Progress

Tuesday morning
Feeling good on a Tuesday before work. Look at the definition in my face! 🙂

 

I haven’t posted lately, but I am still happily McDougalling my way to health. I have lost over 70 lbs now and I never feel restricted! I love eating all the food I want and still feeling healthy and strong. And I love that the food I eat tells my body when to stop eating. I went out for Mexican with a girlfriend last night. I ate about half my burrito then just stopped. I was totally satisfied, but not uncomfortably full. It was a great moment.

Last Sunday M and I went for a walk in one of the local regional parks. We probably did about 5 miles all together. We ended up going down a steep hillside into a valley to meet up with another trail that led back to the parking lot. A year ago I would have looked at the decline and turned around. Between the gravel, the grade, and the narrow path with branches blocking a lot of it, I was definitely pushing my limits of comfort! But I carefully stepped and took my time. I made it all the way down without needing any help. I did it. I felt so good at the bottom that I broke into a run. (Okay, it was really a jog, but it felt like a run to me!) I am very proud of myself and I feel very accomplished.

hike in Sibley
We started hiking along the ridge on the side of the hill then went down into the valley.
hike in Sibley - me
This is my proud face!!!
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Is a tank top brave?

I recently was talking to my husband about the changes I am seeing in my body. He looked at me and said that he doesn’t see too much difference in my arms but he can see a huge difference in my belly. A few days later I recounted the incident to a friend. She told me I am brave for wearing a tank top. She never wears them because she hates her arms.

hiking 2-28-16 arms up
Ready for adventure!

That really got me thinking. At my heaviest, there was no way I could ever cover up how fat I was. I am still quite large. And even now, no matter what I am wearing, it is pretty obvious that I am a fat woman. So what difference does it make if I wear a tank top or not?

hiking 2-28-16 arms down
Big belly, big arms, big smile!

 

I have noticed that I am particularly sensitive to short daylight hours. The longer the nights and the less time I get out in the sun the more my depression is able to take hold in my thought processes. Knowing this about myself I think it is very important to get as much exposure to the sun as I can. Weather permitting, I prefer to walk and hike in a tank top to get as much sunlight on my arms and chest as possible.

hiking 2-28-16 both of us
Lovely. And yes, that is my hand blocking the side of the camera view. 🙂

I don’t consider myself brave for being realistic about my body. I know how I look. And I don’t see the point in hiding who I am behind clothes in the hopes of hiding how big I am. I am here. I take up space. And I get my butt up the hills, even with all the extra fat I am carrying around.

Huh. Maybe I am pretty brave after all. 🙂

There’s a monster in my belly.

I have noticed a huge increase in my appetite lately. I eat a large bowl of oatmeal every morning that is made with about 1.5 cups of dry quick cooking oats and a handful of freeze dried blueberries. I then add a little brown sugar before I eat it. I am fueled and ready for life for a few hours from this. Then every day at 12 pm I get hungry again.

No, not hungry. Ravenous!

I am ready to eat a horse at this point! Okay, not really. Obviously I don’t eat whole horses. But I am for sure ready for some potatoes, or rice, or bread. Just something.

I have started thinking about my hunger in a different way lately. It seems almost like it is alive, separate from the rest of me. I can feel it building up, then growling for food.

Does anyone remember that show on Nicelodeon Ahh, Real Monsters? My hunger looks a little like Krumm.

krumm

I think it’s green though. I know this is kind of weird, but I guess I am still surprised at how much I eat!

I have now lost over 60 lbs. That is such a big number. My older niece weighs 63 lbs. I have lost a seven year old!

I started looking at upper body training exercises recently. I am not seeing any change in my arms with the weight loss. I don’t know if they will ever look great, but I would like to lose some of the fat and gain some muscle. I want to feel strong. I also really want to do a push up. As my upper body loses mass I know this is becoming more of a possibility. But I need to build up strength now, not just wait for my body to weigh less. I am a little nervous about going to the gym since I am still so big. The last time I went in and used the cable weights there were some guys who were lifting who kept giving me funny looks. So much for the judgment free zone. I am proud of myself for going anyway, though. Now I just need to get back.

