Monday, June 23, 2014
About a year ago, I decided to embark on a journey to see if my gut flora needed to be reset. I chose to follow my father-in-law's candida diet ( https://www.wrc.net/index.php?option
I decided to ease into the full diet, since it's very restrictive and must be followed as perfectly as possible for three to six months. I decided to do the full six months.
So in June, I cut dairy. All dairy (except butter, which is just fat anyway). No more cheese, no more yogurt, no more ice cream, nothing. Seven weeks later, at the beginning of August, I had lost six pounds and I cut added sugar and sweeteners. I don't like "fake sugar" anyway, but I've also read that eating things like Splenda and Stevia and aspartame (etc.) still prompts your body to produce insulin as if you'd eaten sugar... it just doesn't spike your blood sugar levels as well. I don't see how that's good for you.
In the next month, I lost another six pounds. Next on the chopping block was yeast. I lost nine pounds in a month. Then I cut flour and lost four pounds in six weeks. And then I started the full diet, and I lost another 11 lbs over the course of the next nine weeks, at which point I started drinking something I didn't realize was sugar-heavy and I gained about three pounds in the next nine weeks, at which point I was finished the diet and started adding things back into my life.
At the start of this adventure, I weighed 246 lbs even. At my lowest weight, I was 210.5 lbs. When I finished, I weighed 214 lbs.
I currently weigh 236 lbs.
That's 22 lbs gained since I started eating sugar and yeast and dairy again. It's been 11 weeks.
So, let's review the data.
7 weeks - no dairy - 6 lbs lost - 0.86 lbs/wk
4 weeks - no sweeteners - 6 lbs lost - 1.5 lbs/wk
4 weeks - no yeast - 9 lbs lost - 2.25 lbs/wk
6 weeks - no flour (of any kind) - 4 lbs lost - 0.67 lbs/wk
9 weeks - full diet - 11 lbs lost - 1.2 lbs/wk
9 weeks - some sugar - 4 lbs gained - 0.4 lbs/wk
11 weeks - free for all - 22 lbs gained - 2 lbs/wk
Based on this data, sweeteners and yeast are the two biggest culprits in my weight gain. Which makes sense when you consider the fact that yeast is in bread, which I have been known to eat far too much of, and that I am a sugar addict. (I do not use the term "addict" lightly here; the way I am with sugar is awfully similar to addiction.)
I didn't do this diet to lose weight, but I did because restrictive diets always cause you to lose weight. And I'm glad I did it and kept a record of what I weighed when and when I added something to the do not eat list, because now I have this data that shows me where my problems really lie. I would also like to point out that I didn't really change my activity level at all throughout this process; it was just as sporadic as it ever has been, and since I'm not allowed to run anymore (because I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot) I was either walking or riding a recumbent bike at the gym.
So I am going to try and cut yeast and sweeteners again, and see what happens. I'm also hoping to get back to walking at least four days a week (more, if possible).
Cutting these things from my diet is not easy. I like them. But at least I know what is safe and what isn't safe now; I avoided them for six (or more) months, after all!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
When I was younger (we're talking 20 years ago here) I would make disparaging comments about models in magazines and had uncharitable thoughts about skinny people at school and elsewhere. I still do from time to time, but I've been working on keeping myself from doing that because it's not who I want to be, it's not a very Christian kind of attitude to have, and I've realized that people have self-image issues at all sizes, not just larger sizes. Picking on people because of their perceived weight is mean and unnecessary.
For these photos, please remember that I am 5'9" tall and have a large frame.
This is a picture of me at Christmas time in 2000. That dress was a size 16. I weighed between 180 and 200 lbs back then.
A few months later, in straight-leg jeans and an awesome sweater that I don't think I have anymore.
Here I am in July 2003. Ironically(?), I am standing next to a photo of myself and my two oldest brothers when I was six years old. I think I weighed about 200 lbs at that point.
This is me in August 2008, at my heaviest: 255 lbs.
Here's a wedding photo. July 2010, 243 lbs.
These were taken today. This morning I weighed in at 213.5 lbs.
At all of these weights I was a plus size. I currently wear a size 16-18, depending on the style and the store. In those first photos I was a 14-16, and at those largest sizes I was an 18-20.
