Posted by TMR On Sunday, August 18, 2013 0 comments

This is a great article that explains why the chemistry of your food trumps the obsolete notion of calories in vs. calories out, or CICO. The truth is, your body doesn't know what a calorie is...

There Is No Such Thing As A Calorie

Posted by TMR On Thursday, June 20, 2013 0 comments

Although we are quite familiar with what obesity looks like on the outside, take a look at what obesity looks like on the inside. This is an MRI of a person of a normal weight and a person that is obese. Notice the fat lining the vital organs, the pressure placed on the joints, and the decreased density of the bones in the leg. This paints quite the picture, doesn't it? One begins to understand how healthy weight loss benefits all systems of the body.

Journey to Health

Posted by TMR On Saturday, March 16, 2013 0 comments

Check out the success story for one of our BTL patients, Tamara. Tamara was introduced to us by Debbie Gibson, and I think you will find her journey inspiring!

You can click on the link to view the story on Debbie's website, or read below!

Hi Everyone! 

I love sharing my experiences with people who ask me how I stay healthy! I was recently approached by a long time fan, Tamara, on Twitter asking me about my opinions on weight loss and nutrition. Something about her made an impact on me, as she asked very intelligent and thorough questions. I KNEW this girl was SERIOUS about making changes in her life! I decided to bring her to the attention of Dr. Rutledge. Upon hearing about her strong will to lead a healthier lifestyle, he decided to help guide her in her journey. When I asked him what he would recommend for someone with Tamara’s health problems, he suggested the “Better Than Lipo” Plan with his nurse, Teri, guiding Tamara daily.
I thought it would be super cool and beneficial to all who are reading this if Tamara herself gave you all insight as to what it was like to go through this life changing process! So…we are presenting Tamara’s diary of her journey thus far on this site, and she will continue to post blogs regularly.
Unbeknownst to many, my weight range has fluctuated over 25 lbs in my adult life!
I will share my very personal journey about how I’ve gotten off of all medications, and how I have become free of food addiction in the coming weeks. But, right now take a look at Tamara’s kickoff to this life changing program! Follow and support her on her journey !!!!
Here’s an entry from Tamara’s personal blog:
My name is Tamara.  Deborah and I had been exchanging brief messages through Twitter and one day, I noticed fans were asking how she stays so fit and if she had any suggestions for them.  I then reached out to her with the same question, because I was at a point where I wanted to lose weight and it seemed like whenever I tried to, nothing would work.  I have high cholesterol and I just knew, I was finally at that place in my mind where I was ready to really DO something, once and for all.  We wrote back and forth and she came up with an idea.  If I were willing to commit myself 100% to this diet/program and blog along the way, they would let me do it all for free. After much thought, researching and talking it over with my fiance, I knew it was what I wanted; it was right for me, it was safe and most of all I was ready.  I want to be healthier.
My fiance, Deborah, Dr. Rutledge and his team have been such an amazing support for me as I’m going through this. I’m learning that I don’t need to eat a full plate of food to be full. I don’t need to have ‘meat, potatoes and a veggie’ to be healthy.  I’m learning to eat until I’m satisfied, which happens much quicker than I ever would have thought.  I’m still learning, I’m still losing weight and I’m still getting healthy. It’s not all because of this program, but this program is what’s helping me realize all of those things and more.  I know that if I can do this – someone who hates diets – anyone can do it, if you are ready to fully commit yourself.
I’m already proud of where I’ve gotten and where I’m going and I have Deborah Gibson to thank for that. Her kindness is amazing and I will be forever grateful to her, Dr. Rutledge and his staff. They didn’t have to do this for me; but they wanted to out of the goodness of their hearts and that means the world to me.
I’ve never been a big dieter.  In fact, I hate it.  I’ve noticed that, with me, whenever I purposely try to lose weight, I can’t.  I don’t.  I’ll usually actually gain weight instead.  And it seems whenever I don’t try to lose weight, then I do.  It gets quite frustrating.
I have Cerebral Palsy and was always told by my doctor growing up, that if I ever weighed over 105 lbs, I wouldn’t be able to walk because my legs wouldn’t be able to handle the extra weight.  Well, I’ve certainly went past that amount by over 20 pounds and I’m still walking.  But now as I’m getting older, I wonder if maybe my balance would be somewhat better, if I lost weight.  (Balance is something I struggle with, due to the CP).
