The Clean-Up Crew

I've been watching a lot of Hoarders lately. Have you seen this show?

Oh, I was horrified by the first episode I saw, but then I felt a compulsion (irony?) to watch the entire series.

Every episode tells the story of two hoarders. It shows their frightening, weird, scary, unsanitary living conditions. You see interviews with the hoarders, who seem all but oblivious to "how bad it's gotten." Then A&E sends in a mental health professional and a clean-up crew to intervene. They spend a few days trying to get the houses back to livable conditions.

The worst, hardest part of each episode is when the hoarder is about halfway through the first day's clean-up. That's when they seem to come out of their delusional "I just collect things" or "It's not that bad, it's not actually dirty" states of denial and realize exactly what a giant heap of insanity they're living with. That realization is hard and uncomfortable and most of them don't deal with it very well.

I am not a hoarder, but I am very empathetic.

(Do you see where I'm going with this?)

The dietary changes I made starting in January were good ones. But if I am being honest -- bleh, and who likes to be this honest, really? -- the changes I've made are the equivalent of a hoarder deciding to "straighten up" their kitchen. It's just not enough: it's barely scratching the surface.

Yes, losing 8-10 pounds and then plateauing is an okay start. And it might be okay for long-term weight-loss, too. IF I were only trying to lose 15, 20, even 40 pounds.

But that kind of weight-loss is, I think, the equivalent of a hoarder who decides to dust or do the dishes. Sure, doing the dishes is a necessary part of cleaning a "messy" house. It's not the same for someone whose house is bursting at the seams.

For someone whose house is bursting at the seams, something drastic has to be done before you can worry about washing the dishes. The the clean-up crew has to come in and make big, sweeping, necessary, (even live-saving) changes first.

Well, and there it is.

If I want to get anywhere near my medical-community-approved "ideal" weight, I need to lose about 100 pounds. Yes, 100.

Does that number seem insane to you? Because it seems damn crazy to me.

But then ugh. See, it is SO EASY for me to spend paragraph after paragraph writing things like, "I don't look like I need to lose 100 pounds," or "I'm still able to go to the gym," or "I'm not missing out on life at all because of my weight" because I've written those things here countless times. And you know? All of those things ARE true.

Hoarders who proclaim they "just collect a lot of stuff" are telling the truth, also.

So now what?

This is hard. Haaaaaaaaaaard. And I don't even mean the dieting part. Because I will stand by my statement that I am not miserable. I just want to lose weight because it's time that I lose weight.

What's hard is realizing just how much weight I have to lose. That means facing some pretty ugly realities. It's hard to let go of my comfy-cozy version of how I look, the version I "just walk around with" because I haven't prioritized anything else. It's hard to really see myself at the weight I actually am. It's hard acknowledging that the tips and tricks and general diet modifications that work for normal-people's weight-loss aren't ever going to be enough for me at this size.

It's hard to realize that I need my own, personal, clean-up crew.

But I do. Because this amount of junk? It's just not going anywhere without help.

The good news is: I've found the crew.

I'm starting Medifast today.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am both scared and excited to be starting this program, and will be sharing the very real details of my experiences here. But because Medifast approached me, and is kindly providing me with the stuff I need, I can't write about the program details here (due to my relationship with BlogHerAds). So, I will be providing general progress reports and weight-loss updates, but any program specifics will be detailed on my review blog.


  1. Dude, this is the incentive I need to do the MASSIVE EFFORT required to officially add your review blog to my Google Reader. I am DYING to know EVERY DETAIL. WITHHOLD NOTHING.

  2. My boyfriend and I started Medifast at the New Year. There are definitely some of the foods that we like, and others we dislike, but now going into month #3...we just order the foods we like and are making it work. So you will too. He does 3-4 shakes a day, I like the hot cocoa, but neither of us likes the soups, etc. The first two weeks are the toughest. You can do it!

  3. Good luck, Kristy. This is a very brave step to take and to admit.

  4. Very cool! Looking forward to hearing how this goes for you.

    Also - if you need a laugh in the midst of this part of your journey, Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster, is HULARIOUS! (o:

  5. Congratulations Kristy, that is a huge and very difficult step. Looking forward to hearing all about it!
    You go girl!

  6. I can't wait to hear (and see) how it goes! Go get 'em.

  7. A friend of mine did Nutrisystem a couple of years ago and it really helped her a lot. Mostly, it taught her so much about portion control and kind of recalibrated her sense of how much she was supposed to eat.

    Once the weight began coming off, she started getting into exercising -- running, to be specific. Since losing weight makes running easier (and more comfortable), it became more incentive to continue losing weight. She eventually also got into cycling and her life is pretty different now.

    I don't know how long she did Nutrisystem, and she didn't need to lose as much as you do, but I know she credits it with turning the tide for her. I hope Medfast does that for you! (I know nothing about Medfast, but see from the website that it's pre-set meals, which is what I recall was the case for my friend with Nutrisystem.)

    I think it's really great that you were able to find the moment in the hoarders show (which I've never seen) that could reveal something to you about yourself. That took both empathy and a willingness to be honest with yourself. It sounds like that moment is pretty scary for the hoarders, so maybe the connection you made was scary for you, too. Good for you for taking action.

  8. I hear you. I've done Medifast since Jan 6th and I've lost 38 pounds so far (I have a LONG way to go).

    Having everything packaged and planned for you does make it easier, I've several times on my own with little or no success, so i figured out I need help too.

