour glass shape, aka a really heavy Mae West (very sexy!). If I react the same way as I did before, I will lose the weight, but not the inches, until P3. I am OK on waiting. Since I am no where as big as I was before, I should lose inches while losing weight, but there is no guarantee. We are born with a set amount of fat cells, when our bodies store fat, the cells fill up. When the body releases fat quickly, the cells push out the fat, but add in water (hence the mushy feeling). In time, the water drains out, and the cells shrink. My concern is the loose skin I am have, which will only get worse. There isn't really much I can do about it, exercise will only do so much. Right now, I am at 219, hopefully, in the next 2 weeks or so I will be into "one"derland. I have been down to 191, so once I hit the 80's (about a month or so, depending on my losses), I will reevaluate my exercise regime to regain my strength and tighten my core. I have also been working on a Paleo plan to stay slim (for me) and not regain any of my losses. I am still 15 lbs. away from my ldw, then everything else will be virgin territory for me. This round, I find myself much more obsessed with food, specifically eating. I am combating this by keeping my eyes on the prize, namely, getting down to the 70's. Any diet, no matter how fast or slow, requires focus. hCG seems a bit of a cheat because it works quickly. The standard focal mantra is "you can do anything for 30 days", yes and no. Sure, you can go on any diet for 30 days, but what happens after? There are always going to be people who will encourage you to eat what you shouldn't. My dearest husband, The Colonel, has made mention of what a bummer it is to go out to dinner with me, because of my self imposed dietary limitations. While loading, he realized that my limitations take some worry away from him (about my health). We had gone to Der Wienerschnitzal, where I ordered their 5 chili dogs for $5.55 deal (no buns), then went next door to Carl's Jr. for a large sweet potato fry. He remembered when I would get something at one fast food place, then head over to another, then, sometimes a third. Not healthy. Delicious, but not healthy. It's my history that keeps me on track. Like so many obese people, I have stories that would make the skinny folks throw up. Pizza Hut now puts out a combo that's 2 pizzas, with an appetizer and a dessert. I call it the Fatty Special. I personally have ordered 2 Little Caesar's pizzas, bread sticks, chicken wings, and washed it all down with soda. Who's to say that I wasn't feeding my whole family? I wasn't, I was feeding me. Shameful behavior. And that was just dinner, it doesn't count the 2 Whoppers (with extra mayo) at lunch, or the Grand Slam breakfast, then there was the snacking in between. How did I get so fat? I wonder... The only way to break the food addiction cycle is to face it head on. The first thing I gave up was soda. I was never partial to diet soda, so my choices went from coffee, tea, water, or soda, to coffee, tea, or water. I don't sweeten my coffee or tea, so it was no biggie for me. Losing the soda helped, but it wasn't enough. The bread and sugar was next, but I didn't know enough about how to reduce or eliminate these. The AMA has set guidelines about how to lose weight safely, unfortunately, everything they promote makes me gain, and is so overprocessed that none of what they tout is actually healthy. Where they go is calorie restriction, which, although I am deep in the throws of a 500 calorie diet, doesn't work either. It's the food. Would anyone disagree that a sautéed chicken breast is healthier than a BLT? Surprisingly, it's not the bacon, it's the bread, it's the soy based mayo, the lack of nutrition of iceberg lettuce. What I really like about hCG is that I can scarf all the veggies I want. My meat is portioned to 100g, I can have 2 fruits, but veggies are a free for all. I fill my plate with mixed greens, or slice up a whole (large) cucumber, eat a pound of asparagus, and away melt the pounds. This has to be the basis for my return to real eating. Go as big on veggies as you like. Portion meats, portion fruits, portion fats (that's healthy fats). I have said all this before, and it's still true. Even if you aren't doing hCG, you will lose weight. Eating at 3 fast food restaurants daily, with convenience store stops in between is not only expensive, but wrong. You know it, I know it. Losing weight is just a side effect of eating healthy. Any type of eating is a diet. A diet is just how we eat. Some are good, some are not. Is pizza the end all be all of living? Will you die if you only have ice cream every couple of months, rather than every day? I can testify that NO you will not. I have gone years without soda, and lived, months without ice cream or candy, and lived. I haven't had onion rings in a year, and when I did, it was paleo-ized, but still a fried, not healthy food, but a treat. I know that in a few months, I can have some onion rings again, I can have coconut milk ice cream again, I can have chocolate again. The trick it to keep them in their places. Broccoli is a food that you can eat bunches of. Have all the romaine lettuce you want. Have a thick steak with a ton of asparagus, that's food. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, these are not "food", these are treats, like a vacation is a treat, you don't do them everyday, but maybe only once or twice a year. A vacation wouldn't be a treat if you did it everyday, neither are sweets.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I woke up this morning 4 lbs. lighter! Goal #1 is to get back to my ldw of 204, which is only 20 lbs. away. I had steak, cucumbers, and an orange for lunch. For dinner I had chicken tenders on mixed greens with salsa and strawberries with stevia. The meals were satisfying enough. I am feeling hunger pangs, which I don't remember from my first 2 rounds. Fortunately, I have done intermittent fastings, so I don't freak out when my tummy rumbles. Eventually, my body will adjust to the lower calorie regime. Plus, it encourages me to drink more water. Winter time makes drinking water a chore, especially when I want to chug down a few pots of coffee. I am keeping my eyes on the prize, and totally locked into my plan. Soon, I will be comfy in my 16s, then I can shoot for size 14, 12, or maybe even a size 10. Because of my apron (hanging belly skin), I don't think that I can get into anything smaller. And with Obamacare kicking in, there is little opportunity for getting an elective surgery like excess skin removal for less than a fortune. But, I love me, and my hubby loves me, and we are the only two that count, since we are the only 2 that has to see me naked (scary, right?). I will chalk up my hanging skin to battle scars, and just live with it. I am off to guzzle down a pot o'coffee, then switch off to good ole h2o.