My Journey So Far
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I'm incredibly touched by how much people have reached out to me on Spark. I've had some people express interest on what my motivation is, what made me finally feel that the time was "now" to do this. I figured, well, maybe I'd make a blog post . . .
Well, I've been overweight my entire life. I weighed over 150 when I was only ten years old. I have a mostly-overweight family so, even though it was tough at school, I was fine with family because most of them were at least "plump".
I kinda' tried to lose but not really - by that I mean I would make a token effort I really and truly was not commited to losing weight. Really wasn't. I mostly ate "healthy" if you can call it that in that most of my life I didn't eat fried foods or fatty foods, ate lots of veggies and fruits, stayed "limber" by doing stretches, etc. - shocked the hell out of people when I would bend from the waist to pick something up off the floor!
I did go through a period where I pretty much lived off of toast and fried potatoes but that was due to me getting laid off from work not once but twice in one year so money was really tight. Anyway, from the perspective that my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar were normal - I was "healthy". Just really fat. But . . . I don't know if I'm basically lazy, if it was that I was basically happy, a combination of the two or something altogether different, but I was in no rush to lose weight.
Well, a few years ago I was hit by a drunk driver. Rush hour on a Tuesday going home from work, he came out of a "gentleman's club" (HA! Gentleman???) and drove across three lanes of traffic and BAM! He then tried to get away but hit a couple more cars a block away. The car was totalled and I was hurt (had to have some surgeries and I'll probably have to do physical therapy the rest of my life) but I had a doctor say to me that I'd probably end up needing a hip replacement eventually anyway due to my weight.
I had always said that if a doctor said I needed to lose weight for health reasons, I would, no excuses. I was thinking - heart attack; diabetes; cholesterol; blood pressure. You know . . . the "normal" things. Never thought I'd hear something like that!
Well, a promise is a promise so . . . First I cut out bread products and fast food. That made the BIGGEST difference!!! Started drinking a LOT more water (had to start off with those flavored mix-ins but now I can actually drink water - what a SHOCK). I knew I needed to exercise but I HATE HATE HATE exercise so I started thinking about what I did like to do or what I was interested in. Came up with "fencing" and "martial arts." Well, fencing for a variety of reasons was not an option. Did some research and came up with the idea of Tai Chi - found the Taoist Tai Chi society that's all by donations, etc., and started going (and I'm totally hooked now!) and that lead me to very recently start easing into going to the gym (trying to tone up that stuff that used to be filled with fat and is now filled with nothing).
Sometimes I want to quit and I "slip up" a LOT! But instead of "I'll start over tomorrow", I now say "I'll start over NOW." That keeps me from just having a free-for-all the rest of the day if you know what I mean - I used to do that quite often. As to do I want to quit - heck YEAH! It helps that now I finally feel like I can tell a difference - stupid to think that it took almost a hundred pounds but . . . I don't know. It truly and honestly didn't feel like I was making progress before but now I finally do. That helps tremendously when it comes to keeping me going. Still, boy, would I love to have some of those "Samoa" girl scout cookies and some Haagen Dazs pineapple coconut icecream on the side! Whew! But then I think about how much steak or whatever I could eat instead and that helps me resist.
Anyway, as far as an eating plan . . .
Well, I try to eat every three to four hours, 200 to 400 calories each time. I try to eat high fiber and high protein and fruits and veggies every day, RARELY eat fast food and don't eat bread and bread products very often. I recently discovered a MAGNIFICENT thing - BOCA chili. It's vegetarian and the "meat" is a bit . . . chewy? . . . but it's high in protein (like 20 grams) and fiber (12 I think) but it's only 150 calories!!!! It's not bad at all and makes a heck of a "snack" or lunch or whatever. I've found a few things like that which make it easier.
And when it comes to ice cream or candy bars or something, I just try to compare that little bitty candy bar with something else - like the BOCA chili or something and that almost always (only "almost" unfortunately) causes me to reconsider the not-so-healthy choice.
I've also started buying the already-chopped-up veggies in the grocery store "salad" section and I toss handfuls into everything. I found if I had to stop and prepare something (like chopping up veggies) it just was NOT going to happen but if they are already chopped up or I can buty them chopped up, I don't think twice about throwing them into whatever I'm making. I buy unsalted mixed nuts and throw a handful into a salad (makes a HUGE difference) and I use a little plastic dish to measure out the nuts because those little puppies can add up in calories pretty quick!!! Another thing I did was start buying "soy crisps" and crumble them up on top of my salad instead of croutons.
Some big things that helped me:
#1 - not trying to do too much too soon. Just little itty bitty steps. I think before I tried to make too many sweeping changes and it was just too much, too hard to maintain. I started out first just cutting down and out bread. That was my biggest thing, biggest weakness. I also cut down and then out fast food and I increased my water intake, first by using those "mixins". Now, go figure, I can actually drink plain old water without thinking twice!!!
Now I can have bread occassionally and every once in a very very very great while, I'll have fast food. But I had to do w/o for a while to kind of . . . I don't know . . . lessen the cravings? Does that make sense?
#2 The other thing is that I HATE exercise. I did a lot of thinking about what I was interested in and came up with fencing and martial arts. Fencing was too expensive and I was afraid martial arts would be too much physically for me, especially at my weight but I found tai chi and found a local non profit tai chi organization. And once you get moving, it's easier to keep moving, you know? Okay, I've already mentioned tai chi once and I don't want to start gushing so I'll move on . . .
#3 I also started keeping fruit on my desk at work - if it's there, I'll eat it. I also buy the frozen fruit, too, and when it's semi frozen you can kinda squish it up (and add some artificial sweetner if you are horrible like me when it comes to sweets) and it's like a dessert. And last but not least, I started keeping chopped veggies in my fridge AT ALL TIMES and made a point of adding at least a tablespoon each of onions, peppers, and tomatoes to everything I ate from eggs to pizza to pasta. I know I already mentioned the veggies but it was such a small think and NOW it's just a habit and I find it adds to what I'm eating.
#4 Last but not least, I noticed that when I ate a high fiber high protein breakfast, I didn't get the munchies as much during the day. On days when I maybe have cereal for breakfast, I'm more likely to get the munchies. So I try whenever possible to have a lot of fiber and protein first thing. It might not work for anyone else but it works for me.
No idea if any of these ideas will be at all beneficial to anyone. It's just stuff I've found works for me. Good luck to everyone and keep up the good work!!!!!!