We had a nice Easter dinner with my family. There were plenty of food selections I could manage without carbs. It was an excellent meal, actually.
I had a curious reaction though, when it came to dessert. When I declined the scrumptious-looking cake our host had baked, my sister-in-law made the comment, “She’s dieting.”
I thought about that. I’m not really “dieting.”
I changed the way I eat. I simply don’t eat that @#$% anymore.
I’ve written a lot over the years on this blog about how food became a substitute for instant gratification. I remember telling my brother that food was the last remaining hope I had for enjoying carnal pleasure. Of course, that was a joke, but now that I have completely reformed the way I eat, and what I eat, I realize the connection between longing and over-eating or eating badly is obvious.
It’s an interesting mindfulness victory. It’s like I removed myself from the moment to observe how I feel and what action is appropriate to take.
Today marks one full year I’ve been on my trek to lose weight. I started blogging here again a couple weeks later. This blog has been a motivating factor to persevere. Thanks to everyone following and occasionally leaving me comments. I appreciate you!
First of all, losing a massive amount of weight is hard. No doubt. Especially if your goal is not to lose it suddenly and then regain it. My goal has been all along to CHANGE the way I live. I am not sure if I had an addiction to (bad) food, but I do know it was a comfort I could easily indulge in privately. I don’t do that anymore and that is real progress, a victory.
On the weight loss itself, I’m disappointed. Over the course of 52 weeks, I’ve only lost a total of 47.3 lbs. That averages out to about .9 (nearly a pound) a week. You can see from the chart, starting at the end of the hockey stick slope upward in the beginning of 2021, I consistently kept losing throughout 2021 and now into 2022. I have not faltered or regained any weight. It’s been a steep slope downwards.
That good news aside, I realized today I need to work harder at this. I still have 75.4 lbs to lose to reach my goal weight. I will need to make the mental, maybe financial, commitment to get there.
One of the questions my wellness coach asked me when I first started with her was this: “How would your life be different if you met your goal weight?” That question stunned me. I knew my answer instantly. I told her that EVERYTHING in my life would be better. Demonstrably better. So much better, it would be as if I had a second life; it would literally be as if I was reborn into a new person’s life with many advantages. Recognizing this was transcendent.
There is no easy way to get there. I must do the work. I figured out that if I continue at this pace, I will arrive at my goal in August of 2024.
I have been hearing/reading about Pickleball for a few months now. It seems like a fun, easy way to spend some time in the gym without too much stress. I knew my Y had a pickleball schedule in the mornings, so I dropped in and observed two teams. What I liked about it was it felt like everyone on the court was enjoying themselves, and that it was more supportive than competitive.
My Y has Pickleball every weekday in the mornings. I spoke to two women afterwards who told me they both love it. One of them said she has been coming for six years. They both told me it’s easy to start. The Y has all the equipment; you literally just have to show up.
I’ve been thinking of asking someone I know to go with me, so there will be at least two of us who don’t know how to play on the court. Once I get the hang of it, I can try to commit to a regular schedule.
This court game fulfills one of my key criteria about exercise: it has to be enjoyable or I won’t stick with it. I’m a little wary of the time commitment, but I think I’m going to try it.
A friend of mine from high school wrote a vegan book. It was early in the social media era, and I helped her with her social accounts. The whole vegan thing seemed extreme to me, even though friends of mine were vegan and one of my daughters experimented with it as a teenager. But more and more, I started to be influenced by the cruelty to animals argument. Listen to this podcast by one of my favorite pundits, Ezra Klein. It may forever change the way you think about eating meat.
Having been on my trek for 10 months now, I have to admit I get most excited about shopping in the produce department of my local grocery store. I have become more curious about how I can make more vegetarian meals that are not high in carbs or sugar.
Somewhere in the fog of social media, Instagram specifically, I started following Jessica Seinfeld. I came to like her and her joyful, low-key cooking videos. She had a breezy vibe about her, and her recipes seemed easy. She also seemed so “human” and accessible. When she published her recent book, “Vegan, at Times,” I thought about buying it. It was expensive when it first came out, so I didn’t.
But it’s selling now at half price. I decided to buy it and see if I could make some progress on eating vegan… at times.
Seinfeld’s recommendation is to simply, try it. Her introduction sums up her philosophy about veganism. She makes it clear she’s not strictly vegan, but has found that eating vegan has its advantages.
“This is also a fact: if you eat vegan food a few days a week, you will feel better, have more energy, do good for animals and the planet.”
Vegan at Times, Jessica Seinfeld with Sara Quessenberry
I ended up shipping one of the books to my son’s girlfriend whom I know is vegan (at times). I’m looking forward to trying these recipes and seeing if I can transition to this form of healthy eating, at least on occasion.
I need some kitchen equipment to make many of the recipes. My birthday’s coming up. I may gift myself a Cuisinart and a blender.
