Hoping to Breathe Easier

Just finished walking my mile-o’-the-day on my treadmill upstairs. 54 days and counting! My new running shoes arrived yesterday – gonna break them in tomorrow I think. Pretty obnoxious and bright, huh? I love it!


Today I weighed in at Scottsdale Weight Loss and also saw Dr. Ziltzer. Every time I visit that place, either for a class or doctor visit, I leave with a renewed sense of both accomplishment and energy. I always pick up some bit of information, suggestion, or thought that carries over until my next visit. Today’s visit with Dr. Z was great. First, we celebrated an 80 pound weight loss as of today. I lost 5.5 pounds over 2 weeks even after switching to the partial meal plan. I’ll take that! My medical assistant, Jamie, also emailed me my “before” Optifast photos. Oh.my.goodness. Shocking. I will share them here, because they are part of my journey. I love the difference – that is about it.

Kaiser, Martha Before 1 Kaiser, Martha Before 2


As usual, we talked about my running progress. I told him I wanted to get my mile down faster before proceeding with 5K distance running. He started to explain to me about interval training and that my legs would be sore…etc. etc. and I stopped him and told him that my legs were absolutely not the problem – it was my cardio, more specifically, my breathing. I have long harbored this feeling that there is something wrong with me cardiovascular-ly. I told him that as long as I have been at this, running a mile should not be so hard. Now, it is significantly easier 80 pounds lighter … and I am able to run a full mile now … but it is slow and I’m still very out of breath when done. I also told him that I have had this cold for over a month and that I’m coughing like crazy (although it seems to be somewhat better). He made me get up on the exam table and he listened to my lungs for a bit. Then he told me what I already knew but had not really thought about for 30 years – I most likely have exercise induced asthma (along with some allergy issues – not a month-long cold). I was told that as a child but since I never had any serious asthma attacks, I never saw an allergy or asthma specialist – it was all handled by my pediatrician or primary care doctor. I’ve had albuterol inhalers off and on my whole life. They usually expire and never get used properly. He told me it was time to go to a specialist and get this figured out. He said he didn’t know for sure but he doubted that there was anything wrong with my heart due to the testing they had already done before and during starting on Optifast. So, I have a renewed sense of wanting to look into this. For years I attributed my complete lack of endurance on my weight (which I’m sure played a very large part) but I have to remember that even as a super skinny and fit high school basketball player, this was an issue. I could never keep up with my teammates – except one other girl that also had exercise induced asthma. We would almost always hit the wall about the same time. Anyway, he gave me a few referrals and I’m excited to look into this. I would love to be able to run longer and longer. I hope that is in my future. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone in Phoenix seems to be suffering from out-of-the-blue allergy issues right now so I’m guessing I’ll be on a loooong waitlist!

Yesterday I was really looking forward to taking a class on transition taught by Lisa Galper – one of my favorite psychologists that teaches the Optifast classes. Unfortunately, I didn’t double-check my calendar and was *sure* the class was at 12:30. So, at about 11:30 I was looking at the schedule on my phone and realized the class was at 11:15. Soooo bummed. I don’t think she’ll teach that one for at least another month. Oh well. I have taken that class already, but it was taught by someone else….I just really wanted to hear what Dr. Galper had to say. I think I was a little justified in being a complete space cadet yesterday though…we had to get my son up at THREE AM(!) to get ready to leave for the airport. He had to be at the ticket counter 4:30 AM(!) to catch a flight with his 6th grade class to LAX. They then took a bus to the port and took a ferry to Catalina Island to spend the rest of the week at the Catalina Island Marine Istitute. There are parent chaperones posting pictures and Facebook updates frequently so we (the parents still back home) can see what the kids are up to. They have been snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, dissecting squid, learning about marine biology, having s’mores on the beach – it doesn’t get much more fun than that! They are freezing though since it has chilled off quite a bit in soCal the last few days. I even saw a picture of my son wearing both a jacket and sweatpants at the same time. He pretty much has spent the entire winter in shorts and a t-shirt – even walking to school on some pretty darn cold/freezing mornings dressed like that. Anyway, I bring all this up because I really wanted to go on the trip as a parent chaperone but, 80 pounds ago – when the chaperone applications were due, I was too embarrassed and too large to want to put on a swimsuit/wetsuit in front of his friends (parent chaperones are required to fully participate). I have passed on this opportunity now for 2 kids but I have one more that will go on the trip in a couple of years – I hope to share the experience with her.

