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?

To weigh or not to weigh.

That is a question I am facing right now. As I move through my changing body and redefine my relationship with food and activity, one thing I still find myself obsessing over is the scale.

I can eat whatever, whenever without worrying about how much or how many of anything. I eat foods that fill me up and give me plenty of energy to make it through my day and beyond.

But there is still the scale.

I started eating a starch-based diet after purchasing a three month pass to Weight Watchers and the way I eat actually easily fits with the no counting plan – Simply Filling. The first few weeks I was okay with just weighing in once a week. But soon I found that amount of time to be overwhelming. How could I know how foods were affecting me if I had to wait a week to weigh myself to see a difference? And how would I know what caused what? Finally over the summer we bought a scale. At the time I was still over 330 lbs so I had to get a high capacity scale. I was a little frustrated by that, but am happy that now I have a great scale.

I immediately started weighing myself everyday. I make sure the scale goes with me if I spend the night somewhere else. This is the part that makes me think I might need to reevaluate how I feel about the scale. M asked the other day if I can just go a day without weighing. I felt panic rise up in my chest at the thought of missing a day and losing control. Needless to say, I brought the scale.

I have been watching some videos from High Carb Hannah on YouTube lately. She has done some amazing transformations with her diet, body, and life in general. It is totally inspiring to watch her videos. One thing she suggests is getting rid of the scale, or at least putting it away.

I just don’t think I can yet.

I am still experiencing fairly large swings in my weight from day to day. For example, Sunday morning I was at 303.6 at my meeting. Yesterday was 303 even. Today? 304.4. Did my eating change that much? Not really. I did eat a little more bread made with flour than I usually do, but not enough to explain a pound and a half gain. I am also on my period which causes major fluctuations in my weight. I am not that worried about it, but it is part of my consciousness so obviously I am a little stressed. I expect to see it go down, and am planning on earning my 50 lbs award this Sunday. We’ll see how it goes.

One thing WW is doing right now is asking members to rate their weeks BEFORE they weigh in. I don’t think I would be so comfortable doing that without knowing in advance what my weight was. I don’t really like that I need to know my weight before I can say how my week went, but I also am realistic about where I am in my journey. At this point, since I still am super morbidly obese I need the feedback that the scale gives me. I also need to see the results for my own satisfaction.

Do you weigh? How regularly? Does the scale define your satisfaction with your progress or are there other measures that are a better way to see how far you have come? Let’s talk about this!

Living on a plateau

I can see the edge. On one side of me it slopes up, fairly steeply, to my starting weight. On the other side is an abyss of the unknown. That side is where my end is, far out of sight, at this point a mere illusion. Somewhere down there beneath the fog surrounding this precipice is true health and my end weight. It’s still a blur since I don’t have a weight I am getting back to, like my wedding weight or high school weight that is a healthy end goal. I am venturing into a realm I have never existed in before.

When I first started this journey I was losing weight very quickly. The first week I lost over 5 lbs. There are still times when the weight comes off so quickly it scares me a little. And there are a lot of emotions that come up as the weight comes off. When it is too rapid I get uneasy and feel like I’m in a bit of a free fall. So hitting a plateau or even a slight gain helps me regain my footing a bit.

I think that is what has been going on. I lost a lot of weight very quickly, 40 lbs in less than 4 months. That left me unsure of where I am at and where I am going. I also have a lot of emotional knots around Thanksgiving.

My sister recently visited from Europe with her baby which was amazing. During that time we had a family/friend party that brought up a lot of the same dysfunctional family dynamics that make November such a difficult month. There was a very tense moment between my mom and grandma that left everyone else uncomfortable. The party was open-house style on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night after we finished cleaning up I was so unhappy that as I sat at the kitchen table crying I told my mom that I wanted to eat until I couldn’t feel anything anymore. It was the first time in my life that I have ever acknowledged that tendency out loud in the moment of crisis. I did not binge. Instead I went to bed with the ball of misery sitting on my chest. Sunday morning I was up early with my nieces who had spent the night. We watched a few cartoons, then I was out the door to Weight Watchers. It was a great meeting and a wonderful celebration for my 40 lbs award. As soon as I got back to the house, though, the mayhem continued. After the first few people arrived I excused myself and took my time styling my hair and putting on some makeup. I was having a hard time since every few minutes I would burst into tears. But I eventually put on a cute dress, hardened a smile onto my face, and went out to spend time with the growing crowd.