I'm talking about this because of the kinds of comments I see on things like this: https://www.facebook.com/additionell
e/posts/10151920447797428 (Link is to a photo on Addition Elle's Facebook Page - AE is a Canadian plus size clothing store - where many women over a size 20 are adamant that sizes 14 and 16 are absolutely not plus size.)
I know that larger people are excluded a lot, but we need to stop excluding other large people just because they're a little smaller than we are. I'm a plus size woman and I will always be a plus size woman because of my large frame. I'm okay with this. I don't feel the need - anymore - to defend "my people" by putting down people who are smaller than I am. Of course, I am also rather offended by those who are larger than I am who say that I don't count because I don't meet some random standard of "big enough to be plus size."
I'm not saying that there aren't problems in the modeling world. I'm not saying that the plus size fashion industry is perfect. It's better than it was when I started wearing plus size clothes (note that I jumped from a girls' size 16 to a women's size 12 when I was 13 years old and I don't think I'll ever be that small again) but it's definitely got some improvements to make.
I'm also not saying that skinny people are all really nice to us fat people, because that's not true either. Large people get made fun of a lot, and it sucks no matter what.
I'm saying that making fun of other people to make yourself feel better about yourself is wrong. It doesn't strengthen you. It makes you a bully. It shows your weakness.
Instead of tearing others down, try building them up. And build yourself up, too.
Not "She's too skinny to be healthy," but "Wow, she's really thin!" and "I have pretty wrists."
Not "You can't be plus size if you're under a size 20," but "Plus size starts at size 14 and we're all beautiful, no matter our size!" and "I love the way that maxi dress looks on me, it accentuates my curves."
We are all beautiful, no matter our size. There is no exclusion in that. Find your beauty, and look for it in others.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I'm going to head to bed soon, but I wanted to post SOMETHING in February!
I've been keeping track of my food and exercise pretty well. I miss a few days here and there, just because I'm busy or don't want to have to figure out how many chips I actually ate or something like that.
I decided to start buying 10-packs of tickets to get into the leisure centre. The tickets are good at any leisure centre in the city, though I have one I mostly go to. I can spend a ticket for a drop-in class or the weight room (which also has cardio equipment), and if I do swimming I can use the weight room as well, on the same ticket. I bought a lock so I don't have to buy tokens for the pay lockers and can use the regular lockers to stash my stuff. The tickets are more cost-effective than any of the other options, since I don't often go to a leisure centre more than twice a week. This means the tickets will last me anywhere from five weeks to ten weeks. My first pack of ten just finished last week, and I started my new one today.
I'm back doing aquacise on Monday mornings, and then if I'm in town all day again during the week, I can do that again or go to the weight room at the leisure centre I go to and ride the recumbent bike or use a treadmill. (Tomorrow I'm going to do the bike or treadmill because my swimsuit is probably going to be wet still in the morning.)
I am also going to the weight room sometimes in the evening mid-week when I do my community access shift, as the person I work with often wants to go work out.
I also count cleaning the guinea pig cages on Fridays as moderate-heavy housework, as it involves multiple trips up and down the stairs carrying full laundry baskets, a lot of bending and lifting of soiled towels and blankets, and of course catching the piggers and putting them in a separate pen while I clean. I always work up a sweat when I do that job!
And I decided to shovel the front walk and the porch and steps on a semi-regular basis, because if the snow builds up too much on the steps I often feel like I'm going to topple off and do a faceplant in the snow!
I want to explain something really quickly. If you look at my nutrition tracker for the last couple of weeks and keep looking right up until Easter, you'll see a trend that might seem alarming: during the week I'm rarely getting more than 1000 calories in a day.
Here's why that shouldn't alarm you: I'm fasting for Lent. Normally I wouldn't even mention it, but when I'm tracking and my trackers are visible, it's kind of obvious.
Basically, I'm eating dinner every day during the week but not breakfast or lunch. I am drinking a meal replacement shake on a day that I do a lot of exercise, like on cage-cleaning day or after aquacise or whatever, but for the most part I'm not eating. I'm not really restricting in that I'm not trying to stay below a particular calorie range or anything like that, and I'm eating normal, healthy food when I break my fast each evening. I have done this before and my health did not suffer, so please don't worry about me!
During this break from eating three meals a day, I'm taking time with God and taking time to think about what I want to do after Easter. How do I want to nourish my body? What kinds of food do I really want to put into my system?
