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!

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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!

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… 🙂

50 lbs gone! And what it’s like to still have so far to go…

This morning I earned my 50 lb. award at Weight Watchers. I am currently having a love/hate relationship with my meeting. I love the meeting and members, but hate the new program. They are literally pushing animal protein on people. But the no counting plan is the same and I am following a modified version of that so I talk about that and how eating more whole grains and vegetables has dramatically helped me. I think people don’t really listen all the time, but getting presented with an award for losing 50 lbs. really gets their attention!

Enough about that. I am so happy that I have lost this much weight. I’m sure I have said it before, but I will say it again. I have never lost this much20151214_124353 weight before and it is amazing to me how easy it is to lose. I am a little frustrated with how slowly the weight is coming off right now, but I am still steadily moving down on the scale, so I cannot complain!

I got myself a reward for my accomplishment. I have wanted an activity tracker for quite some time now. I used to use a WW one, but when I rejoined I couldn’t get it to sync with my new account info. So I talked this over with M and let him know that I really wanted one. I had one all picked out: the Garmin Vivosmart HR. It is water resistant to 50 meters and automatically syncs with WW so I can see how many activity points I have earned. But, when I was checking out online last night, I saw another one. The Samsung Gear Fit watch has a nicer display and will autosync with my 20151214_154328Samsung phone that uses S Health. I have been getting notifications the past few days telling me to be more active. When I check my pedometer I can see how active I have been, but S Health has no idea. So I was pretty interested in a tracker that would meet all of my other goals. Plus, the display is way nicer and the band is changeable. And did I mention the sale?! I got it for $70 off!!! The sale is from Best Buy and the tracker was on sale for $79.99. I love it! I already had over 4000 steps from before I put it on so I am doing great.

One thing that is still hard, though, is how I think people think of me. I live in Oakland, CA and people are not particularly kind or patient in my area. This morning I took the dog for a walk as usual. I was wearing capri leggings and a tank top with a hoodie – my normal weigh in outfit. A car arrived at the 4 way stop while I was already in the intersection and then went before I made it onto the curb. I felt very self-conscious and in my head it was about my weight. I even imagined the person in the car saying something snarky about me in spandex. I wonder if this will go away as I lose more weight or if I will always worry that people are thinking the worst of me because of my size. I even was talking to M about eating and how people see someone like me. I feel like people think fat people don’t deserve to eat. It’s horrible to have this running dialogue inside me. I just hope that as I train and get strong and lean I can quiet this self-doubt.

I haven’t taken many photos lately, but here is a picture of a cute hairdo I did the other day. I felt pretty cute. I am starting to really see a difference in my face. It’s crazy to have lost so much weight, but still have so much to lose. I need to lost about 150 more to get to a normal BMI, but I’ll still be at the high end of the range. So I might want to lost about 165 to 170 more all together. It’s a lot, but I am just trying to focus on one day at a time and one meal at a time. In the mean time, I’m having cheese-less pizza for dinner that is ready now! 🙂 Talk to you soon!20151209_082105

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?

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!

A wonderful Sunday

 

45 lbs WW.jpg

This past weekend I received my 45 lbs award at Weight Watchers. It feels unreal to me that I have lost that much weight. I have never before lost this much weight at one time, doing anything! And I still don’t feel like I am on a diet.

As of my Sunday morning weigh in, I have lost a total of 46.2 lbs. I have regained a fairly normal menstrual cycle including symptoms of ovulation. I can measure my walks in miles now instead of blocks. For the most part my acne is clearing up. I still have a few breakouts throughout the month, but there are far fewer cysts to deal with. My complexion looks healthier. My skin has a natural glow now whereas before I had such a dull complexion. I have so much energy! I love to get up and take the dog for a walk, just because it feels good.

I still have issues with compliments. Yesterday and today friends told me how great I look. I still see the same body when I look in the mirror, so that is hard for me since I think I look the same. But it’s nice to get recognized. 🙂

My mother-in-law and I went for a walk on part of the SF Bay Trail. We started over where we could find parking and walked to the start of the bike bridge. It was over 3 miles each way! I was very tired when we got home, but still had enough energy for a Target run. Obviously!

While we were talking I thought about a book I recently started about a woman who did a triathlon in her 40s. She is very funny and I have been seriously thinking about doing one. I talked to a man in my meeting who does them regularly. He mentioned a series over the summer called “Tri for Fun” that is open to all levels and ages. Today I looked them up. And I’m in.

I’m going to do a triathlon next summer.

I have already found a place to practice swimming. I am not a strong swimmer. Let’s be honest here. I’m not a strong swimmer or bicycle rider and I don’t run! But I am going to train, and complete, the whole thing!

This is the gorgeous view I had on our way home last night. Love the Bay!SF Sunset 11-22-2015