M has been working out of town for a bit so it’s just me and the critters. The dog needs a big walk at night so I don’t have that much time to do anything. I do think I could squeeze in a home workout here and there, though. I am sure that right now doing the workout without any extra weights will still be a challenge. That is where I’ll start. We prepaid for some lap swim sessions, too, and this weekend is supposed to be pretty nice so maybe a swim, some time in the gym, or a hike is how we will spend Sunday. Maybe we could even make a picnic. I’m sure my monster will be happy if I bring extra food with me. 🙂

What are your plans for this weekend? Does your body every seem to have a mind of its own? How do you like to workout? Answer in the comments!

I can’t live without…

I have now lost a substantial amount of weight. I am closing in on 60 lbs. So it is noticeable. Naturally in our superficial and fat obsessed society I am asked quite often about what I eat. Yesterday I saw some people I haven’t seen in a few months. One was very interested and said she would give it a try. A coworker overheard and started asking me questions, too. She then said that she can’t live without potato chips. She has to have them everyday; they are her favorite. Another coworker has told me in the past that she could never eat like I do because she needs meat everyday. She said she is a carnivore. A third has told me she needs protein because when she eats carbs she gets very hungry and craves carbs.

I am not quite sure what it is about our society or our nature that prompts us to see someone getting a result we want and then immediately dismiss whatever that person is doing as not feasible for whatever reason. It could be that we are just constantly searching for a magic bullet. Or that we secretly wish we can still eat all the junk foods we want and will all of a sudden start getting healthier and losing weight.

I was thinking about this kind of reaction recently. I am now at the point where Round Table Pizza commercials make me feel sick to my stomach. I used to love their pizza! But now I just feel queasy and gross at the thought of eating cheese, pepperoni, bacon, or any of the other greasy stuff on there.

That brings me to my next thought: Would you rather feel like you can’t live without cheese or bacon or burgers or fried chicken or whatever it is that you currently feel addicted to? Or would it be better to stop eating those foods, switch to whole, plant foods, and get past the addiction? I know a few people who have quit cigarettes. While the quitting process is never easy, everyone knows that cigarettes are very harmful and that quitting is the right choice. So how is diet different?

I think truly the hardest part of switching to WFPBNO (whole food, plant based, no oil) is the convenience factor. There are just so many foods out there that are so easy to heat’n’eat or just eat straight that are simply horrible for our health. I work inside a grocery store so all day long I see the foods that are profitable. These are not health foods! And most people do not buy a cart full of fruits and vegetables.

We are literally addicted to foods that are killing us. I am so glad that I was able to break out of that cycle! I cannot live without my greens, beans, fruits, potatoes, and other healthy foods. And I very much prefer my life this way!

What can you not live without? What are your favorite foods? What makes you feel the healthiest?

Beans and greens

I am reading How Not to Die right now. I am in the second section. What I have read so far has me eating a lot of beans and greens! But the question that I am facing is how to eat them in a way that tastes good.

I bought several 1 lb bags of mixed greens at Whole Foods the other day. I also bought a ton (like, two full bags worth) of dried garbanzo beans. That is one of my favorite beans. I like how it stays firm, even after cooking, but not in an undercooked kind of way. I soaked a couple cups worth of beans and cooked them plain. I probably overcooked them a little, the liquid was like a gel! But they are perfect for me. I threw about half a bag’s worth of greens in a pot and seasoned them then added some beans for an easy dinner.

beans n greens
Garbanzo beans with mixed greens

I also tried to make nacho cheese style roasted chickpeas. I should have rinsed the thick liquid off first! They didn’t quite turn into what I had hoped for, but they were tasty. Yesterday for lunch I ate some with arugula and salsa. Then for dinner I added the rest of the bag of greens, some salsa, and the rest of the not-cho beans to a pot and heated through. M roasted some sweet potatoes and carrots. The combo was delightful! I even had some fresh corn tortillas to eat with dinner. Yummy!