I'm considering limiting dairy to one day a week, probably Friday since we're already eating vegetarian on Fridays anyway. We can never go totally vegetarian, because animal proteins are really important for my brain function, and because my husband has experienced the kinds of problems his brain has when he eats vegetarian all the time (it's apparently not pretty and he gets kind of delirious and stuff), but one or two days a week is not a problem.
I'm trying to figure out what breakfast will look like the rest of the week since this will require me to find other sources of protein besides cheese (difficult when I dislike nut spreads). Lunch will also be a bit of a problem sometimes, but I think dinner will be pretty easy since we're primarily a meat-and-potatoes kind of family anyway. I can make casseroles that don't use cheese in them, and save the cream soups for Fridays.
The change with the dairy is because I am lactose intolerant, and I think I need to start respecting the fact that my body doesn't like dairy. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the physical and mental difficulties I experience are due to excessive dairy consumption.
We already eat primarily whole grains, so I don't see much change in our future there. I buy whole wheat pasta and have been buying 100% whole wheat bread (and am going to start baking it again this week), and multi-grain bagels (which I also hope to start making myself).
I think the biggest change I want to make after Easter is to the amount - and type - of vegetables I eat. I want to start eating things that grow around here, which means that during the winter and spring I'll be eating frozen and canned veggies and fruits - not fresh, because stuff doesn't really grow here in the winter. I know people who are into clean eating will be absolutely horrified, but it struck me a little while ago that eating all these things from all over the world could well be part of the problem when it comes to our health. I know frozen and canned foods are processed, but if you're careful about what kind you buy it's not really a big deal, and honestly I think it makes a lot more sense to eat what's around where you live than things from far away. Once in a while, a banana is okay as a treat, but trust me, bananas do not actually grow in Saskatchewan, and eating them in the winter is apparently bad for you anyway. So while I like bananas a lot, I think it will probably be better for me to avoid them for the most part.
See, I live in a place where lots of different things grow, but it's also a place where we have winter for over half the year. (Seriously. It snowed in I think October 2012 and it's nowhere near time for it to melt.) The only way to have vegetables here - especially if you want to eat things you grew yourself - is to preserve them somehow, and that means canning and freezing. So for now, I'll be buying at the grocery store, but this summer we're hoping to have a garden, and I'm going to try to make sure I buy things from the local farmers' markets, and then I'm going to try my hand at canning. We'll see how that goes. I'd do freezing too, but we'd need to get a working deep freeze first and I don't know that we'll be able to do that in time.
Anyway, that is where I am at right now with all of this stuff.
And now it is high time I feed the guinea pigs and get to bed.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
I've been absent from SparkPeople for a VERY long time. I had to leave because there was just too much going on in my life, and I was getting overwhelmed by all of the demands. But now that Christmas is over and I feel a bit more organized in general, I thought I would come back and give this a try again.
I'm starting small. I had joined the new January challenge group, but realized quickly that my life is just not set up in such a way that I can really commit to something so stringent. So I've left the group, and that's really okay.
Right now I'm focusing on tracking my nutrition and my exercise, and I'm trying to get some cardio in every day. Some days that's easier than others, of course, but my hope is that I can at least get out for a walk every day and that will help get/keep me in shape so that when the roads are no longer dangerous I can get back to running. My fitness goal for this year is to finally get to the point where I can run for a full 30 minutes without stopping. I don't care how far I go in that 30 minutes, just that I can do it. When I get there, I'll figure out a new goal, either in terms of distance or time.
I'm only weighing myself once a week, on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. I recently read that it makes little sense to weigh yourself on a Monday, since if you have a "cheat day" it's probably on the weekend and we do tend to spend the weekends being less on top of things than during the week anyway. But by Tuesday or Wednesday, you've lost any water weight you gained and you're back in the swing of things. I used to weigh every day, because if you take the average of your weights for a full week, you have a more clear idea of what you weigh, but I think I like this idea better. It's less time-intensive and requires less thought, which is important to me, especially since my goal isn't actually to lose weight or dress sizes. I just want to run that 30 minutes without stopping.
Something else I'm trying to do this year is stop considering "productivity" to be the most important thing about my life. How many items I cross off my to-do list each day is not important. (Which is good, because my to-do list is really long most days.) What matters is that I'm working towards my goals and having fun at the same time. So if I take a morning off from housework and read a book instead, that's okay. Housework can wait if I'm enjoying a book that much. (Yes, we do still need clean dishes to eat off of, but they can be done after I eat lunch; I don't HAVE to do all of my housework in the morning, after all.)
