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!

Looking good?

I know this is a recurring theme with me, but M told me that I look smaller today. I understand that I have lost a significant amount of weight. I also understand that I am going to lose more weight. But what does looking smaller mean? I asked if I look good. He said yes. I said than say that! So he told me that smaller looks good. Good grief!

I want to be smaller. I want to lose the excess weight that I have carried for far too long. But I don’t think that that affects my beauty in any way. However beautiful I ever am I always am.

So what should we say to people who lose a large amount of weight? Maybe we can ask if they have lost any and how they are feeling. Maybe we can notice things like their improved energy level or self-confidence. Maybe we can simply realize that someone else’s weight is not really any of our business and leave their health concerns between them and their medical professional.

I just wish people would see me as a person instead of a fat person. I’m sure that will happen soon enough, but will I have to go out and meet all new people?

In other news, we went to the gym today. I had planned on going swimming at a local pool, but with the current storm and chill in the air (leave me alone about being in the 50s, okay? I know I’m a baby!) neither of us really wanted to go swimming. So we took the dog for a walk in a downpour then came home, changed and hit the gym. I did a little more than 3 miles on a stationary bike and almost a mile on a treadmill then thoroughly stretched. It felt great. I was very tired when I finished. And hungry!!!

When we got home I ate a burrito bowl: rice, “refried” beans, cucumber, shredded carrots, and lettuce. I put some sweet chili sauce on it and 20151201_203753.jpgchowed down! Delicious!!! If you have never had sweet chili sauce, I highly recommend it. We are about halfway through a large bottle I bought on Monday! And it tastes great on just about everything. Seriously, try it. AMAZING!!!

Tonight’s dinner is not quite figured out, but I have a head of cabbage, 3 leeks, and some mushrooms in the fridge. I started some rice and split peas soaking. Have you ever added split peas to your brown rice? The texture is fantastic! I did 2 cups rice with 1 cup of mixed green and yellow split peas. I’ll cook it in the rice cooker tonight and probably sauté the vegetables or maybe make a soup. In any case, I’m sure it will be a warm and tasty dinner. 🙂

How is December going for you? Are you ready for 2016? Any challenges in the coming weeks? How do you plan to deal with them?

4 months as a McDougaller

As of today I have been following the McDougall Program for 4 months. In that time I have lost more than 40 lbs. I have also regulated my periods. My skin looks amazing. I have digestive regularity. I eat whenever I am hungry (when I have food). And I never restrict anything I truly want. The funny thing is, though, since I switched to this way of eating I haven’t wanted anything off plan except pumpkin pie with my sister. So I had a piece. It took two days to eat it. And it was worth every bite. I tell people about my diet, but I am definitely not on a Diet. I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life. And I love it!

So what does this look like in a day? I almost always eat oatmeal for breakfast. I learned a great trick which is to put quick-cooking oats in a bowl and pour boiling water over them then cover for 10 minutes. Perfect! I usually just eyeball it to about half a bowl of oats, then add dried or freeze dried fruit like currants, blueberries, strawberries, or apples. I add enough water to fill the bowl then cover with a plate. While it steeps I do my hair and makeup for work or watch tv or take the dog for a walk. When I’m ready to eat I add a little brown sugar and sometimes cinnamon then stir it up and enjoy! I actually like to make it on the thicker side so I can eat it on my way to work. 🙂 What else are red lights for?

Lunch is often leftovers from dinner. I have also been enjoying Dr. McDougall’s soup cups. The chicken ramen is my favorite. I also went through a period where I ate a bag of frozen corn and a bag of mixed vegetables. Sometimes I bring plain potatoes and make sandwiches with some ketchup and a sprinkle of salt. Now there are brands of frozen steamed rice. Occasionally I’ll go out to eat. I like sushi (all vegetables) or pizza with no cheese or meat and lots of veggies.

I snack a lot during the day. I eat bread right out of the bag – usually Alvarado Street Bakery. Sometimes I treat myself to a loaf of sourdough bread, though, when I’m feeling indulgent. I also have been known to buy Red Vines. Once I even got some sugar snap peas and baby carrots! I also like the applesauce pouches for when my blood sugar feels very low.

Dinner is usually where I put the most effort. I like to cook with a range of flavors. I love Mexican because salsa adds so much flavor without much fat. I like to make other ethnic foods as well like the Kenyan food and fried rice I made awhile back. Ethnic foods are so great since they have so much flavor. Standard American fare tends to focus on meats and cheese-heavy dishes. So the variety of flavor offered from cuisines around the world is refreshing and, quite literally, enlightening. The biggest point I can make for dinner is to eat food that fills you up in a way that makes you feel healthy. That is my priority. I like to be filled up comfortably with warm food that fuels my life.

