Thursday, March 07, 2013
I didn't gain weight overnight - I gained it over 2 years. 40lbs to be exact. 20lbs a year.
Ouch. That was some serious margarita and cheesecake overload.
When I became overweight, I went into a weird kind of denial. Anorexics see themselves as too fat when they are too thin. I was the reverse; I saw myself as thin even I went from a size 4 to 14.
As I bought larger and larger pants, I rationalized that I just had a 'few' pounds to lose. "We all put on a little weight," I thought.
A friend of mine recently developed an old roll of film (from when we still had film cameras!). I was truly stunned by who I saw. Was it really me?
This one wasn't from that roll, but I came across it today and noted the date: March 7, 2003. Exactly 10 years ago today.
Maybe I'll be brave enough to share the others one day.
It took me about 10 years to figure out all the right pieces to reverse this. I fit into a size 4 or 6 (depending on the designer) these days. The muffin top, side rolls and double chin are gone.
My body's not perfect. My butt is J-lo like; my thighs touch. I can pinch an inch (hurray for Spanx!) You'll never see me post a bikini photo for my success story - it feels too exposed (no pun intended).
As I get older, I see the clock ticking with the growing lines on my face. I discover a few gray hairs emerging now and then. Tomorrow I won't be as young as I am today.
And yet I am still healthier and happier than I was 10 years ago.
Even if it took me 10 years, it all started with day one.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
For the past few months, I've been doing something I never thought possible: I eat when hungry, not on a set schedule.
I used to follow this set schedule:
When I was eating too little protein and too many carbs, I was constantly hungry. My entire day revolved around my next meal. I was always hungry.
These days my meals are variable. The only true set meal that I always eat is breakfast. I eat breakfast whether hungry or not. If I don't, then I become sluggish mid-morning, and ravenous by lunch. If I'm not very hungry when I wake up, I eat a very light breakfast. If I'm hungry, I eat a bigger breakfast.
Mid morning snack is almost a thing of the past. If I eat the right breakfast, I cruise until lunch. I'm usually ready for lunch between 11:30-2pm.
I usually have an afternoon snack if I eat lunch earlier.
Dinner I almost always set at around 6:30pm, but last night I wasn't hungry at all, so I fixed something for my husband and nothing for me. My late afternoon snack killed my appetite for dinner.
If I'm not hungry, I don't eat.
However, it's not quite so straightforward as that. There is another variable: activity level.
If I notice that my appetite is low and I'm not eating much, it means that I need more activity. When I'm very active, I'm hungry more often. Heavy activity usually means more snacks.
If I have low activity and low appetite, it means my metabolic needs are slowing down, and my body is down shifting. High activity revs up metabolic needs.
Since my appetite seems to be slowing down, it's time for me to engage in more activity. I miss having the gym at my old apartment, but with the new house, there's yard work to be done. I need to get my bike tuned up so I can start exploring the bike paths in our new neighborhood. For now, it'll have to be sessions with Jillian Michael's workout videos.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
It's midweek, and my goal of zero waste March isn't quite zero. I had to throw away an onion that became rotten. But it was in a brand new bag that I just bought, so it wasn't due to neglect! I didn't inspect the bag well enough when I bought it, or it became bruised during the trip home. Some vegetables can be saved by just cutting off the bad part, but I didn't like the look of it when I cut into it, so I threw it out.
Other than that, my plan is going well. I've done the following:
- Cut up chunks of meat that we bought in bulk and placed them in Food Saver bags for freezing.
- Week old tomatoes were pureed with onions and a bell pepper for a delicious tomato sauce over meatballs.
- Bought a large package of fresh basil, and made pesto. I portioned the pesto out into ice cube trays for freezing. Now whenever I want to add basil to a dish, I just throw in one of the frozen pesto cubes.
- Mini cucumbers cut into snack portions for dipping in hummus. The rest were put into a pickle jar with a simple boiling vinegar/water and dill weed solution. I put them in the refrigerator when cool. Homemade refrigerator pickles really can be as simple as that. Unlike store bought pickles which have been cooked to death, my pickles retain their cucumber-y flavor.
Looking what's in the fridge today, it looks like I'll be making a Thai pork stir-fry because I have pork, bell peppers, and onions that need cooking. I'll be making an asian cabbage slaw because I also have half a cabbage. I'll serve that in place of rice tonight. Extra veggies are always a win.
Mid week is looking good. Unless we have a surprise power outtage, I think this week will come out a win against unnecessary, preventable food waste.
For those of you trying this goal with me, how are things going for you?
Sunday, March 03, 2013
I've got a pretty good handle on my diet and fitness goals, so I've been struggling with topics to write about. I fear long time Sparkfriends' eyes are glazing over as some of my stories are overlapping or repeating.