I have been really focusing on getting those extra servings of greens and beans in for all of the amazing phytonutrients, anticancer effects, and weight loss benefits. The past two days alone I have lost 1/2 lb per day! So I would say that greens and beans are a winning combination.

What are your special tricks for weight loss? Do you have any foods that you try to eat everyday for a health benefit? What is your favorite bean or greens recipe? Share in the comments!

PSA: I am sensitive.

I went to my mom’s house over the weekend. We were working on the yard. She hasn’t really done any weeding or other yard work since October. There is a small flower garden and a couple of citrus trees that we were weeding. It was a huge job so she had one of her dog walkers come over to help. It was overall a very productive day.

However, there was a point in the day when my mom said some things that struck a nerve with me. One was when were out in the back and I was on my hands and knees weeding. I have lost a lot of weight but have not replaced all of my clothes. I was wearing some yoga pants that are a little loose and they don’t stay up as well as they used to. I made sure to keep my rear end pointed away from the kid helping us so he didn’t see my whole booty. But my mom did get a peak of my crack as the pants slid down a little too far. She pointed it out which was super embarrassing for me.

A little while later we were inside and talking about trampoline parks. I mentioned someone who has gone and my mom started talking about that person’s ample chest size. I got upset by that, too, because it was in general completely inappropriate to talk like that – especially to a teenaged boy. I called her out immediately. Then she got weird like I was the one who was out of line. We ignored each other for a little while after that.

Eventually we went back to work and moved on. Before I left she came into the room I was working to clear the air – and defend herself. I told her how much it bothered me when she pointed out my butt crack in the yard and how she had done the same thing when I was in middle and high school. At that time she used a nickname in front of my friends and at Girl Scout meetings to point out when my nipples were erect. When some of my friends got it they could see how upset I was. That was mortifying – not just that she was pointing out something I had no control over, but that my friends could see how hurt I was and she couldn’t. So the pants coverage issue brings up that same pain. She kept trying to justify what she had said and I started crying. I told her that I want to hear that I just want her to see how hurt I am. She finally stopped trying to justify and just apologized. I said that no one is perfect and I am asking her to be perfect. I just want us as a society, as a group, to stop judging each other’s bodies and do better to each other than what was done to us. I think that’s a good goal to strive for.

Earlier this week I was at work when I ran into a relative. He pointed out that I have slimmed down quite a bit but that the method of losing isn’t as important as how the loss is maintained. I said that I will never go back to eating “normal” foods since I keep researching how typical American foods affect so many diseases. He kept saying the word diet so I responded by saying that heart disease and breast cancer are a choice for most people. He said that it’s the genes and I told him about Dr. Gregor’s great book that specifically adresses how both of these diseases plus several others are affected by dietary choices. He said there will always be another doctor doing another study. I said that that’s true, but given the choice between a single doctor and a single study versus most doctors agreeing about most studies, which is more reliable information? 90% agreement or 10% agreement? Then he said that he didn’t want to stand there and argue with me.

My takeaway from that encounter is that if you mention my body and my appearance, you will hear me talk about why looks are much less important than a healthy diet. For the situation with my mom if anyone talks about my body or anyone else’s body to me I will respond in a way that points out how we need to have more compassion for each other and less judgmental.

In case that didn’t come across clearly: I am not following these dietary guidelines for my looks. I am doing this for health reasons. I understand that my weight is unhealthy so I am losing weight as a result of regaining my health. I also am not at all interested in judging other people for their bodies. We can do better for each other and for ourselves than being that way.

Yes, I’m sensitive. I get upset easily. And I am okay with that.