I also walk everyday with my dog and sometimes my husband. I wear a pedometer with a goal of 6000 steps a day. Most days I meet it, some days I far exceed it. I have discovered recently that I am taking fewer steps on the same walk. So the dog and I are going for longer and longer walks. He loves it! He knows when we are doing a longer walk based on which way we go at an intersection. I love how enthusiastic he is about our walks, too. Last weekend we went to a park I went to for day camp as a kid. We walked about 3 miles in a light drizzle. It was such a great walk! But we never push past where I am comfortable. I do not force myself to exercise when I don’t feel like it, unless I am home alone and the dog needs a walk. But then he is very understanding. 🙂 What a good boy! I love that I enjoy my daily walks and actually feel it in my legs when I am too sedentary. I used to be able to ignore the feeling and just keep sitting but now I get up and go for a quick stroll. At work I walk around the building, go to another business nearby for something, or just stand and work for a bit. At home I strap on the leash and we hit the pavement. Even 20 minutes refreshes me. The best part, though, is how good it feels. I WANT to walk.

Happy dog
Happy dog

It is not all sugar and spice, though. I am struggling with how I look. I don’t see any change in the size of my belly. I understand that I have lost some size since I had to buy smaller pants, but what I see when I look down is the same that it has always been. That is a challenge. I also am having an issue with feeling vulnerable without the buffer of fat. I still have plenty, but almost everyone who hasn’t seen me in awhile tells me how great I look. It makes me feel very uncomfortable since I don’t think I look that different and I don’t think I looked that bad. Or maybe I never think I look that good. It’s hard to say which. In any case, I am not quite sure how to respond. I usually try to focus on how I feel and my health improvements instead of how I look.

I am also having a major struggle with the idea of conception. I am terrified to get pregnant right now since I am still so far from healthy. But I also am terrified about waiting any longer since I am now 33 1/2. What if I lose all the weight to get to a healthy BMI and still can’t get pregnant? What if there is some residual damage from being so obese for so much of my life? What if I am totally fertile and still can’t get pregnant? These thoughts are circling my consciousness these days. I want so much to go through the process of having a baby and raising my child. But what if it never happens? Will I always have this gnawing feeling? Will it always make me feel so left out when my friends talk about their kids? Will I ever accept that this could be it for me? I don’t know.

I will say that my PCOS is much better on this starch-based diet than it ever has been before. My periods used to be so painful I would have to take 800 mg of ibuprofen at a time to feel any relief at all. I also was glued to my heating pad and constantly shifting positions to keep the pain at bay enough that I wasn’t in tears. It didn’t always work. Now I often go through whole days with no medication at all. When I do need it, 200 to 400 mg is sufficient to manage my cramping. The improvement in my cystic acne is amazing as well! I currently get a few small pimples here and there and usually one cyst near my chin, but I don’t have a rash of pustules anymore! I can leave the house without any foundation and still feel okay about how I look. That is HUGE for me!

Obviously I am still a work in progress. But I’m okay with that. I just want to be the best me that I can be. As long as I continue to improve I am happy. And every day I continue to make choices that benefit me in the long run. So I’m doing well. All in all, I am confident in the fact that this is how I will be eating and exercising for a long time to come. 🙂

A time to renew

Yesterday was an interesting day in terms of how the calendar lined up. It was the first day of Autumn which means that now the hours of night are long than day. It was also the end of the High Holy Days, and the day when the Book of Life is sealed for another year. This time of year has its challenges for many of us. For me it is a stressful time as I get closer to Thanksgiving. Every year of my life that I have spent that day with my maternal grandmother has been very difficult.

This year, though, my mom will be having surgery that month and my grandma is taking care of her post-op. This is great news because it means we can skip the big family get together! Maybe another relative will have everyone else over and I can spend the day with just my mom, the hubs, and the dogs. That would be a wonderful day for me to give thanks and focus on the truly important things in life.

I have also had some really good things happen in the fall, though. We are coming up on our 8th wedding anniversary. I get to see my sister and meet my nephew next month. We are also having a big family party for my niece’s birthday. So fall is definitely a time for celebrating in my life, too.

As the great wheel of time rolls forward this year I am thinking about using this time of darkness and hibernation as a chance to rest and rebuild myself. I am working on untangling some of the emotions tied up in my weight. I have been carrying them around and struggling with them for years, but I think I’m finally ready to unwind them and let them go.