The next morning we had a visit from another friend. She arrived while I was eating breakfast, still in my pjs. She and my mom got into it over how things had been handled with my grandma. Since this was about a month before everyone was supposed to go back to my mom’s for Thanksgiving I tried to steer the conversation toward a resolution. What’s done is done. How can we move forward in a way that makes gatherings better for everyone? This resulted in a conversation that lasted hours during which we voiced hurts that have been haunting us for years. My mom has traumas she has been carrying around since childhood. I have traumas I have been carrying around since childhood. My sister has traumas she has been carrying around since childhood. I cannot even recall most of what came out that day. I just remember sitting at the dining table with tears streaming down my face and my sister sitting across from me staring at me with such intensity whispering that she can see how much I am suffering. I felt visible for the first time ever. It was very intense.

I am not sure what that conversation accomplished. It left me feeling so ragged. I will say that my sister was amazing. The way she looked at me and hugged me when I needed it, I don’t even have words for. I was able to say some things that had been festering inside for years. It was such a relief to get them out. Like lancing an abscess. But what now? How do encourage healing? How do I move forward with the rest of my life? How do I let those old hurts go?

I am not sure of what the answers are for any of those questions. I do know that I am not going to the family Thanksgiving this year. While that is a huge weight off of my shoulders, I am sad that I am going to miss seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles, and everyone else. But I am very glad that I get to avoid the negativity that surrounds my experience of every Thanksgiving with my grandma.

With all of this bubbling up to the surface lately I am not surprised that I haven’t lost any weight since my sister left. This year I miss her more than I have in a long time.

I am trying to deal with all of these emotions and release the ones that are no longer helping me. It is not an easy task. I do know that this is a huge part of the plateau. When I am able to get past the emotional stuff I will move past this weight. I think patience is one of the hardest parts of losing weight. Sometimes, though, there is nothing I can do to speed it up and this is just one of those times.

In the meantime, I changed work locations so I no longer have a 2 to 3 hour commute. I have been taking the bus which requires a moderate amount of brisk walking on top of the dog walking I usually do. It feels so good to start my day by getting my blood flowing! I arrive to work early (most days) with a gorgeous flush that looks like what professional makeup artists use a ton of blush to achieve. It also makes me feel very accomplished to hit my step goal so early in the day. I do think it’s time to up my goal, though. 🙂

For now, I am just going to live on this plateau. I will walk around the edges, look up at where I came from, look down at where I’m going, and enjoy the view. I feel so much better physically than I have in such a long time. I love having the energy to go walking as often as I do. I love feeling pretty with no makeup and seeing my skin continue to improve every month. So why not enjoy where I am at this point in my journey? Sure I wish the scale was moving down again, but maybe I just need to take this time to see why my heart is so heavy before my body will release any more weight. That is my focus for now.

Enjoy your fall! I hope everyone has a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving with people you love. I also hope Halloween was great for you. 🙂 Here is my makeup for the work costume contest. I had skeleton arm warmers, too. Fun!Halloween 15

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. 🙂

10% gone, now what?

Last Sunday I hit my 10% weight loss goal at my Weight Watchers meeting. It was fun to celebrate and I am very proud of myself for the hard work I have put in to change my health for good. And yet, I feel almost lost now. What do I focus on next? My ultimate goal is still so far away I cannot even fathom focusing on that yet. I could just focus on getting below 300 lbs, but that seems almost anticlimactic since it’s about half of what I have done so far.

I also have no idea what my life or my identity will look like when I get to “goal.” What is “goal” anyway? It’s definitely not a finish line where now I’m done. My health is a life-long commitment and I will work every single day for the rest of my life to ensure I don’t end up as sick as I have been. I also know for certain that if I stop following Dr. McDougall’s general dietary recommendations I will regain my weight and end up right back where I started. Or heavier.

I have had people recently tell me that it’s okay to eat oil every now and then and also that it’s not like I’m allergic to it. However, we took my uncle out last weekend for his birthday and my food was SO OILY that I was sick to my stomach for a few days. I ate only cooked vegetables so I could not have gotten sick from bad meat or any of the other things that causes tummy troubles from eating out. I know for certain that it was the excess fat in the meal that made me sick.

One thing I’m afraid of is that I will have to constantly fight with people to justify eating the way I am, even when my meals do not affect them in any way! Why are people so defensive about their food choices that someone choosing to eat differently is such a threat? I don’t understand that.

I am also dealing with some fear of losing weight at this point. When I was young I was assaulted by a man who tried to rape me. It sucked and I didn’t know what to do so I internalized it. I know that I have used my fat as a buffer to keep me feeling safe. But I had this physique when that happened and I still get unwanted attention, as big as I am now. So what can I do to make myself feel safe now? I am not sure. I am working on addressing the fear as it arises and strengthening my body so that I feel powerful. I also will probably take a self defense class in the next few months. I think that’s all I can do for now. But it’s enough and I’m okay.