IMG_3270Yesterday I continued working on organizing my closet and sorting through clothes that don’t fit any more because they are way too big. I had 2 large bags when I was finished and I decided to take them straight to Goodwill rather than hang onto them. I have a plastic tote with a few things that I haven’t figured out what to do with. I don’t necessarily want to keep them but some of the stuff is either really new or it pretty good condition – I was hoping to find someone that I know that could use some jeans, etc. rather than just dumping another bag at Goodwill.

I was going to share some of my challenges and experiences with the “partial” Optifast plan but that is a whole blog post in itself. Perhaps tomorrow….

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10 Responses to Hoping to Breathe Easier

  1. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Martha!!! You are my inspiration 🙂 I am only down 13 pounds and going into my 4th week.


  2. Kathy says:

    Hi Martha,

    You look amazing! Thanks for posting those updated pics. It’s so interesting how we attribute every problem we’re having to the weight, isn’t it? Doctors do it, too. I’m glad you’re going to look at what’s going on.


  3. Anonymous says:

    You look fantastic, and are truly an inspiration…a down to earth, realistic inspiration! 😉
    I love the new sneaks…very snazzy.


  4. Thank you for the very kind responses. It is weird hearing that I am an inspiration but I guess that is the point of having a public blog. I draw on inspiration from others and I’m flattered to hear that I am paying it forward a little.


  5. Amy says:

    So interesting about your breathing. I’ve always had that problem too – I just get so out of breath from climbing stairs or running. And every feb or so I get a month long cough. Got a chest X-ray last year and doc said lungs are fine. I’m really curious to hear what you find out – everyone just tells me it’s probably “lack of conditioning” but even when I worked out regularly with lots of cardio I still fel like my lungs would explode!


  6. Amy says:

    As for the clothes – how about taking them to a place like Buffalo Exchange or a consignment place. Get a little cash?


  7. I love the new sneakers! And the transformation pictures and the 1 mile streak are both very inspiring. I think (hope) I’ll have the opposite clothes concern as I get further into the Optifast program.. I have a huge bin (32 litre?) of clothing one and two sizes down. I have very few clothes now as I absolutely refuse to go up another size (silly, I know). I am excited to go ‘shopping’ in my bin, hopefully in the near future. I look forward to hearing how things turn out with the tests.


    • Thanks. I also had a huge bin (and part of a closet) full of clothes 1 and 2 sizes down so that really helped during the weight loss. Since I’m so tall, I didn’t change sizes very fast but it was nice to not really have to buy anything – especially when I was hoping I would just be using it temporarily. It was fun to “shop” in my bins – I found all kinds of stuff I intended to return and stuff with tags still on. There are a few of those things I can still wear but suddenly even those clothes were too small. I went from a 20W (sometimes 18@) – or XXL, 2X, 1X to a regular size 14 and size L. It is crazy to me that XL pants from a “regular” clothes department are too big now. 14 was my “goal size” and I have only bought a couple of pairs of jeans but they fit very nicely now. I wasn’t at the 20W very long before I *snapped* and started on Optifast so I don’t have a lot in that size. Best wishes – it is fun!!


  8. Saw the pics and my first reaction was to say “WOW” aloud! Your progress is so impressive and (yep) inspirational. Cute shoes too– both the sneaks and the sandals.

    I also had exercise-induced asthma when I was younger that I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to. Just found out last month that it’s turned into asthma asthma. I’m treating it daily now and it’s made a huge difference in normal day-to-day activities and exercise! Hope you get some answers soon.


    • Thanks! My asthma got better in my 20s and 30s but I’m glad I’m finally getting it checked out. We’ll see what happens. I hate to keep working so hard on cardio and not making much progress. Maybe that is just how it is going to be but I owe it to myself to treat it if possible.


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