First of all, I want to make it very clear that I don’t have the answers to how you can lose weight. Secondly, I also am only an “expert” with one person: ME! Finally, I am writing this as much for me as I am for anyone who wishes to read this. As I said in the beginning this is my personal journey from being morbidly obese to a normal BMI (Body Mass Index–one marker of optimal health) of 22%. The charts have that as 140 lbs. for a person of my height and build. For me that will mean an eventual weight lose of over 160 lbs or half of my weight. I have been 140 lbs and the last time that I was I was 27 years old. Fast forward, thirty years later. I am 57 years old now. Do I think that is a realistic goal for me? I honestly don’t know but since that is considered an ideal BMI for me, that is the end goal I have right now. I may change that down the road but for now that is the “gold standard” I am reaching for.
I could write volumes on what hasn’t worked for me in the past and I might digress at some point and do just that to show why that didn’t work and what I am doing now is. For the time being, suffice to say, this is about the here and now, what is working and even what isn’t because I also have plenty to say about that as well. What I do hope you, the reader, will gain out of my diet blog is to be encouraged to probe deeper into your own tool chest and see what works for you and what doesn’t.
I have sat at the knees of many people on this website and I can tell you firsthand that there is a lot of wisdom here at 3FC so I would strongly encourage you to read what others have done for themselves to bring this sometimes elusive goal of optimal health and wellness through weight management. Having said that, I would like to share what the first six weeks have been for me “this time”.
I belong to several online “diet” support groups both on this site and on others. I am fast seeing what each has to offer me. I really make it a “professional courtesy” to not drag one into the other and not to do any kind of “comparisons” as well. Each has something valuable to give me (and I hope I do so likewise). I belong to one here on 3FC that is using Cognitive Therapy espoused by Dr. Beck (of the Beck Diet Solution). I can tell you that if you are a person who has lost weight, regained it and then are back down the scale again, this might be one tool you get a hold of. This approach helps you develop the skills to maintain a weight lose, among other things.
I really believe that the reason why most people regain the weight they have lost is that they didn’t prepare themselves for life after “The Diet“. This is one reason why unsustainable diets do not work. If you can’t maintain your food plan or lifestyle, then neither are the right ones for you. This is the proverbial fork in the road where a lot of people don’t realize there is a third choice: find a new level that is sustainable. If all that matters to you is fitting in the “Skinny Jeans” and you are willing to eat rabbit food for the remainder of your life, go for it. I am not! I don’t want to judge those people who want that goal but it is also sad when they don’t consider other options as well.
I have listened to some people who are really impressive in their dieting efforts. A few of them are in one of my support groups. One of the leaders has a real “Bootcamp” Mentality. I used to follow that route and sometimes in my “once upon a time” OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) mode I would suddenly throw myself into exercising or stringent dieting only to boomerang shortly thereafter. I just did this two weeks ago. I had been increasing my exercising and I was really feeling “macho” (even though I am of the female persuasion) and, of course, what happened? I got the flu and everything came to an abrupt halt.
Long ago, I remember working out once when I was sick. I went to a health club and thought I could beat those d**n germs to death. I now think about how unhealthy both that behavior and thinking is not to mention the potential of infecting a lot of innocent people who were just there to get their workout in. People, if you never learn anything about life in general: have some common sense. If you start feeling run down, stop and rest, take a nap, hit the snooze alarm, whatever but don’t keep doing what you have been doing that got you in that “space” to begin with.
So, if you are the competitive type (and I still am up to a point) then that approach may actually be exactly what you need. If you like to set goals and compete within a group or like the competition to push yourself further then that might actually work for you. However, my caveat, is to first examine your life. Can your life support this rigorous effort in the long run? Long ago, I used to get up four hours early, bring my gym bag along with me as I transfered several city buses to my fitness center to work out before I went to work in a downtown metropolitan office. I did this faithfully for a long time. It worked for me then. I was newly separated from a horrible marriage, I was in my early 40s and still had the “fire in my belly” approach to almost everything in my life. Well, today I don’t have any of that and if you don’t, then don’t feel like you can never lose weight and feel better. That way is not for everyone. “For every season….” I am in the late fall of my life. I need a kinder and gentler approach.
I have also discovered that moderation is the golden key to everything in life! Losing weight and getting fit is no different. That is one difference that I hope I will develop “this time around”. As I said I was following an 80/20 healthy eating plan. However, I will say that my 20% has been starting to look rather suspiciously like really bad eating, empty calories and a whole lot of additional sodium that I certainly didn’t see sneak up on me. However, my initial premise still stands. I believe that if I am going to not regain this weight, which I have every intention of not doing, then I need to adapt to the world out there, imperfect as it is, and not live in a “diet bubble” here.
So, after having several “a-ha” moments late last night, I went through my food log, did a “comparative analysis” (some pen and paper figuring) and decided that the only foods that were going to remain on my “Favorites” food log (I keep an online food log—there are many sites where you can do this: Livestrong.com; Sparkpeople.com, are two sites that come to mind) and I decided to make an (arbitrary) rule of only listing foods that the sodium per serving was 600 milligrams or less. Now, even that seems high but since I don’t have high blood pressure I can tolerate a little more sodium than some people. Just a few weeks ago, I decided that I was only going to list 1 serving portions since I struggle with that. [I eat like a lumberjack but I am primarily an office “pencil pusher”.] I’m still struggling with that at times. I love to eat good food and, at times, a lot of it!