  9. Way to go Kristy!
    You jsut got through the hardest part, which is taking the first step and actually starting your plan!
    You Can Do IT!

  10. Kristy - best of luck to you! As someone who also has quite a bit of weight to lose (82.5 pounds, yikes) I'll be cheering you on! Right now I'm trying to do it on my own, but would definitely consider something like Medifast in the future - I look forward to seeing how you like it!

  11. Oh yeah, I know exactly what it feels like to come to *that* realization. I did a similar program when I decided to lose 60 pounds three years ago. For me it was the first three days and the last 10 pounds that were the hardest. The last 10 were regained within a year (but no more since then!), so maybe I set the goal weight too low to begin with. Good luck to you and know that we are all rooting for you!

  12. I am kinda obsessed with that show. I really like how you made a connection to yourself with it. When I watch it again, I'll probably be thinking about myself in that way.

  13. Wow! Good luck! I can't wait to see where this takes you (mostly good places, I hope)!

  14. I'm for you too! I love your honesty, thanks so much for sharing.

  15. You go girl! Whatever it takes. You have the most clarity of anyone I have ever read about the honesty of being overweight, but in a good place in your personal life, but still recognizing that it needs to be done. Keep it up. Perhaps it was the episode at the grocery store that was the proverbial nail in the coffin. If not, it was probably the funniest thing I have ever read! I'll be thinking of you, and working on my own to find the will and the way. Thanks for sharing these feelings with us. We need it.

  16. Hi... I'm Hollie, another blogger who will be starting Medifast as soon as my package arrives! I didn't see a link to your "review blog"... did I miss it? I would love to follow your journey. I am over at feel free to visit if you want a buddy along the way!

  17. This post almost made me cry. I am so where you are. Well, almost. I haven't actively started trying to lose weight yet. *sigh* Good luck and keep us posted.

  18. I too am on a weight loss journey. I've loss 10 lbs since the beginning of the year and have 40 - 50 more to go.

  19. I love your comparison with Hoarders--great insights. Good luck!

  20. Good luck Kristy! I think you are AWESOME for sharing so honestly!

    I really resonated with your post about not being miserable even though I am overweight. I love my life - I am happily married, two great kids, devout in my faith, no childhood trauma. I don't let my weight keep me from doing things with my family - I ski w/ my kids, go to water parks, ride bikes. I have very honestly looked at every aspect of my life to figure out why I am 75 lbs heavier than I need to be and all I can come up with is...I love food. I hate to exercise.

    I wish you all the luck in the world!! Thanks for being so transparent!

  21. The difference of your wanting to lose 100 lbs. and the hoarders is that they are crazy...for real. They will never be able to keep a clean home, because it is a compulsion to "have things around them". They really can't help it.

    I want to know how the medifast stuff works out for you. I need to lose about 50 lbs for real. I have to take prednisone everyday and I quit smoking nearly 3 years ago and it was BALLOON CITY for me! It was unreal they way my body didn't even seem to be mine any longer. It was like some alien had taken me over. But I can't work out 8 hours a day. I go to water aerobics three times a week.

  22. I started Medifast in mid-January. I have lost 38lbs total. (This amount includes weight I lost before Medifast.)

    I have to say, it gives me the ability to not stress about food. It's worked really well for me and many. Congratulations!

  23. So what happens when you go off the Medifast x amount of months from now?
    And how is drinking chemically produced shakes going to make you healthy?
    You will at least lose a lot of weight. Good luck.

  24. my parents did medifast a long time ago and both had success. sometimes a "clean up crew" is a good way to start - good luck!!!

  25. Best of luck, Kristy! I will be following your progress on your review blog.

    You rock! :)

  26. Congrats Kristy - wish it was me.

  27. I love Hoarders and you really hit the nail on the head in this post. Very insightful. I've been cramming food in my pie hole now in an out-of-control Hoarders fashion for about 2 years now and have 30 pounds to show for it. I too started the Atkins diet on the 2nd of the year and was religious about it (and lost 10 pounds) until I went on vacation and then it all went out the window. Thankfully I haven't gained any of the lost weight back, but haven't lost any more either.

    I am SO behind you in this weight loss goal of yours. You go girl. I'll be carefully watching you and maybe this is what I need now. Good Luck!

  28. my husband and I still look back on photos of my 160lbs ago and go "really? wow." It's like, I never realized how BIG I was, until I was "normal" and now I look back at photos or just the number "350lbs" and can't even remember or IMAGINE it. I have a facebook photo up of my "fat pants", as well as some old fat pictures. But it's the fat pants that get my every time. Even while going through everything to get a gastric bypass I NEVER REALIZED HOW BIG I WAS! How is that POSSIBLE?!?!?!!/photo.php?pid=2294742&id=592207570

  29. Hi, I am fairly new to your blog, but I really like it!

    I am also kind of obsessed about Hoarders and also Intervention. I am just now coming to terms with my food addiction. My mom went to Overeaters Anonymous for years when I was younger and I really think I need to head that way myself. I am 5' 9" and 240 lbs. I work out pretty seriously at least 3x a week-- and just started Pilates too but it is not helping.

    Also, had my thyroid checked recently and now am on a low dosage of Synthroid. Hoped once I started taking it i would lose 50# magically, but no dice.

    I would have a really hard time on a diet with pre packaged food since I like to pretend that I am a gourmet chef and cook from scratch as much as possible for my husband and son. Do you think you will feel deprived?

    I look forward to hearing about your journey.


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