I don’t smoke, I don’t drink – other than the occasional cocktail, beer or glass of wine – and last year at my annual exam, my doctor told me I have high cholesterol.  Very high cholesterol for someone my age.  When I got the total number, it scared me.  BIG TIME.  My doctor’s given me a year to try to lose weight to hopefully bring my cholesterol level down, so that I don’t have to take any medications; which I really don’t want to do.  In April of this year, I go back to the doctor and I hope to be given good news.  Along with high cholesterol, I also suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Sometimes the pain becomes so severe, that I’ll be in tears, can barely walk and will be in the bathroom for 3-5 hours (really not fun, especially when it kicks in at 1am).  It’s gotten to the point where my fiancé has called the E.R., but all they do is laugh at him when he tells them my symptoms.  I’m frustrated.  I’m tired of the pain and I want to lose weight – and keep it off – once and for all.
I’m proud to say that I am determined to finally make that change; to finally lose weight and keep it off.  To (hopefully) naturally lower my cholesterol and hopefully ease my IBS symptoms.  Tomorrow morning, I am starting a new diet.  It’s stricter than most, but I don‘t think it will be unbearable.  I’ll be taking natural supplements and digestive enzymes along the way.  I have a lot of support from my fiancé (who will also be doing some of the diet with me), family and friends.  I feel different about it this time.  I WANT to do this.  I WANT to learn a healthier way of eating, to begin a new lifestyle with eating.  I’m EXCITED!!!  I want to have a permanent, healthier me.  The “me” I know I’m truly meant to be and I know I can do it.  I’m a little nervous about how my sensitive stomach might react to all the changes, but I’m willing and ready to roll with the punches.
I feel that this is a new chapter in my life with my fiancé and I’m very curious to see how it all turns out in a few weeks.
Bring on tomorrow!!!
Feb. 15th, 2013 – Day One.
I didn’t sleep very well last night, but that’s nothing new, since I often have insomnia and am a very light sleeper in general.  Surprisingly though, when my fiancé woke me up at 8:30 this morning, I felt fairly good.  I think a lot of it is/was nerves and excitement knowing that today was finally “thee day” and just the unknown as to how my body will react to all these changes.  After about a month of researching, talking the diet over with my fiancé, talking to Nurse Teri (who is extremely nice; very down to earth and I feel very comfortable with her – which is very important to me) and just getting in the right mindset; day one of my diet has officially begun.
I weighed myself first thing this morning:  128.4.  This diet, or maybe I should say “lifestyle change”, is supposed to last anywhere from 4-6 weeks for me, approximately.  I guess it all depends on how quickly I get to my goal weight.  I don’t have a huge amount to lose, but I have enough and I look forward to seeing – and feeling – the changes.
Next thing, I took my BTL all natural capsules on an empty stomach, which is what Teri recommended for me.  That is what I will do every morning while on this diet, after I weigh myself and before anything else.  Thank goodness they are all coated and kind of like gel caps, otherwise I would’ve had a heck of a time.  (I don’t do well with swallowing large pills)  Then breakfast.  I’m not always a big breakfast person.  A lot of it depends on how my stomach feels in the morning.  Thanks to my IBS, I tend to have a very sensitive stomach first thing in the morning and so a lot of times I’ll just drink some water for “breakfast”.  But, I have decided that is going to change.  I am going to eat breakfast of some sort, from now on, regardless how my stomach is making me feel.  So, today I had half a grapefruit with Stevia on top.  My fiancé got it ready for me:  He had half and I had the other half.  While eating each meal and/or snack, I am to take a digestive enzyme:  One at breakfast, if I only have fruit (but 2 if I have eggs), two at lunch and supper and one with snack (if I have a snack).  The digestive enzymes will supposedly eventually help my IBS symptoms.  I’m still a little skeptical about it, since nothing has ever worked for me in the past.  But I’m willing to try anything at this point, so we will see how it goes.  I ate half of the half of grapefruit, took my digestive enzyme and finished the remainder of the grapefruit.  It was very refreshing (and extremely juicy – lol) and surprisingly, I felt good after eating it.  (And I ate it in a bowl, so I had some juice to enjoy at the end too!)
For lunch I enjoyed a 4 oz pan cooked salmon filet (I can have up to 6 oz of protein at lunch and supper) seasoned with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.  I put that on top of fresh spinach that I dressed with a mixture of lemon juice, white vinegar, water, salt, pepper, chopped cilantro, dried basil and garlic powder.  And 3 sourdough melba toasts on the side.  It was a very delicious, and surprisingly quite filling, meal.
Supper was also delicious.  My fiancé made us boneless, skinless chicken breasts with garlic, oregano and basil and a side of steamed green beans.  I was so full towards the end of the meal, that I had a hard time finishing the beans.  I’ve also noticed that not only have our meals been healthy, but they look pretty too!