As I switch into maintenance focus rather than dieting, I'm going to cover more lifestyle topics. Hopefully this will be of interest to readers new and old. If there's anything you'd like me to write about specifically, feel free to write to my Sparkmail.
My first lifestyle topic that I'm going to tackle this month is 'zero food waste'. In the United States alone, we waste $165 billion dollars worth of food a year. That's about 40% of all the fertilizer, water, land and energy used to grow and move food across the country. An American family of four throws away $2,275 worth of food annually, or $189 per month.
The fertilizers and irrigation we use are very damaging to our environment. The Gulf Coast experiences dead zones every year due to the nitrogen runoffs from farms all the way up the Mississippi river, which kills fish in the Gulf of Mexico. More food is grown than we actually consume. Food that is unpurchased in grocery stores usually goes into the garbage. There are very few communities that take this food and give it to homeless shelters. It just goes to waste.
Every time I throw away a rotten cabbage that I intended to make into a soup, I feel like a failure. Starving children in Africa guilt and all. The absolute very worst is when I have to throw away meat. An animal gave its life, and because I didn't plan well enough, it was a wasted life.
This month I'm going to make it my focus to use everything.
Here are the ground rules:
- Removing the outer leaves from lettuce, cabbage and brussel sprouts for sanitary and cleanliness reasons is ok.
- Meats and veggies will be bought in smaller quantities.
- Veggies that start to look wilty get thrown in a pot for soup or stock.
- Onions, bell peppers, carrots and celery will get chopped up and refrigerated ahead of time for quick use and easy prep. They'll be more likely to be used.
- Most meat will be prepared for the freezer early in the week.
- Food prep will revolve around what most needs to be cooked first.
- Meal planning for the week penciled in advance. I'm pretty good with this already.
When my husband and I moved into the house, we had to buy a refrigerator. We bought an armoire, or French door, version where the fridge is on the top and freezer is on the bottom. All food in the fridge is at eye level. That makes it easier to see what's available and needs to be used. Hopefully this will make my goal easier!
First order of business is a bunch of tomatoes we bought last week that look like high priority. I'm going to put them in a blender to make a marinara sauce for tomorrow's dinner.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
We all have to give up something.
Sometimes I get Sparkmail from people telling me that they are inspired by my story. In particular, my bicycle story seems to generate the most mail for me.
A quick recap. Back when I was obese, I bought a bicycle so I could get fit. I rode it for one hour every day. There was a particular hill that I could not peddle up. It was impossible for me; I had to get off my bike and walk it up. I kept at it, though. After many weeks (forever?), one day I peddled all the way to the top without stopping. It was a crowning achievement for me. It was the turn point where I knew that a life of being overweight and out of shape wasn't inexorable. I could change it.
I rode that bike every day. EVERY day. I rode it when I was 'too tired.' I rode it when 'I didn't want to.' I rode it in the rain. I lived in Seattle at the time. If I didn't ride in the rain, then I'd never ride at all.
People ask me, "I really need to lose weight. I know that you lost weight with low carb, but I can never give up x, y, or z. How did you do it?"
This bothers me because I wonder if what they want me to say is, "You don't have to give anything up!" I can't say it. Because I don't believe it to be true. We all have to give up something.
Here are foods/drinks that I never thought I could give up, and I did:
- Snickers bars
- Full sugar soda
- Potato chips
- Processed 'luncheon' meats
- Fast food
- Chili's margaritas
- Fruit juices
- "Convenience" foods
Here are things I eat/drink less of (after I went into maintenance):
- Desserts (reserved for special occasions)
- Diet sodas
Even eating in 'moderation' is giving up frequency or portion size.
When I had a lot of weight to lose, I dropped everything I thought I could 'never give up.' I used to love Snickers bar. I haven't had a Snickers in over 7 years. And I don't miss it. It represents a time period when I used to hate myself. Whenever I see a Snickers at the grocery store, I look at it and remember a time when I stayed inside because I didn't want to be seen. When I couldn't carry my groceries up the stairs to my apartment without feeling like I just ran the Boston marathon.
When I gave up Snickers and all, I also gave up:
- Constant fatigue and tiredness.
- Fear of walking up stairs.
- Fear of carrying groceries across the parking lot.
- Jealousy of watching other people run, bike, and hike without being out of breath.
- Self loathing: clothes didn't make me look fat; fat made me look fat.
If I say I'm going to 'try', I'm not fully committed. I am someone that is either "Do or don't do; there is no try."
How long have you been trying? "Do" or "Try". Which is going to get you where you want to be?
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