I’m thinking of breaking up with WW

I have been going to Weight Watchers on and off for probably about a decade. I love the connection with other members and the special team members who truly care about the health and well being of the members. I am so grateful for those wonderful people who I am able to talk to about all of the emotional and mental struggles that go along with the radical changes that weight loss requires.

All that said, though, I am thoroughly displeased with the new program. Weight Watchers used to have a whole section on their website dedicated to the science behind their program. I just checked the website, though, and cannot find anything like that all with the new program.

This program was just released in the last few weeks. Along with that the whole website and mobile app were redesigned. The new focus is on protein as a holy grail type of nutrient. Foods with high protein content have had their points values reduced while foods with saturated fats and added sugars have increased – according to my leaders. I tested the new system recently and the foods that have helped me lose over 50 lbs. so far (now over 55!) barely fit into my daily points target! I could not imagine trying to lose weight with the new program while also eating healthfully!

In defense of WW, they do still have their Simply Filling plan. That plan allows unlimited food from a specific list (most fruits and veggies, all whole grains, fat free dairy, lean meats, eggs, and two teaspoons of oil per day along with a few selected processed grain products like whole wheat pasta and light bread) until satiety is reached. I love the idea of intuitive eating and always encourage other members to give this plan a try. I tell everyone in the meetings that I follow a modified version of this program – no meat, dairy, eggs, or oils. Since I am consistently losing weight I know some people are interested in how and I love to push whole plant foods! Veggies, potatoes, grains, fruits, it all helps!

With the new points structure, though, I am truly worried about the health of all the members. One lady was counting out the points of her breakfast. She used Trader Joe’s 98% fat free ham and three slices were 0 points. She was so happy because she likes ham and it is helping her lose weight and all that nonsense. Of course, losing a few pounds over the course of a week does not mean much in the grand scheme of things. It could be fat, it could be water, it could be muscle, it could be fecal matter. It only matters when weight is steadily and consistently lower.

Then, of course, there is the issue of eating ham at all. The World Health Organization classified processed meats in the same category of carcinogens as cigarettes. This means that every single slice of ham, bacon, or turkey is causing DNA damage that can lead to cancer if the body is not successfully able to reverse the damage before it grows new, mutated cells. Our bodies fight as hard as they can, but when we eat these foods everyday, several times a day, we are tipping the balance to favor the cancer cells.

Having foods like this cost so little in terms of points values creates a false sense of value. They are tasty. They are low in points. We should eat more foods like these. WW has created a system in which it is essentially “free” to eat foods known to be carcinogenic. I tested my oatmeal once and the one bowl of just oats was 13 points! This is crazy.

I think I’m going to give it a few more weeks before I make my decision. I love my friends and the support I get when I am facing a truly challenging situation. I love the staff members who make the meetings. Each of them offers a beautiful piece of the mosaic that is my support team. But the focus on protein – specifically animal protein – is truly sickening in every sense of the word.

Have you ever gone to Weight Watchers? What do you think of protein intake? Do you have a special support network who help you with your struggles? Let’s talk in the comments!

 

New year, new me?

I am still way behind mentally. I feel like it’s September, maybe October. I cannot believe that we are already a few DAYS into 2016.

I am not one for resolutions, though. I have never made a new year’s resolution in my life. I just don’t see the point in trying to do something to drastically improve my life after binge drinking into a coma. I also don’t drink very much. Maybe I just don’t have the hang of this whole New Year’s Eve thing…

I did, however, set a goal for myself. I made it down below 300 lbs. before the end of 2015. I actually did it a little before the end! Go me!

My goal for 2016 is to get below 200 lbs.

I know I will get there. It takes a lot of patience and dedication, though.

Over new year’s I made cupcakes using a box of cake mix and a can of lime flavored seltzer water then adding a marshmallow to the top for s’mores flavored cupcakes. They turned out tasty. I haven’t had chocolate in several months so maybe that’s why I liked them so much. I kept eating them.