In the meantime and in keeping with the ideas I brought up in my last post (found here) I am working on liking myself without a lot of modification. About two weeks ago I stopped using shampoo. Then a week ago I stopped using face wash. I am using way less makeup and trying to find ways to style my hair without a lot of heat. This is what I looked like today before I left for work.

No 'poo for the win!
No ‘poo for the win!

I am happy with how I look today, even though I used a curling and a flat iron. But overall, I am doing way less to make my hair presentable and I am so happy I don’t need to put on foundation anymore. I am wearing a bit of concealer under my eyes and a touch of cover up on my acne spots with a light dusting of powder to set it. I also do eyeliner and mascara just about everyday. Today I added a quick swipe of a creamy, sparkly gold shadow pencil over the regular liner. Compare that routine to what I used to do: foundation, concealer, cover up, powder, blush, bronzer, highlighter, eye shadow base, two to three colors of eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, eyebrow pencil. I did that everyday for years! So it is very refreshing and empowering for me to be able to show so much skin on my face with confidence.

If you are interested in learning about why I don’t use shampoo anymore, ask me in the comments. There are a ton of people who do “no ‘poo” and I love how soft my hair is already. Here are a few more silly pictures I took. I am happy that I am starting to like my natural self. 🙂

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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. 🙂

My first gain, and how it is affecting me today

I have now been back on Weight Watchers for 13 weeks, and following the McDougall guidelines for 10 of those. In that time, I have lost 25.8 lbs total, which is fantastic! I am getting close to hitting a milestone of losing 10% of my starting weight. I feel amazing everyday.

However, this week I had gained weight. I bought a scale not too long ago so I could have daily feedback about my dietary choices. Usually it goes down steadily. If I indulge myself and buy a loaf of sourdough bread I see it go up for a couple of days before settling to lower than before the bread. I understand these little fluctuations are often a result of how much of the foods I’m eating are being absorbed by my body. In the case of the sourdough, I know the finely ground flour is much more easily absorbed than whole corn kernels. So it makes sense to gain weight.

But this week was different. I have not eaten much regular bread (made with white flour). I did eat a lot of corn tortillas and I made ugali with masa harina the night before I weighed in. So maybe the corn was ground finely enough to be absorbed like wheat flour. Or maybe it has to do with where I am in my cycle. I’m not entirely sure.

I did see the scale at home creep up for a few days before I weighed in on Sunday.

I remember in the past how upset I would get over a gain like this week. I’m up 1.4 lbs which is not that much. And this morning it was already going back down.

I still remember the very first week I gained weight at WW. It was over a decade ago. I had been following the program to the letter. I had lost consistently for several weeks straight. I was weighing in in the evenings so it’s quite possible I had eaten differently or maybe had some extra water. But I was crushed. When I saw that number on the scale higher than the week before my face fell and I was close to tears. I still remember the staff member who was helping me. To this day she is my favorite of all WW staff members, which says a lot because I love most of them! Her name was Fred and she asked me if I had been following the program. I explained that I had. Then she asked about my cycle. I was a little embarrassed by that question, but she assured me that we retain water at different times. She then said that if we couldn’t figure it out, we would call it a vegetable and it wouldn’t count!

This was not like that. I knew I was going to be up on the scale. I am also okay with it. 12 straight weeks of loss followed by one of gain is a trend I am quite happy with! I know that there will be ups and downs on this journey. Considering my ultimate goal weight is over 200 lbs less than my starting weight it would be completely unrealistic to expect to not gain weight occasionally.

But, I do not intend to make this a regular pattern, either. I am working on incorporating more starchy veggies instead of just grains. Potatoes and sweet potatoes help me shed pounds easily so that is where I am choosing to focus my meals for now. It works out perfectly since the weather has cooled a bit. Tonight might be a good night for potato leek soup! Or just steamed sweet potatoes with spicy black beans and salsa.

All in all, I would say that while I am not thrilled to have gained weight this week I am not horribly upset, either. I think it is a normal part of this process. And it’s okay to gain weight occasionally. I am just going to continue to take this one meal at a time, one walk at a time. I know that a year from now I will be in much better health, so what’s a pound and a half this week? 🙂

My new persona

In the past week I have been called inspiring, brave, and a role model. I am quite taken aback by this because in all honesty I’m just talking out loud (or here) about my experiences. A fellow Weight Watchers member remarked that I did a drastic diet change. I started talking to him about why and what the true motivation behind this life-altering dietary path was. It was amazing to have such positive feedback from just telling my story.