I’m allowed one snack in the day, but I don’t think I’m going to need it.  I’m not a big snacker anyway and right now, I’m quite content and satisfied.  J
So…  so far, I feel good.  I’ve noticed that my stomach has been doing some “flip-flops” a little bit here and there, but I’m not going to say it’s because of the digestive enzymes.  It’s too early to tell; and even if it is, I’m sure it will get better as the weeks go by and as my body adjusts.  More than likely, it is a combination of everything:  bad sleep, nerves, maybe the capsules and maybe even the coffee I’m drinking right now that is sweetened with Stevia (which isn’t too bad, since I’m definitely a cream and sugar in my coffee kinda girl).  So, I’ll keep my eye on how my stomach is throughout the day; and the days and weeks to come.  Tonight I’ll be taking some “Night Kaps”, in hopes that they will help me sleep.  I can take one or two.  I’ll take just one at first and see how that goes.  I’m skeptical, but hopeful, because I’ve never had the best luck with sleeping pills.  They usually tend to do the exact opposite; it’s like I just downed a load  of caffeine instead and am up all night (but am drowsy at the same time.  Yeah, it’s a weird combination lol)  Oh how I hope it works, because it’s been quite a long time since I remember truly having a full night’s sleep.  Dreamland, here I come (and hopefully without any interruptions)…
Feb. 16th – Day Two
So, dreamland without interruptions didn’t quite happen last night.  I’m not all that surprised, because like I mentioned before, sleeping aids never seem to work for me.  But, I’m going to give it another shot and take two of them tonight and see what happens.  I noticed as I was trying to go to sleep last night, I had a bit of a stomach ache.  I’m not sure what it is related to, but I’m keeping my eye on it.  Hopefully that will pass soon.
On to better news!  My weight today is 126.4!  So I’ve lost 2 pounds overnight!  I’ve been told this can happen when first starting the diet.  It was a pleasant surprise to actually see it on my scale this morning, because I didn’t want to have any expectations.  So that was a great feeling.  Something is working.  J
I didn’t get ready as quickly this morning, so I skipped breakfast and also skipped my breakfast digestive enzyme; but of course, took my 5 BTL on an empty stomach as recommended.  I have been told I don’t have to eat breakfast if I don’t want to, and since I need to allow at least 3 hours between each digestive enzyme intake, I decided the best thing to do was to just wait until lunch, since my fiancé and I tend to eat lunch before noon.  The menu for lunch today:  scrambled egg whites with salt, pepper and garlic with a side of cucumbers seasoned with salt and pepper.  I love eggs, but I’m not a big egg white person.  So I knew this was going to be MY personal “challenge”, if you will.  I miss my runny yolks, but I’ll live.  The egg whites really weren’t all that bad, it will just take some getting used to.  This is all about change and acquiring new tastes and I’m totally up for that.  I’ve always been open to trying new foods.  (Even though yes, I know egg whites aren’t “new”, but eating just them is “new” to me.)  **Found out a couple days later, that I can actually have whole eggs!!  So, runny egg yolks, here I come!!**  Our meal for supper was absolutely DELICIOUS.  My fiancé made chicken breasts seasoned with garlic, sea salt, pepper and cumin.  Very tasty!  I highly recommend that to anyone, regardless if you’re on a diet or not.  Definitely a new favorite.  We also had fresh spinach topped with strawberries (a handful for me, as that would also count as my “snack” for the day) and our yummy cilantro vinaigrette.  Very tasty and filling meal, if I do say so myself.  My honey sure knows his spices!
So, I mentioned in my “Intro” that I suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I’m going to focus on that while periodically while writing this blog.  I’m sure there are plenty of people reading this who suffer from it as well; or something close to it.  I’ve had IBS for about 11 years now and, to put it bluntly, it sucks.  I’ve learned throughout the years, that digestive issues like mine are far more common than I’ve realized, but yet, no one wants to talk about it.  And of course, who wants to talk about what happens in the bathroom?  It’s certainly not that most comfortable conversation to have; but if my blog will help some people, especially those who are considering doing this program and have stomach issues, I‘m gonna go there and talk about it.  I’ve tried so many of the different OTC medications suggested by my doctor, but none of them work.  In fact, most of them make my symptoms worse.  There are various forms of IBS and I usually have IBS-D (with diarrhea), with occasional constipation.  For me, it seems like anything can be a trigger, especially stress and lack of sleep.  Sometimes my IBS is fine.  No symptoms whatsoever.  And sometimes, I’ll eat something and be fine, but then I’ll eat it again, and the IBS shows up.  It’s SO frustrating.  Yesterday I had my first phone call consultation with Dr. Rutledge (who is very friendly and easy to talk to, as well – too bad all doctor’s can’t be like that!) and at one point during the conversation, we focused on my IBS.  