We also bought a 4 lb. tub of Red Vines. Between the cupcakes which had a little canola oil in the mix and the licorice that was fat free so totally okay to indulge in I way overdid it this weekend.

I hit my lowest weight since I started the HCLF diet ever on the morning of the 1st. I was 295.8. I was so excited. But then, treats happened. Today I was up to 299.8!

I have been very diligent about paying attention to what I’m eating and am making deliberate choices to support myself since then. I am also being conscious of my movements. Today is the first day my Vivosmart has given me a goal of over 10,000 steps and I am already almost there. Another trip through the store and a walk with the dog should do it!

While I refuse to engage in the silly tradition of setting unrealistic standards for myself that I only intend to break within a few months, I do believe in goals as a direction. I need that kind of planning or compass in my life. I know that my behaviors today set up the successes or failures of the end of the year.

That is why it is so important for me to choose healthy patterns and thought processes.

It is not easy. Goodness knows how much I want to just stuff candy in my mouth! Or ice cream. I am just in a funky mood that sets me off craving fatty, carb-laden treats. But I know that I need to choose my health over old habits.

I guess this is a new me after all. 🙂

Redefining “Diets”

I have been thinking a lot lately about what successful weight loss methods are out there. Long story short, not many. Most weight loss methods are Diets that are intended to be used for a short period of time until the unwanted weight is gone, then the dieter goes back to their previous way of eating. This has certainly been the case for me. I have done Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers, paleo, calorie counting, Atkins, South Beach, Curves, and more. All of these are just things people do until they can go back to normal. But of course, normal is why they need these Diets in the first place!

So what does truly successful weight loss look like? Does it just mean losing a certain number of pounds or a percentage of body fat? Does it mean that you know how to lose weight? Or is it more?

A close family friend recently completed the losing phase of the medically supervised liquid fast diet. She lost a ton of weight and noticed a dramatic increase in her quality of life. She was doing so well that my grandmother wished she had enough money to send me to the same program. While I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to do a liquid fast for weight loss purposes, I tried to be as tactful as possible. I told my grandma that we should see how she does in the long term before spending over $3000 on something that may not even create long term success. Sure enough, the friend is in the maintenance phase now and going back to “regular” foods has not been easy. She is struggling with weight gain.

I know how hard that is. After trying so many different methods to lose weight, many more than once, I just cannot get behind the idea that any Diet should be temporary.

That is one main reason that I simply love the McDougall Program. I never intend to go back to “normal” eating again. I feel so great eating starches. I have much more energy than I ever have had before. My health issues that I have struggled with for years are getting better. Why on earth would I want to go back to a way of eating that left me feeling so terrible?

What are your thoughts on this? As we approach the start of resolution season, how do you deal with the commercials for every diet under the sun? Have you tried any weight loss methods before? Why did you stop? Do you see that as a failure of the Diet or a failure of your will power? (Hint: It’s built into Diets to fail, that’s why there are so many that people spend so much on!)

50 lbs gone, now what?

Last week I shared my weight loss success of 50 lbs. I have lost a little more since then. I actually made it past the 300 lb. mark on the scale!

I have had 300 as my weight goal for so long that I honestly don’t know where to go next. I decided on 250 for now, since that’s another big chunk but not the full amount. I guess I’ll just keep stepping it down like that.

In activity land, we went swimming yesterday! It was my first time going to the lap swim at our local public pool. It was actually quite lovely. I don’t swim with my face in the water (no freestyle for me!) so I’m a little more sore today than I expected to be. But I successfully swam the full length of the pool 4 times which I think counts as 2 laps. It was 33 1/2 meters long so I actually did over 135 yards.

The swim for the Tri next summer is only 400 so I am thrilled to be able to go 1/4 of the way already. I still obviously have a lot of training to do, but I know I can do this!

Now to get myself back to the gym to work on the bike… 🙂