So, I have decided that I am now going to add a second “rule of thumb”: eat foods with less than 600 mg of sodium per suggested serving. Why is this a big deal for me? I love to eat out. My husband does too. I am a good cook too so it’s not that I can’t fix it at home but for me; dining out, trying new and different foods and cuisines besides “new” restaurants is a very pleasurable pastime. Restaurants, some more than others, really spike the food during the cooking process with lots of sodium. Well, I don’t want to stop this enjoyable activity. Again, this gets back to living in the “real world” and enjoying life along the way. So, I did what any nutrition nerd would do. I went online and began researching as many of my favorite restaurants as I could to just see what I could have. I spent hours doing this. That’s the way my mind works. I love working with numbers, figures, etc. And, I was pleasantly surprised at what I “discovered”.
Here are some interesting things that I “found out”. At one of my favorite restaurants, one cup of black-eyed peas (which I just love) is the same amount of calories as this restaurant’s carrot cake (they cut smaller pieces there) but, now get this, the carrot cake has far less sodium! I love both( of course) but I just think that before I was feeling rather virtuous that I was eating the legumes and getting the added fiber but then there is some fiber in the carrot cake (especially if it is made with real carrots, nuts and raisins-all whole foods). Hmm, it does make one pause and re-think what is “diet worthy” foods.
I am not necessarily advocating that everyone eats carrot cake over black-eyed peas. In fact, have both if you have an empty stomach and have enough calories left in your food plan for that day. I am saying though that there is room for carrot cake in my food plan and not to be scared away by it. Knowledge is power. Get to know food, what is in it, and just how “harmful” it may or may not be. I think, there has been a trend (and it is beginning to seem quite disturbing I feel) that if you eat “off plan” meaning “eat white anything, artificial anything, non-organic anything” you are going to shrivel up into a toad and hop away. Okay, this gets back to what I was saying before: get some common sense!
However, to my credit, I am not a good dieter in “that sense”. And, you know what is interesting and which I am now paying more attention to than I did in the past. I am a really good maintainer. I hate to cut down and out anything, especially foods that I love. It is like cutting out sex because you have a bad back. Hey, if bed rest is good for my back, I’ll lay back and you can “do me”. So, I would like to say that there might be a third group out there among the diet world. Those who are starting to integrate maintenance skills as they are going down the scales. I sure hope I am one of them because right now I am thinking that I just might be.
Jennifer Hudson, a phemonemally talented singer and actress, recently lost 80 lbs. I loved what she said, (I will paraphrase here)” After all, who can eat chicken breasts and brown rice forever?” Well, unless you really really love that, I doubt that you can. I know that I can’t and I like both of those…on occasion. So, here I am in the midst of all this information, more diet plans than you can shake at stick at and I am still trying to have my “cake and eat it too”. I am either crazy or I am onto something. Stick with me and we’ll find out.
So, what you won’t find here on my blog is telling you that I am doing anything that can not be sustained once I have lost what will amount to a significant weight lose. I am not the only one who has “seen the light”. I am just so d***n glad that we are all wising up about what it takes to lose weight but also what it takes to keep it off because losing is great but not so great if you can’t sustain that weight lose. In fact, it is tragic. Losing weight takes a lot of perserverance, patience and just plain hard work.
It is not about exercising to the point of falling down, avoiding “white stuff”, drinking water vs drinking diet soda, etc. We all know the “rules” and yet it is so refreshing when someone has the “guts” to admit that it could be something that we often overlook like a good night’s sleep. Can we really do anything worthwhile without a good night’s sleep?
I discovered that losing “just” 25 lbs opened up new possibilities in my life: being able to sleep better since I have HUGE breasts and they were in my face literally. That was the first place that I lost weight—my midriff and bust. I could actually stand longer than 10 minutes which then opened up new possibilities of being able to walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes.
I started drinking water because I wanted to fit in with another diet support group but after I drink 64 oz each day I switch back over to my diet soda. There I said it. I will admit that I do like the water when it is ice cold but it also makes the taste of the diet soda taste even better. LOL I got chewed out by that leader of that group for God forbid drinking diet soda. She sent me an article (how many more studies are these experts going to do?) that really didn’t say diet soda per se was bad for you, only regular soda. Duh! So, now I am closet diet soda drinker. It’s human nature, what we feel is going to be judged we take it underground. Silly, silly, silly!
I say that anyone who can figure out what works for them and then proceed instead of the “pack mentality” that exists even in this “world”, I say BRAVO! I am a lone wolf so what you won’t find here on my blog is do this or do that and you too will “magically” lose all the weight you want. I will however promise to tell you what I am doing along the way that gets “results”, even if they are imperfect by some people’s standards. I will hopefully not “preach” to you because I don’t like it either. I also will document as closely as I can when I make changes or abandon what may have worked at first and may not work later. I am truly a “work in progress”. If you can tolerate the ambiguity in all of this then I welcome your readership.
Again, I want to state my “mission statement”: I want to document and chronicle my weight lose journey so I can have a road map of where I came from, where I went, including the detours, and where I ended up. I will include photos along the way, measurements (for those who like numbers) and what it took for me to lose half of my physical self. As long as I don’t lose more than half my sanity, I’ll do fine. Thanks for checking reader(s). Someday, I may wonder why I invited you all into my private self but for now I am good.
After all, when it is said and done, we won’t applaud the fact that you drank 64 oz of water every day , or whatever else worked for you, during your journey, we will celebrate that you did what we all want to do and will do, once we listen to our own “still voice”, and that is reach a personal goal of health and a new lease on life. That is what it is all about, my friend! Finding our own way, the way that works for us.
Now, where is that calorie counter book of mine…..