He told me that that  will be his  personal goal for me; not just weight loss, but getting rid of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome and MAN, am I looking forward to THAT.  I pray that it finally happens, once and for all.  So while I’m on this diet, I’ll be paying close attention every day as to how my body, specifically my bowels, are responding to everything that is happening.  So far I’ve been experiencing slight bloatedness and a little diarrhea, which seem to happen after I take the digestive enzymes; especially after breakfast (if I eat breakfast) and lunch specifically.  Nurse Teri told me the digestive enzymes will help and that it will take some time for the enzymes to work themselves out, since the body’s getting used to getting more veggies and such; so I’m going to just continue to keep my eye on it, take them as directed and just be patient.  It’s definitely nothing unbearable and nothing I can’t handle, which in itself is a nice change.  I also had a surprise conversation with Deborah Gibson during that same phone call and it just feels so good to know she’s in my corner.  Knowing she was also doing this program at one point and knows what I’ll be going through, is just very comforting.  I’ve been a fan of hers since I was 13 years old (so, for 25 years) loll and Deborah is just so down to earth and relatable, that I felt like I was talking to a friend.  Such a super cool thing.  I’m so thankful that she and Dr. Rutledge are giving me this wonderful opportunity.  I truly am very grateful.
Feb. 17th – Day Three
Today I lost a half a pound.  I weigh 125.8.  I’ve been told an individual’s weight loss while on this can fluctuate from a ½ pound to 1 pound daily.  I’ll admit, I was hoping to see another 2 lbs gone, but I’m happy to just be losing weight in general and knowing that I’m doing it the healthy way and not depriving myself of food, like so many “diets” do.
Even though I’m still in the early stages of the program, today is the first day I feel run down and kind of “blah”.  Not tired (even though those 2 Night Kaps still didn’t really do any good, but I’m going to continue taking them as Dr. Rutledge recommends – thank goodness they are all natural and non-habit forming), just “blah”.  You know what I mean.  It’s almost as if I don’t have any energy.  It could be because I need to crank it up on my water intake today (I was a bit of a slacker in that department yesterday, with only 4 ½ glasses instead of 6.  I discovered 6 of my tall glass equals 2 liters of water, which suggested amount at least), so maybe I’m feeling a bit dehydrated.  It could also be that I’m going through a detox, if you will, from sugar.  I’ve never had a huge sweet tooth; although I do have my moments and I LOVE my chocolate – and I’m not a huge pop fanatic; although I go through my phases with that too.  My thing is having sugar and flavored creamer in my coffee.  Or going to the coffee shops and getting, what my Grandma always called a “fancy drink”, you know the ones…  loaded with caramel, chocolate or some flavored syrup, espresso, whole milk, whipped cream; not to mention calories, but OH SO GOOD.  (Wow, my mouth  almost started drooling for a minute there loll.)  Anyways, I don’t use a ton of sugar or flavored creamer in my coffee, but enough to probably be making me go through some sort of withdrawal.  It’s fun.  loll  I hope I feel better tomorrow.
Feb. 20th – Day Five
So, I’m on the 5th day of this program and so far, I’ve lost a total of 4.8 pounds!!  I noticed yesterday that my middle area (aka “the love handles“) is slowly starting to slim down.  I haven’t seen that in a very long time and it sure is welcomed!  I have to say, I’m quite proud of myself. J
I’m still  having sleepless nights, despite taking two Night Kaps a half hour before bedtime; but I continue to take them as Teri told me it will take a few days for them to reset my body.  I hope it happens soon; I’m REALLY looking forward to finally getting a good night’s sleep for the first time in months (although, I’ve been suffering from insomnia for years now).  So unfortunately in the mornings, I’m pretty tired and feel a little run down.  But as the day goes on, I feel better.
My IBS symptoms have started to improve since my last blog entry, which is very impressive.  It’s a nice feeling to be able to run errands around town and not worry about needing to use the bathroom along the way.  So, there are definitely improvements happening in that department.  I’m looking forward to seeing the trend continue.
Feb. 21st – Day Six
I weighed myself this morning and I only lost 4 oz.  I’m now exactly 122 lbs.  I will admit, I was disappointed to see that number, since I’ve been so “spoiled” with my weight loss since the beginning of doing this program.  But then Teri reassured me that I’m doing very well with my weight loss and reminded me that not every day is going to be a one or two pound weight loss.  I guess I was getting a little “weight loss greedy”.  I’m just happy I’m losing weight in general.  Period.
So, in my “intro blog”, I mentioned that I have very high cholesterol, especially for someone my age, which is my main reason for doing this diet/program.  Dr. Rutledge suggested I put those numbers in my blog and I’m going to do just that.
As of 3/12/12:

