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Sunday, November 01, 2015

As I read the posts of my Spark Friends in the challenges that I have joined and on other teams I see a common thread. It is one that I chanted for years and I never would have believed that there was any way around these things:

1. After menopause it is very hard to lose weight.
2. I have chronic issues and can't exercise much.
3. Staying away from this junk food is almost impossible.
4. Men always lose weight faster than women.

Okay, now I don't have all the answers. But, recently I started working with a metabolic dietician and while there is no way that I can share everything that I have learned from her there are a few things that I now know and want to share with everyone.

Let's start here: I AM ADDICTED TO SUGAR. Yep, I am an addict. I love sugar in everything and manufacturers sure make it easy for me to feed my habit. There is sugar hidden in various forms in almost every condiment, soup, canned vegetable, etc. What about those great breakfast bars? Loaded! How about Weight Watcher's frozen dinners? Yep, you guessed it! So, if I eat processed food then sugar gets into my body and when it does my body screams for more. Of course, the easiest way to feed that monster is with candy or baked goods or even too much fruit. Even worse, artificial sugars signal my body just like regular ones, so low cal anything only adds to the dilemma.

So, I offer you this. Start by accepting your addiction. Then clean your house of anything that will tempt you. How can you do that? By looking at all that stuff and thinking "this is poison to my body." Would you really eat poison? I don't think so, no matter how good it tasted!

If you want a supplement, look for fat loss supplements, detox supplements, energy complex supplements, and appetite control supplements. They are everywhere on-line and not too expensive. It is much easier to use the liquid kind. You don't need them but they might help.

Start by fasting each day for 16 hours. That means you skip a meal and you can pick if you want to do that in the morning or the evening. My diet amounted to around 500 calories daily for the first six weeks. Your actual diet is up to you. I don't feel that I should share what I did simply because I think the diet was developed for my body and I rotated foods constantly to see which foods caused toxins to build in my body. Remember, I am trying to get healthy - NOT SKINNY!

Toxins, you say? Yep. That distended belly? It is full of liquid toxin eating away at you. I was so full of toxins when I started my journey that I lost - are you ready for this.....17 pounds the first week, or around 8% of my body weight. And that equated to more than 2 inches in my waist! That huge belly that I kept telling myself was due to menopausal changes was almost instantly gone.

After 6 weeks I doubled the amount of food I was eating, added some fat in the diet and began exercising. I am now up to around 90 to 100 minutes of exercise daily and I eat around 1000- 1200 calories a day. I drink over 100 ounces of water a day, not because I have to but because I can feel how it helps me. I finally actually feel what my body is saying to me. I am still an addict, but my body is not being fed processed sugar anymore so it is talking to me again.

Have I been absolutely perfect throughout this ordeal? NOPE! I was 100% good the first six weeks but a person can only change so completely for so long. Now I have to learn how to live in the real world and account for slip ups. I didn't lose weight any differently after the first week than I ever have, so, I have plateaued for almost a week at a time. I have had days when I gained instead of losing despite following the plan. I remember the day that I had a Five Guys single cheeseburger! It tasted great, and I will have another one someday, and when I do I know what to do to stop those toxins from building up again.

But, in 12 weeks this 65 year old woman lost 40 pounds and now feels in control. My fasting blood sugars have dropped from around 200 to under 100 and I have lowered my dose of metformin, with plans to eliminate it altogether soon. I still have about 20 pounds to lose but I am now working on maintaining the weight that I have lost through the end of the year. If I lose a few pounds that is great but I want to spend my time learning about how exercise will change my body and how I can live a normal life without weight gain through the holiday season. Then, I will start all over again after the first of the year. Weight loss is no longer the sole focus of my life and that is a miracle to me.

I spent the majority of my adult life overweight. I ruined my knees from carting around all the weight (I had double knee replacement surgery last year and now I am beginning to run!). I avoided so many fun things because of my addiction to food. But, no longer. Life is precious and far too short to waste it anymore. And if I can do this, so can you! No more excuses. No more wasted time. Your time is now!

And, lastly, here are a couple of tricks I learned to stop the damage once you have a slip up, or even to simply keep those toxins at bay.

1. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. I love this stuff and what it does for my body. Who knew? One tablespoon each day! Now, you probably can't just drink it because it is strong! I slice cucumber and onions and put them in a vinegar and water bath with HIMALAYAN PINK SALT. I eat a cup of this each day and usually two cups (only 40 calories).

2. HIMALAYAN PINK SALT. The only salt I use. Filled with extra minerals and less actual salt but still flavorful.

3. After a cheat (remember that Five Guys burger?) the next day fill up on extra vinegar and vegetables. Sometimes I skip protein altogether this day.

4. If you have been plateaued for several days and have been following your diet then plan a steak and apple day. A steak and apple day consists of fasting all day (drink lots of water) and then having a 6 to 8 ounce steak for dinner. Gotta fix it plain! Then follow the steak with a nice big apple. No point in doing this if you have plateaued because you haven't followed your diet. Be honest with yourself.

I feel like a convert these days! I want to shout to everyone about how good one can feel. It takes planning and commitment but, gosh, isn't your life worth that? I hope that some of these ideas will ring true to you and that you will find your path like I did. Good luck to you!!!
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