How can I do that? Well, I’m not entirely sure. But I know that part of it will be to continue my meditative walking in nature. Part of it will be to accept the fact that I look like I do right now, and that’s okay. Part of it will be to continue to learn how to improve my health and well-being every day.

One thing I have been thinking of lately is how I look. I shared my weight loss progress with a coworker the other day. I was so excited that I’ve lost 28.6 lbs. He said it was great and asked if I can imagine how good I’ll look in a year. I’m sure he meant it in a positive way, although it’s not really a positive thing to say. I also tend to judge my appearance harshly on days I don’t heat-style my hair or if my makeup isn’t staying in place the way I think it should. Part of that comes from working in the beauty industry for so many years. Part of it has to do with my negative self talk.

The real question, though, is why do I need to wait to be beautiful? Can’t I be beautiful today at 320? Can’t I be beautiful with no makeup or natural hair? Why am I left out of what I consider beautiful? I understand that when I flat-iron or curl my hair, when I put on a full mask of makeup, I look beautiful. Did you catch that? I LOOK beautiful, but never accept that I AM beautiful.

So what I want to work on this winter is the transformation into seeing myself as beautiful. I will untangle all those nasty thoughts I have about myself and wrap them around me in a strong cocoon. When I am ready, I will pull myself out, strengthening myself as I go, just like a butterfly. And I will be able to see beauty in myself and see myself in beauty.

Metamorphosis

It’s a tall order, for sure, but one well worth the work. I was reading about a woman yesterday who cleans her hair with baking soda and vinegar. I have used that cleaning method in the past with great results. I looked at all of the lovely pictures of the woman and several others online and they all have such great natural hair. Why not me? So I am going to go “no ‘poo” as well and hopefully find some of that natural awesomeness in myself, too.

I have also been reading about barefoot living. I have been letting my feet out as often as I can and I even ordered some custom fit huaraches. It’s funny, in shoes my feet were never visibly soiled so I hardly ever actually washed them. Now that I am walking around my house constantly barefoot as well as outside a little and sometimes on trails my feet get washed often. They look so healthy from the gently scrubbing and I feel like my arches are starting to pull back up.

Maybe there is a beautiful person somewhere inside after all. Not hiding behind layers of fat, but hiding behind layers of social constructs. Fix your hair, wear the right shoes, look a certain way. All of these are just fleeting as style is fluid. Why bother? I can be myself and be amazing, right now. I do not need to lose any weight to be beautiful. 🙂

Feeling pretty and “fried” rice

I have been following Dr. McDougall’s guidelines for 6 weeks now. In that time I have lost 16.2 lbs. I have already seen improvements in my physiology. I am starting to see a difference in my appearance, too. I am starting to see definition in my cheeks. My hair is very shiny and soft.  My skin actually is glowing!

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I felt very pretty this morning when I took this picture. I have pants that were too tight just a few months ago that now are getting loose. I am fitting into clothes I couldn’t put on for a few years.
How am I doing this? Starch! I eat starch all day, every day. For breakfast I eat oatmeal with some currants and a bit of brown sugar. Lunch lately has been frozen corn with veggies. Dinner is where things get exciting. I eat a lot of potatoes and rice. When I have leftover rice, I love to make “fried” rice.

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I am lucky enough to work with an amazing woman who is originally from Beijing. We had a potluck once for which she brought in the best chicken fried rice I’ve ever had. And she was nice enough to share her method! Since I am no longer eating chicken or oil, I modified it to McDougall it! All the flavor, all the comfort, no oil or meat. And what a perfect way to use old rice! (Old rice – a day or two -absorbs the liquid better than fresh rice. But if you only have fresh, play around. You might like it more!)
First I throw a little water into my biggest nonstick pan, maybe 1/2″ deep, probably less. I set that on medium heat while I roughly chop an onion. I love onions so I use big ones. I add that to the pan and spread it out evenly. If I have garlic on hand I might chop a clove or three. Garlic cooks much faster than onion, but the water tempers the heat well. I usually add it when the onion is translucent. When that is fragrant, add some mixed frozen veggies. If you want it to cook faster, thaw the veggies first. Or use fresh veggies of choice. There is no wrong answer here. When everything is cooked until not quite done, add the rice. To this I add Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, but your favorite soy sauce or tamari will work, too. Sometimes I add a little garlic powder or other herbs and spices to make a more Asian flavor. I also usually add a splash of rice vinegar. When everything is heated through and the liquid has evaporated it’s done.

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Serve yourself a big bowl and season to taste. Look at all those starchy veggies! Yum!
This method does result in rice that is softer than restaurant fried rice. I am still trying to tweak my cooking to get a better brown. But it is certainly delicious. And much healthier!