Some of the reasons behind my cholesterol levels is probably genetic, since I have a family history of it on both sides.  If that is the case, some of it cannot be lowered.  Dr. Rutledge said this program may actually lower my cholesterol levels (those that can be lowered), as it’s done that for some of his patients in the past.  Soon I am due for my annual exam and at that time I will request to have another test done to check the levels.  When I get the results, I will post them here to compare.  I’m extremely curious to see if they have gone down.  I’m really praying they are.
Feb. 26th – Day 10
Today hasn’t been the best of days.  Sunday morning, I got down to 120.6 lbs. I was so excited!  I was even able to fit into a pair of jeans that have been pretty tight for quite a while.  (Not fit perfectly in to them, but definitely a lot more comfortably.)  I was so happy!  Then Monday morning came and my weight was exactly 121.  Now today my weight is 121.4.  So, I’ve gained almost one pound back.  I’m bummed and confused, since I’ve been doing everything right; eating what I’m supposed to, drinking as much water as I’m supposed to, taking all my supplements, etc.  But I also am PMS’ing right now and so I’m wondering if maybe that has something to do with it.  Whatever the reason, it’s still not something a person wants to see on the scale after working so hard and doing the right things to lose weight.  I’m trying not to be discouraged, but I am.  I’m hoping once my body is done retaining water, or whatever is going on, I will get right back on track.  I guess everyone hit’s a set back every once in a while, while dieting.
Feb. 28th – Day 13
Well, I’m definitely doing better today than my last entry and I’m not ‘down’ anymore.  My weight today is 120.6.  Even though I “gained” a bit, I’m ok with it.  The best part of my day, however, actually happened last night (if that makes sense).  For the first time in months, I had a very good and restful night’s sleep.  I mean, months.  I honestly can’t even remember the last time.  I think it’s a combination of a few things:  The two Night Kaps I take every night, the magnesium pill I’ve been taking for the past few days and most definitely, our new bed.  It’s amazing how just something like that can make a difference.  But honestly, I think it’s a combination of all those.  I’ve read about people taking the Night Kaps and feeling “rejuvenated and refreshed” the next morning and quite honestly, I was beginning to have my doubts.  But finally, it happened and I couldn’t be happier.  Now I’m actually looking forward to going to sleep tonight!!
March 1st – Day 14
I’m learning how I don’t need to eat an entire plate of food to be full and I’m also learning that I don’t need to eat to be full; only satisfied.  I’ve always been a big eater, ever since I was a child.  I live in the Midwest and my family has always been taught the “3 must have’s” at supper:  Meat (usually beef), vegetable and potatoes.  I love my potatoes and I’ll admit, I miss them right now.  But I’m also learning I don’t need to eat like that all the time.  Enjoying a meal like that every once in a while I’m sure will be fine, once I’m at my goal weight and no longer on this program (in moderation, of course), but it’s not a necessity.  I’m also noticing that my tastes are slowly changing…  but not necessarily for the better quite yet.  lol  My favorite meat by FAR is chicken.  The main protein in our diet right now is chicken, fish and eggs.  I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting sick of chicken.  But I’m realizing it’s not the chicken, it’s the spices.  We’re a little limited to the types of spices we can use on this diet, because a lot of the ones we used before, all had sugar in them (who knew?), but today we went grocery shopping and picked up some curry.  Hopefully that will spice things up and make chicken taste better to me again.
I’m also noticing how I’m currently wanting everything I’m not supposed to have right now.  I want pizza, chocolate, cheese, bread, pasta, peanut butter, cream and sugar in my coffee, etc.  But I’m also noticing that almost as quickly that I want these things, the craving starts to go away (but not the longing for cream and sugar in my coffee lol).  So I guess that means it’s all in my head.  It’s what my head wants; not necessarily my stomach.
And since I’m talking about food, I have to share this.  So, the best thing that happened today was that my fiancé and I decided to treat ourselves to filet mignon.  (Yes, that is actually something we are allowed to eat while on the program!)  We’ve never gotten it before, because it’s spendy, but we really wanted a break from the chicken and fish.  And let me tell you, that steak was GOOD.  It’s amazing how “melt in your mouth goodness” can taste (that‘s what my fiancé said), especially when you haven’t had red meat in so long.  He  cooked it absolutely perfectly and I think it was a good way for us to recharge our batteries, so to speak.  I sure am a lucky girl.  He’s so amazing and an awesome cook – especially when it comes to steak!  J  I think it’s a safe bet that we might be getting filet mignon again sometime, maybe once we get down to a certain weight or something, as another treat.  Sure, it was expensive and not something we’d usually buy for ourselves, but man, it was totally worth it and something we definitely needed.  J
March 4th – Day 16
So,  I’ve been on this program for almost three weeks now and for about a week, I was stuck at 120 lbs.  Well, I am very pleased to say that I have finally broken that “trend” and as of this morning, I am officially 119.2!!  It’s been years since I’ve been in the teens and I’m so excited and proud of myself!  My goal weight is becoming even closer!!
Yesterday my mom and I went to our local bridal fair and I was definitely tested.  I walked past all the booths offering free samples of their food without a second glance, even though it smelled and looked delicious.  Later,  I was at my parents’ house for a while and when I went in to the kitchen to get a glass of water, there on the counter was a box of Girl Scout cookies.  And not just any GS cookies, but my absolute favorite – Samoas.  (You know, the chocolate, caramel and coconut ones?  Yeah, those.)  If I wanted to, I could have opened that box and popped an entire cookie in my mouth.  But I didn’t and even though I really wanted to, I didn’t want to at the same time.  I knew I didn’t need it and I knew that my body didn’t need it.  If I want to continue to stay on track and get to my goal weight, I have to continue to make small sacrifices, even if that means passing up a free food sample or a cookie.  I know it’s not like I’m never going to be able to enjoy those things again, just not right at this moment and yesterday, I was ok with that.

