Confession: I was once considered “obese”
After Brooke was born, I gained 50 pounds. Yes, 50. About nine months after her birth, after I’d lost my “pregnancy weight”. Most people thought I was pregnant again. I wasn’t. My doctor simply stated, “You are obese, and if you don’t go on a diet to loose this weight your body will not be able to support the extra weight.” The news was followed by a half hearted, “there’s this French diet I heard about…”. After, I sat in my car, stunned. I’d never been “over weight” let alone “obese” in my life. It was true, however, that I’d suddenly gained weight, and felt completely terrible and helpless, both physically and emotionally.
Panic Set In:
I drove to the book store and loaded up on diet plan books, cook books, exercise videos and magazines all of which served to overwhelm and confuse me. I needed a strait forward plan, something actionable and direct. After many months of trying all sorts of diets that didn’t work, I chose Weight Watchers. Over 9 months or so, I lost 25 pounds, and was generally pleased with the results, but didn’t particularly feel better health wise. I was still experiencing bloating, and lethargy because I was able to eat “anything” which included foods I was highly sensitive to, like processed foods, pasta, breads and sweets. Ultimately, I plateaued still needing to loose 20 lbs. I was always jockeying my points instead of making the lifestyle changes I really needed to loose weight long term.
I Restarted My Whole Life with One Affirmation:
Those of you who have read my “weight loss” posts before know that things turned around when I hit “rock bottom” at that Weight Watchers plateau point and became determined to get healthy and loose the last of my “extra” weight. Louise Hay, queen of affirmations and self help suggested “mirror work”. Standing in front of the mirror, (naked) and saying “I love you” to yourself. The first time I did it, I broke into tears. I did it again and again until I could really feel it and believe it. I lost the 20 extra pounds, and my whole life changed. I approached my life, in it’s entirety from a place of love, rather than a battle of self judgement and hate.
11 Years and Counting; Not a Diet, a Lifestyle:
I decided I needed more help, so I went to a doctor who specialized in weight loss, had blood work done. (Why is getting blood work done important? I had an under active thyroid and adrenal issues I didn’t know about (this is why I plateaued on Weight Watchers. I could eat sugars and starches that fit the point system but converted to sugars in my body causing the health problems I was experiencing). My thyroid and hormonal issues affect how my body reacts to diets in general, as well as sugars and foods that convert readily to sugars such as simple carbs). This information helped my doctor select a low carb eating plan for me. I embarked on not on a diet, but on a new lifestyle. On the low carb diet, I eat lean meats, vegetables and fruits low on the glycemic index. I don’t eat foods containing sugar, nor foods that convert to sugars (such as starchy foods certain fruits and vegetables and “white foods such as breads and pasta), which, when digested turn in to sugars. A typical meal for me includes two units of protein (4-6 ounces total), one unit of “healthy fat” and one unit of low glycemic fruits and/or vegetables. Others need different ratios of proteins and fats to loose weight and remain satiated.
I stick to the foods of the seasons, enjoying organic fruits and vegetables as they come into season, and building my recipes and meal plans around foods I look forward to enjoying each season. On this type of diet, I feel energized, and satiated. It’s sustainable for me because I love the foods I am eating and know they are good for me. I see the evidence both in the mirror and in how I feel.
I eat small portions, three to four small meals per day, usually ending eating by 4:30 in the afternoon.
Visualization On Steroids:
Every day, when ever I think about it, I imagine myself living an active, healthy lifestyle that includes delicious foods, enjoying life with friends and family, and getting plenty of fun exercise. I not only imagine how I look; also how I feel when I’m healthy and well rested. I imagine myself feeling amazing, full of love and joy. Early on, as the weight melted off, I did begin to feel really great. This visualization/feeling technique is so effective, I still use it now.
A few Middle Age Tweaks:
In the past several weeks, I have had my annual physical, and a bunch of tests. In the past several months, I’d sort of slipped off the band wagon—and gained a few pounds. Sugar, in particular made it’s way back into my diet, even though it sort of gives me a stomach ache—Roger and I began sharing deserts when we’d go out to eat. I also stopped cooking and meal planning—it seemed too overwhelming with all the other stuff we had going on in the last part of last year. I’d grab something easy like a sandwich or cheese and crackers. Once again, I stopped feeling as energetic as I had before.
In addition, in viewing my blood work, my cortisol is a problem and my hormones are out of whack…again.
Much to my surprise, my doctor put two things on the diet section of my ‘patient directions’ form. (At my doctor’s, you always leave with a written notice of what she wants you to work on between appointments) “intermittent fasting: 14/16 and low carb diet.”
Lots of people have written about intermittent fasting, and, from what I’ve seen on the internet, the myth is that you can eat what ever you want during your window and still loose weight. Because I’d heard that, I thought it was kind of a fad. But after a little research, I discovered that doctors recommend higher protein and fat diets to go along with intermittent fasting rather than having patients eat anything they want. Studies show when done properly, intermittent fasting actually improves one’s health, including reducing inflammation, and flushing out pathogens and viruses on a cellular level. Having just been diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus, learning that intermittent fasting helps the cells expunge viruses is a HUGE plus for me; being healthy and vibrant is what I’m personally going for.
Prior to my doctors suggestion I try intermittent fasting, I had naturally been doing a 14 hour fast; I usually eat a small snack around 4:00-4:30, and don’t eat dinner. I decided, however, after reading and learning more about it, to bump my fast up to 16 hours for a month to see what happens and how I feel. Roger and I are re-committing to our low carb diets.
In my research, I found these YouTube videos, if you are interested in learning more about intermittent fasting and a low carb diet. I’ll be filling you in on my progress as we go along. My biggest interest, at this point in my life is living a vibrant, healthy lifestyle—who wants to live to old age if you don’t feel well or are battling disease that could be prevented by simple choices now?
I’d like to introduce you to a dear friend of mine, Eugenia Hargrove. Eugenia and I met last year when we participated in the Fierce 50. We quickly became friends and not a week goes by that Eugenia and I aren’t texting, chatting on the phone or comparing notes about fashion, blogging and life. I love her point of view—she’s stylish and smart, with a beautiful family and heart. Eugenia has been blogging for five years part-time while working full time in pharmaceutical sales. Along with her passion for fashion, she loves practicing healthy eating, and wellness. Her posts go up once a week on Mondays. Today she’s colllaborating with us here at #wellnesswednesday on Instagram.