So far, so good. I need to make sure I meet my work deadlines, of course, and I still have really long to-do lists. But most of the things on my list aren't things that absolutely HAVE to be done that day. I can put them off until tomorrow or next week if I want to. What matters is that I am having fun and achieving the things that are important to me.
This change in thinking is weird, and hard. We live in a world where goals are supposed to be measurable and time-sensitive. Everything I learned when I was working with autistic children is basically the opposite of what I'm doing with my life right now. But that's okay. I still have goals, after all, and I've got them broken down into little things, smaller things that I can focus on a little bit every day. It's much more relaxed, more enjoyable, and far less anxiety-inducing.
Okay, that last one isn't totally true. I've had a few days so far where I've felt an amorphous anxiety that I couldn't really place. I couldn't think of why I would feel anxious. But I've realized that it's because I'm changing things, and that makes me uncomfortable. I'm not used to so much freedom, being allowed to "fail" at achieving things I've decided I must do in a day. I'm not used to being able to just decide, on a whim, that I'm not gonna do that thing today because I don't feel like it, and that being absolutely okay. It's going to take some doing. But I have been working toward this for YEARS, and I think it's time to really do it.
So my life isn't about productivity anymore, it's about living.
Sounds good to me.
Monday, May 14, 2012
I've been more active on SparkPeople, using the trackers and all, and I've mostly been good about my eating habits (though there's a reason I didn't track for three days this past weekend). However, I decided today that I should probably drop the challenge that I joined at the beginning of the month.
If you've got me on your friend feed, you may have seen me talking about a sick guinea pig I've been hand-feeding. Here's the story on that.
I'm starting a guinea pig rescue with my friend C, and back in February or March she rescued and rehomed a pair of females (I provided a cage as I had four large ones at the time). At the beginning of April, she rescued a 4yo female, and then a little later she brought home a 4mo male.
C has three pet guinea pigs, like I do, except hers are all female (sows) and mine are all male (boars). C also lives in a one-bedroom apartment with her fiance, and I of course live in an actual house with my husband. Both of us have tortie cats, but C's Lily isn't even a year old yet, and of course my Roy is four and a half.
C kept the two rescue pigs for as long as she could, but finally last Monday I went over and picked them up to bring them to my house. They are in cages in our TV room, in the basement (there is a window that gets decent light, and I leave the light on in the room all day for them).
The little guy, H/B (we can't decide if he should keep his original name, Hershey, or if Bandit is more suitable - what do you think?), is doing well. He's slowly getting braver and the other day he let me pet his nose through the bars of his cage. He is really cute and I think he'll be fairly easy to find a new home for, assuming we can find someone who has a male already (I would prefer not to adopt out single pigs to homes where they will live by themselves, as guinea pigs are social animals and do better in groups of at least two). Someone with a spayed female is also a possibility, though I suppose H/B could be neutered to let him go to a home where there is an unaltered female. We'll have to see.
Here are some pictures of him:
Sandy, the older girl (and four is more middle-aged than ancient), was really underweight when I picked her up. I have been hand-feeding her and weighing her regularly since last Tuesday, and she went to the vet on Friday afternoon. She has a urinary tract infection (UTI) and is on antibiotics for that. She is also on pain medication as she is obviously in pain. She has air in her stomach and in her intestines, as well. So I am hand-feeding her multiple times a day and massaging her abdomen to keep things moving in there. She gets her antibiotics twice a day, which means poop soup (my boys are happy to provide fresh poops; poop soup is basically guinea pig probiotics, as they aren't supposed to be given milk products like yogurt since they can't digest it, and fresh poop from a healthy guinea pig is better for active probiotics than the stuff you buy at the store) twice a day too, and then she gets the painkiller once a day.
Here are some pictures of Sandy:
She is a sweetheart and I really hope she pulls through. It is time-consuming to hand-feed her (takes about half an hour each feeding), but it is worth it if it will help her get better.
So that is why I had to drop out of the challenge I was in. There simply isn't time to do all of the exercising and tracking required, plus look after the housework, plus do my normal animal care for the three guinea pigs that are my actual pets, plus nurse poor little Sandy!
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