They all fit.

Posted by B Merrick On Saturday, June 26, 2010 0 comments

In March of 2009, just a little over a year ago, I started my first "professional/business attire" job in thirteen years. To clarify, I have worked in movie production all of those years and while my jobs have always been professional, well, let's just say, when you spend most days on set in shorts, every day is casual Friday. But with the new job, came the daunting realization that I would not only have to dress nice, but actually, gulp, tuck in my shirt.

I drove myself to Kmart for a new pair of slacks. Kmart and JC Penny, I have to say have been very good to me these last few years. They really are the only two stores that carry affordable "big men's" clothing and do it with some actual style. I was, up until that day, in total and complete denial about my increasing weight. I knew I was feeling heavier. I knew I was looking heavier in photos (so I just stopped appearing in them) and I knew none of my clothes were fitting. But I also knew I refused to make myself feel bad again and put myself on a diet. I had tortured myself enough with that for years.

So in disbelief with a heavy scent of denial, I bought a pair of slacks with a 48-inch waist. They were snug, but they fit "like they were supposed to". Meaning, I could tuck in my shirt and I wouldn't have that horrible red ring around my waist where the pants had spent the day strangling my body.

If you can imagine it, I still didn't set foot into Jenny Craig for another two months after that day (and a few more pairs of pants). My Jenny Craig journey is another story for another day, but suffice to say, while I lost some weight last year, I also found some weight. I started this year off with the same looming predicament. Since April, I have been on this program and it has been paying off in dividends. Freedom from food addiction. Freedom from bad choices. Freedom from the "big men's" department.

And today, I wanted to share all of this, because as I get ready for my birthday drinks this evening, I have been frustrated lately with the way my clothes have been fitting. While I have taken off 62 pounds since the day in the Kmart dressing room, I still have another 80 to go until I am where I belong. It would be silly to waste money on temporary clothes on my way down (in spite of how many clothes I bought that became temporary on the way up), but last night I was walking through the mall and Old Navy was doing everything short of escorting me into their store with all of their banners for their "Everything is 30% Off Sale".

