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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels


It’s amusing to see people’s reactions when they see me after a long time? I look different as I have lost a lot of weight.   People ask me all the time how I lost weight.  I eat a lot of protein bars and drink protein shakes.  I significantly reduced my junk food intake - I was a junk foodaholic and yes, a wineaholic as well. A few years ago I was invited to a book launch for a book called The Secret of Skinny Chicks. I never read the book as I could sum it up in 1 sentence. Skinny chicks eat less and exercise more.

I have thought about this book so many times on my 17-month journey.  I simply eat less and a lot less! People tell me that I must have started exercising. I have always exercised.  Since 2000 I never skipped a week of 4 hours exercise; even when I broke my leg, I did weights on a bench.  My only exception was for a week after each Cesarean and by week two I was at least walking for exercise.  Even when traveling if I could not find appropriate exercise options I would do exercise in the hotel room using an app. If you know me I am pretty obsessive and skipping exercise was never an option. My problem was that the muscles that worked hardest were my stomach and mouth muscles.  They were always engaged in food consumption. When I did workout I used to always reward myself with way more calories than I burnt. So I do not attribute my weight loss to exercise.  The hard part about dieting is actually starting.  I started diets every Monday morning for 10 years. Facebook started tagging me as someone else - 25 years my senior and overweight.  It was a wake-up call.  I also realized I had been married almost 25 years and put on almost 25 kg.  I am happily married so I kept thinking what I would look like in another 15 years! Oy vey! I joke that we moved into a new place and the elevator is small with mirrors on all sides.  I would get a daily close up of myself and have to suppress a scream. Who was that person looking back at me? What was different this time?  Why was I more successful? I happened to read an article somewhere that spoke about changing habits. It spoke about WOOP,  a scientifically proven tool that helps us change our behaviors for the better and achieve our goals.

It stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.

I realized that I had a Wish to lose weight and I was clear that if I lost 25 kg then the Outcome would be Jodi 25 years earlier. I realized I always vaguely thought about the Obstacles such as how am I going to eat healthy or make healthy choices.  The reality was with my hectic life and busy social life I simply never went shopping for the right foods, I never cooked healthy options and then I would eat out and constantly eat more calories than I needed.  Simply input was more than output and weight creep just happened slowly but surely.  This is where the big "P" for Plan came in.  I knew I needed to do something different and I had heard from a few people about Optivia.  I knew from the first time I read about it that I probably could not keep their program but I realized their choice of convenience, kosher diet meals could be the Plan; Convenient low calorie & on the go food options.  I have lost 21 kg in 17 months.  It’s 1.2 kg /2.5 pounds a month.  Slow and steady weight loss plan of simply eating less.  We have a very active social life style and are out every single night.  I also need lots of wine to help me overcome my natural shyness when running events.  I happen to love good red wine and consider myself a foodie. So I had to find a formula that worked for me. My basic diet is as follows: ⁃       I watch myself during the day so I can eat and drink at night. ⁃       I eat every 3 hours regardless if I am hungry - it’s the idea of keeping an even metabolic rate. When I do eat it is a low calorie bar or a shake. I find the Premium Protein shakes 30 g protein, 160 calories and 5 g of sugar amazing and only $1.30 each.  I also find the Optivia bars and shakes very effective in controlling hunger but they are $3 each and more pricey.  I don’t follow Optivia diet but they are definitely the best meal replacements. Light weight and effective. ⁃       I always have a bar on me. I know that when I am hungry I never have any self-control to make a good food choice.  I have a bar in my Ulpan bag, in each color bag, in coat pockets and next to my bed for late night snacks. ⁃       I only sleep 4 hours a night so late night snacking was a huge issue.  I snack now on a bar or Optivia pretzels. ⁃       Traveling kosher has always been a challenge as we often are hungry or unsatisfied eating tuna and crackers and as a result we eat lots of junk food.  Now I have my protein bars and drinks and I avoid so many unnecessary calories. ⁃       I still drink wine but made a switch to drink vodka.  A vodka and soda has far less calories. ⁃       I have always been a big water drinker and I can easily drink 5 liters of water a day

-      If you are wondering how healthy are the bars and shakes and diet fueling, I believe they             have adequate vitamins and nutrients.  If you are replacing the foods I was eating like                   chocolate, borekas, croissants and lots of fried food- this is definitely a nutritional upgrade.   It took me to lose 10 kg or 22 pounds before a single person noticed. People ask if I feel healthier.  I don’t feel different. I do however feel that I ticked a goal with a big check mark.  I never threw out my thin clothes as I always said if I threw them out then I would give up on my hope of losing weight. Sadly many clothes were outdated but that’s OK.  I was happy to give them away for a reason other than them no longer fitting me.  I am however giving away my fat clothes as I never want to reverse my trend.

I am writing this blog to share my journey and hopefully help others but mostly I am hoping that you all keep me honest!!!!


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