I've been asked a lot recently to share what I typically eat and how I've managed to lose 93 pounds. I still feel like a newbie and feel surprised that others feel I'm in a postion to be able to guide or give inspiration. However,I want to give back to this community that has given so selflessly to me so hopefully I can inspire someone to improve their quality of life.
"If you want to be a butterfly you have to want to fly so badly that you're prepared to give up being a caterpillar."
This is the phrase is that effectively triggered me to try and lose weight again...this time for good.No more slipping back into old habits.I was fed up of being a caterpillar and wanted to remember how it felt to fly.
This blog is really for those who are starting out, struggling to combat cravings , or simply feel lost. Those of you who are well along their road may want to skip this blog. I warn you...it's going to be looooonnngg!
In only 7 months I have found my wings again.In only 7 months, if you are dedicated, you can radically change your quality of life.
On a typical day I ALWAYS stay in the ranges that SPARK set me (1250-1550 cals) right down to the sodium and fibre ranges. I ALWAYS drink at least 90 ounces of water a day, and I NEVER guesstimate...I weigh my portions.
Breakfast: 30g Weetabix with skimmed milk (Weetabix is a WHOLE WHEAT
cereal and very low in sugar so it's one of the most healthy fabricated
cereals you can buy.
Snack: Cup of skimmed milk with cocoa
OR a piece of fruit.
Lunch: Portion of brown rice (half a cup)
200g of chicken or fish
A LOT of veggies (ie,diced red & green peppers and onions sauted in 1
desert spoon of olive oil AND a broccoli (Yes! A
Dinner: Soup (pumpkin/mushroom/mediterrenean veg or Scotch Broth)
OR 250g red roasted peppers and a tin of tuna
OR Salpicón de Pulpo ( diced raw peppers and onion with octopus).
Desert: Fruit (maybe half a Honeydew melon or a tin of lychees)
However, this only tells a tiny bit of the story. I think that working on my head and sorting out my cravings are fundamental to my weight loss success.
Let's go back to me at 253 pounds.Morbidly obese. Blood pressure 160/110. Cholesterol dangerously high.Barely able to walk, much less do my job as a dance teacher properly. Being tested for sleep apnea, lupus, thyroid, fatty liver disease, all on top of my PCOS. Health problems seemed to be accumulating and at 40 yrs old I dreaded the thought of 25 yrs more teaching until I could retire. I felt terrified that if I felt like this at only 40 yrs old how would I feel at 60? Or 70? I had to admit to myself that all of these health problems were weight related or exasperated by my weight.
It's not as if I was clueless about how to lose weight. I'd done it lots of times already and really well. I'd do low-fat, or low-cal (800-1000 cals), or milk shakes. I'd spend 3 or 4 months losing lots of weight and then 1 yr putting it back on. I was sick of the cycle and ready at last to try to find a permenantly healthy way of eating instead of quick fixes that left me fatter.
I came across a site called PCOS DIVA where she talks about how she tackled the symptoms of PCOS by cutting out refined foods (sugar,salt,white bread,rice and pasta,white flour and artificial sweeteners).The more I investigated the more it made sense to me.
Then I came across SLIMKATIES blog "Runs For Cookies".She tells how she wasn't prepared to do anything on her diet that she wasn't prepared to do forever ie, if you don't like salad then don't eat it just because you're on a "diet".If you're not prepared to give up icecream forever then don't give it up now;track it. This spoke to me because I realised that even though my old diets were a success they weren't valid ways that I could eat for the rest of my life. You can't drink Slimfast forever more or cut out carbs or fat forever,so of course the weight goes back on.
It was clear that this time had to be different. I decided to try and combine eating only foods that I really liked with reducing my intake of refined foods to hopefully curb my sweet tooth and aleviate my PCOS. Via SLIMKATIES blog I fell across SparkPeople and immediately knew I'd found something special. A way of making sure that all my nutritional needs were being met, so many inspirational articles to read and people that have been there or are there trying to find their way too. The support I have had on here has been like the expression"Behind every great man there's a great woman", me being the man and my Sparkbuddies the woman.Without them I doubt I'd have done it.
What a revelation to find out from Spark that it was all maths: what you put in must be less than what goes out. I learned that you have to burn (or eat) 3500 cals to lose (or gain) 1 pound of fat and that, conversely, if I'd put on 2 pounds overnight it was impossible that it was real weight because I knew I hadn't eaten 7000 cals over my Basic Metabolic Rate.This knowledge has reassured me many a time.
So. The first thing I noticed was that after 3 weeks without "white" foods (sugar & flour) I was free of cravings for the first time in 28 yrs. I felt liberated from the urges to eat tonnes of chocolate and pizza. In the past my "diets" were made up of low-cal,low-fat or sugar free versions of my normal foods, but the artificial sweeteners in them effectively kept the urges and cravings for these foods alive. Now I don't crave them and my palate has changed. I never used to eat fruit because I found it bitter and acidic. Now I find it incredible that I felt that way because fruit is now so so sweet to me. I now prefer my veggies crunchy and undercooked or even raw.I'd rather have starved before!!I have realised that most of my diet is now water-based: fruit,veggies and soups.
So. I said that I needed to work on my head too. This was essential to break old patterns and create a new way of thinking. Especially about cravings. I read somewhere on Spark a blog that really gave me a bolt of understanding. A real "ping" moment. It pondered the question of when it was that we taught ourselves to think that one "bad" food item was a cue for a binge and a bad day. It very astutely inferred that we would NEVER say to a child: "You've eaten an icecream so now you are banned from eating any healthy foods for the rest of the day. You are only allowed junk, sweets and chocolate until tomorrow ".Can you imagine saying that to a child?!! It's true...I'd never say that to my daughter and yet I said it to myself day after day for years!! We all have our own reasons for having gained weight, but it is important to work out why to know how to break the cycle. I needed to stop my cravings and accept that chocolate is my heroin...I must not touch it otherwise I lose total control. Find out what your triggers are and accept that you shouldn't have them. Some people can do moderation, but others have addictive type personalities and need to accept that that particular food is like cocaine to them.
Another lightbulb moment came when I discovered by observation that although I thought it was unfair that other people could eat what they wanted and get away with it, my idea of "normal eating" and theirs were not the same. So,yes,they'd have a BigMac and fries,but later on would probably (by instinct) eat a lighter meal rather than me who'd "blown it again today" so would be ordering a giant pizza as it was too late now anyway. Yes, they'd eat an icecream but not use that as an excuse to buy 5 big tablets of chocolate. And I noticed that my slimmer friends didn't feel the need to finish their plates. And whatsmore, some of them ordered salads because it's what they fancied (WOW!) and NOT because they were on a diet.People who ate "normally" weren't anxious for certain type of foods ,craving urging and having to resist. They didn't need to feel "stuffed" to be satisfied. They were instinctively moderate in portion control and food types. I wanted to be like that too and I dare to hope that I may finally have achieved it.
If you're still with me then I thankyou for reading this blog. I hope there was something in there that lit a "spark" for someone. If you are addicted to food the thought of giving up refined foods may be terrifying, but it may be the only way. I promise you it is worth the sacrifice.....and so are you.
If you want be a butterfly then you you have to want to fly so badly that you are prepared to give up being a caterpillar.
| current weight: 235.0