So I went in thinking, it would be nice to have a pair of jeans that fit. I have been happy in recent months to be back down to a 42. Lately, I have been squeezing into some of my old size 40s. Last night, I grabbed a 40, and still, it was too big. I inhaled and thought, well, it's been about 6 years, but it is worth a shot. I tried on a 38. I couldn't believe it. They fit! Thinking maybe it was just that cut, I grabbed a couple of other pairs. THEY ALL FIT.

I only bought one pair of jeans and a nice pair of linen pants (seriously, you can't believe this sale). I didn't want to overdo it because I don't plan to fit in them for long, The day I hit a 36 will be a monumental day. I haven't been that thin since 1993!

I am going to do it. With confidence. With love. Out of respect for myself. And I just can't wait!

Day 52 - Empowerment

Posted by B Merrick On Monday, May 31, 2010 0 comments

One of the feelings I'm enjoying these days is the empowerment to know that I am doing this. When I began the program, I remember feeling like I was giving over my power to take control of my health and eating to Dr. Rutledge. I knew I had to give it to somebody because I obviously couldn't be trusted with it.

In spite of him saying repeatedly, "I'll commit to you when you're ready to commit to you", I wasn't seeing the forest through the trees. I was just seeing a really strong tree in front of me that was helping me hold up my overweight branches.

But he was right. While he was my crutch to get me to commit and begin my healing (for I do now fully believe that to go on a diet is not to punish or restrict, but to heal and mend the poor choices and ways you've disregarded your body), I was the one doing the healing work.

Imagine breaking your leg. The doctor comes in and aligns your bones and sets it into a cast. He also gives you a pair of crutches. For the next six to eight weeks you will be in contact with that doctor as he monitors your healing and your progress. But does he "fix" your broken bone? Of course not. You do. By being gentle with yourself. Taking your time. Listening to your body and what it needs, not what it wants. And as your leg mends, the doctor continues to push you and encourage you with exercises to regain your strength. But is your doctor the one walking on the treadmill and eventually running to make it strong? No, it's you. It's all up to you.

He's not a shoe repairman that you take your broken heel to and say, "call me when it's ready". This is a process of healing and involves the far-to-often taken-for-granted natural abilities of our bodies.

As I sit here typing this today, I'm overwhelmed at the idea that I am the one responsible for my healing. For making the right choices in the last 52 days that has taken 54 pounds off of my body. Talk about motivation to continue. When you find it within your own heart, you are unstoppable.

None of this is to take away from the invaluable importance of Dr. Rutledge and the BTL program. When you break your leg, you don't just ice it and duct tape a stick to your leg. You get the required and appropriate help from your doctor. He commits to you, that he will do his part to ease the pain and get you realigned, but only after you reached out to him and continually so during the process. It is a collaborative team effort with the work load riding on your own shoulders.

Do you know how empowering it is to know that the work is on my shoulders and that I don't need to depend on the doctor or anyone else to make better choices for myself?

I still have 82 pounds to go, but I've never known such confidence that it is only a matter of time until I get there. I now fully understand what it means to commit to myself and I am thankful to have the doctor and this program just as committed to my recovery.

Day 31 - Inspired un-Honey Mustard Salad

Posted by B Merrick On Tuesday, May 11, 2010 0 comments

I never thought I would hear my self say these words, but I am actually enjoying the process of losing weight. We all love the concept of losing weight and we all love the part where our clothes fit and we like what we see in the mirror. But how often do you find yourself saying, "this is fun restricting my calories and depriving myself of that bag of chips"? I realize depriving may be a strong word, but that's what it feels like when in these situations because it is never fun dieting. If it was, we wouldn't be in this situation!

That being said, I am at 298 pounds. I am, for the first time in nearly four years, under 300 pounds. More importantly, I am 49 pounds lighter than I was a year ago and I am feeling it. What I am not feeling is crazy, deprived, starving, stressed out or mad at myself for having gotten so fat. This is huge, especially that last one. And I wouldn't be able to feel that if I weren't so suddenly confident that I am getting fully in control of my adult food and weight issues.

After a full month of being on the program (and a total loss of 39 pounds in said time), I wanted to share a new recipe that I tried today. It is still a little rough around the edges, so there is room for improvement, but it is definitely close!