What’s funny about that is that I love success stories. I love reading or hearing about how someone else lost weight, what they were thinking, how they changed their diet and activity, and how it changed how they see themselves. There is another Weight Watcher I am still star-struck by. He lost over 100 lbs and is a fantastic individual. I love that he friended me on Facebook and still get excited when he wants to talk to me at meetings. I see myself dealing with so many of the same challenges that face him every day. So why would I not think anyone might see me in the same way?

One thing I do is show how vulnerable I am. I talk openly about my feelings, my weaknesses, and when I’m struggling. I also like to share what is helping and working well. I think, though, it’s seeing someone overcome some kind of adversity that makes that person seem more inspiring. And in that way, I am happy to continue sharing the hard parts along this journey. 🙂

I am noticing, though, that my reaction is changing. Since I started following Dr. McDougall’s recommendations I am eating a lot more carbohydrate than I used to which is giving me a TON of energy. I don’t think that was enough emphasis. I have A TON of energy!!! These days I am waking up on my own usually between 530 and 6 am. I don’t usually get up, but I have some quiet time to read while the hubs sleeps a little more. Then around 7 I get up and take Sammy for his morning stroll. If M is around and has time he comes, too. It’s not too far, just around the outside of two city blocks that includes a slight incline/decline depending on direction. But it’s about 1500 steps and 20 minutes of nice movement. Then I do my regular workday stuff. At work I sit at a desk in a highly visible workspace so I don’t have much freedom in terms of office workouts. However, the building is nice a big so several times a day I take a lap. If there are a lot of people in my path I zigzag through the aisles adding more steps along the way. I find that I actually need to do this since sitting for too long is causing discomfort in my legs. What?! Yes. Amazing, right?! When I get home I am usually pretty antsy since I sit in a decent amount of traffic. I change my clothes quickly and M and Sammy and I head out. In the evenings we go for a much longer walk, often about twice as the usual two-block walk, sometimes more. Recently we went up the hills a few blocks from us. Each time we go I get stronger and can take more incline, which is great! Most days I walk between 6000 and 8000 steps. Some days, usually my off days, we do much more. Yesterday we did over 13,000 including a trip to the store. Today, my feet are sore, but I still have energy!

I am trying to figure out how to walk without hurting myself, though. I am currently wearing some shoes that were designed as walking shoes. However, I am reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (I don’t think there’s a relation to the Dr.) which talks specifically about the biomechanics involved in moving forward. The book is specifically about running, obviously, but has made me aware of my foot strike and shoe issues. I have been reading about how to strengthen my feet so that they can support me in motion without causing me to limp for a day or so afterward. Eventually I hope to run in the style described in the book. Having less weight will help, but having the right form is better.

A year ago I would not have believed it if someone told me that I would want to start running. I have always hated running. The only game that uses running I ever liked was tennis and I haven’t played that since the summer before 5th grade! In middle and high school I was never able to run a full mile. I could run and walk together, but my best time was still about 15 minutes. No records broken here! Yet, I feel something in me when we go into the woods yearning to just take off like a wild spirit. I also feel it as we walk around the lake or along the beach. It’s something in the wind. Reading this book has given me hope that I may be able to learn a technique that will allow me to start running in a way that won’t cause permanent damage and will let me go far enough to feel that freedom I long for.

I am starting to feel it when I walk. Especially in the woods. I told M yesterday that I am starting to feel peace in my heart. It is like a small lake, surrounded by mountains, with crystal blue water and a mirror-like smoothness. Not a single ripple across the whole surface. It is simply beautiful. When I told my mom about the inner lake she asked me if I understand what she always meant when she told me to “let it go.” I said I was starting to get it. She said that was the best news I’ve ever told her in my 33 years of life. It was a great conversation.

I know a lot of the changes have to do with the antidepressant I am taking. I don’t know if I will ever not need to take it. But that’s okay. It is simply one more tool I am using to live the life I want. A lot of it has to do with the foods I’m eating as well. Having so much extra energy in my body has literally caused me to want to get up and go for a walk when no amount of guilt or rationale worked. I honestly WANT to get up and go for another walk! It’s amazing! The diet has cause physiological changes that are affecting my mental and emotional state. The interconnectedness is astounding. And who knew something as simple as boiled potatoes and sprouted whole wheat bread would have such a far-reaching effect on my whole life?

I am adjusting to this new part of me as well as I can. It is surreal to receive such positive feedback from so many people. It is also a little strange to feel so happy and motivated! After so many years of wanting to stay in bed all day I kind of love getting out of the house. I do worry about a relapse so I try to just take it one day at a time. I rarely make advanced plans, just in case. But on a whim I am finding myself up for just about anything! And I love it!