Inspired by a Frisee salad I saw in a magazine, I created a mustard dressing inspired by one of my personal favorites, Honey Mustard. Since we obviously can't use honey, I used a dropper of stevia. It is NOT the same, but it definitely works for something new on the palette.

Dressing (in my Cooks 5-In-1 of course):

2 TBL Yellow Mustard
1 Garlic clove
1 dropper of Stevia (I used liquid, but I am sure you could use one packet dry)
2 TBL water (optional depending on your love for mustard and spice)
1 dash cinnamon

I tossed the dressing over shredded lettuce (I am sure it would work great on shredded cabbage or another lettuce of your choice as well including fresh spinach). I then added one serving of egg white on top. Now let me share with you my trick that I finally came up with for cooking good egg whites in the absence of a shell or oil.

I take a small ramekin and place it on my scale and pour in exactly 100grams of egg whites (I found brands of egg whites at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods that have no fillers in them. Be sure and check the ingredients on the egg whites if you decide not to crack them yourself). Then in a small pot, I add about 3/4 of an inch of water (make sure it is well below the lip of your ramekin so that it doesn't boil into the ramekin once it gets cooking (another mistake learned)). I then put on the lid and leave them on the stove over a medium flame until the egg whites are cooked all the way through (it does take 10 to 15 minutes since you want to slow cook them, very different than frying an egg).

I am happy to say I have perfected them this way and they are a good protein that really sticks with you for the afternoon. And over the mustard salad... perfection! Let me know if you try it and if you make any changes!

Changing it up with Kale - Day 20

Posted by B Merrick On Thursday, April 29, 2010 0 comments

Today is my official Day 20. If you thought I was being creative on the first week with my limited vegetable options, imagine how I am feeling today!

To avoid another afternoon of spinach or cucumbers, I decided to give kale a try. There was a great kale salad I made right before I started the program (what, you thought I didn't eat healthy before I started? No, I ate healthy. I also ate fried foods and sauces and cheeses. I ate EVERYTHING!). The salad I had made before was inspired by one my vegetarian friend and chef had suggested and another I had enjoyed from the deli of Whole Foods.

photo courtesy

It was simple. I kept the kale raw and marinated it in some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and tossed it with some fresh chopped *apples and a small bag of tropical dried fruit. Because kale is such a sturdy leaf, it doesn't wilt like lettuce, which typically doesn't keep beyond its initial serving once it's been tossed. But with Kale, I tossed it and stuck it in a large zip lock bag, which after about 2 days was perfect and only got better FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK. So once you find yourself reunited with olive oil and dried fruit, I suggest giving that one a try. The sweet from the fruit cuts the slight bitterness of the kale and you'll feel good knowing you are getting its full nutrients (which they say is one of the best leafy greens for you).

That being said, I decided to come up with something kale related while on BTL and I'm ready to share my first experience.

For starters, I steamed the kale this time (although I am thinking next time I may try the marinated version. Just like with spinach, I think I prefer the raw crunch to the soggy steamed). While the kale was steaming, I got out my Cooks 5-in-1 (the more common version is the Magic Bullet and I will say magic is right, this thing has saved me on this program) and threw in the ingredients from Teri's BTL Salad Dressing:

The juice of one lemon
A splash of red wine vinegar
A splash of water
Sea Salt

and then because I had it, I threw in some fresh basil leaves and 2 stevia packets (similar in size to a Sweet N Low packet). Then I whipped it till it was frothy. Drained the leaves (even though they were steamed and not boiled, the leaves collected a lot of water). Once drained, I tossed it in the dressing.

This is one incredibly hardy vegetable! For those still looking to satisfy your oral cravings, imagine being lead out to the field and spending the afternoon chewing grass. That might not sound quite as appealing as I had intended, but imagine for a moment you're a horse. Now doesn't that grass thing seem appealing?

The stems remind me of chewing on a broccoli spear, the texture has a crisp chewiness (not in a bad way, but more of a really put your mouth to work way, which that first week of BTL would've been great!) and refreshingly fragrant thanks to all of the basil.

I will say, you won't need that much, but if you are still breaking through the psychology of "I only get this one meal, so I am going to stuff it with as much as possible", then make a whole pot. But believe me, you will find it quite satisfying. And because of the many flavor sensations (the tart lemon, the sweetness, the nuttiness of the "broccoli") and the chewing, I'd be surprised if you didn't agree, that this is one "satisfying" vegetable.

*if you are wondering, the apple keeps from browning thanks to the lemon juice!