Check out the book if you’re in a bookstore. It feels like she’s converting a new community who wouldn’t otherwise consider veganism. She definitely made an impression on me.
I have been enjoying simple surprises in my withering-away body. It’s always a pleasant surprise when I need to trade a bigger size for a smaller size when I’m in a dressing room. That always feels like a shopping bonus.
I noticed today, however, something so simple, so taken for granted by normal-sized people, I felt I had to write about it.
Here it is:
For the first time since I cannot remember when, I bent down and tied my shoes.
For many years, I would have to sit kind of sideways on my bed and tie my shoes from the side. I would have to lift my foot up to tie them. I always tried to center the knot so it would not look like I was tying them from the side. This has been my life for years– this embarrassing trick to tie my shoes. In fact, I would make it a point not to buy shoes with laces, but rather slip-ons so I could avoid this routine.
But today, with no effort at all, I just bent down and tied my ankle boots. It was such a significant moment, that I realized it right away.
I have now lost 42 lbs.
A lot of the weight came off my thick middle.
The best news is I have only a few pounds left to lose before I can ride a horse. We are in the throes of the brutal South Dakota winter, so I doubt I will be trying that in the next few weeks. But providing I keep continuing on my path, I should be able to safely get on a horse this spring.
My wellness coach sent me a suggested workout routine for the equipment at the Y. She called it a, “Full Body Gym Routine with Machines.” It’s been years since I worked out regularly on gym equipment. I went through my first routine today with the help of a staff member who showed me all the machines and how they work.
As I type this, I’m feeling sore already.
Part of the drill, however, is helping me get ingrained into a regular schedule of working out. I know I need to do it to get to the next level with my weight loss.
Plus, when I adjust to it, it will make me feel stronger and more flexible. Wendy, the staff member who helped me, suggested I try a few classes too. I will have to work up to that, but it seems like a good idea.
Changing topics, Thanksgiving is this week. I’ve written about Thanksgiving before. It’s unfortunate the holiday is centered on overeating. I’m super disciplined about what I eat these days, but it’s going to be tough passing on mashed potatoes with gravy. I can always pass on pies and sweets, but mashed potatoes and gravy (especially with Turkey) is one of my favorites.
Oh well, c’est la guerre.
I will keep you posted on the workout routine. My greatest concern is the weather is getting colder here in South Dakota. I’m reluctant to leave my place when it’s so cold outside. We’ll see if I can make the commitment stick.
Way, way in the beginning of this blog, I wrote that one of my primary reasons for losing weight was my love for horses. I very much would like to get back in the saddle. In order to do that, I still have to lose about 15 more pounds.
But, I am getting there. The last time I weighed myself I had lost 38.7 pounds. That was a few days ago, so I should be at the 40 lb loss by now. As you know, I’m taking it slow and steady.
I know myself though, and as we’re heading into winter and the holidays, I know I need more “inspiration” to keep this up.
As it turns out, my health insurance has a few great wellness programs. I signed up for a personal coaching program where I’m working with a professional exercise and wellness expert. The program is 1:1, and I am setting up a customized program for me to meet my goals.
I really enjoy talking to her about what I’m trying to achieve. She set me up for a nutrition consult too. I have a lot of questions about the science of food.
The best part of the program is knowing I have support and some accountability. I still have about 85 lbs to go, so that is a hefty lift. But knowing I can tap into this resource is a big help.
Our local YMCA is as good of a state-of-the-art gym as any I’ve experienced in large cities like Austin, TX or Orlando, FL. What’s even better is the price and the fact that I am not locked into a contract. Plus, my health insurance will reimburse me $20/mo if I visit just 12 times a month. Because of my (cough, cough) age, that means this amazing facility only costs me $29 a month.
There’s an upbeat vibe at this YMCA and it makes me feel good just to “be there.”
I’m starting out my exercise program slowly, but there’s tremendous room to grow at this facility, including private trainers. My schedule is fairly flexible now, so I can get the the gym when there aren’t a lot of people there.
The good news is I’ve gone beyond losing my pandemic weight, and I’m on the road to getting back on track. I’m down 32.4 lbs now.
So, it’s been 18 weeks since I got serious about losing my 30-lb pandemic gain. The last time I weighed myself, I was down 28.2 lbs. That was a few days ago. I didn’t weigh myself today, and I probably won’t weigh myself tomorrow, but I’m confident I will hit this goal any day now, if I haven’t already.
The simple math will tell you that if you divide 30 by 18, I would be averaging about 1.67 lbs a week. That’s not exactly how it happens, but the loss is for real. Yesterday, I bought pants that were 4 sizes smaller. I love that.
Let me give you some tips about what works for me, as I’ve been able to lose weight like this a few times now:
Do not stress out about losing weight. Your self-image should be grounded in more important aspects of your identity than your appearance. For whatever reason you’ve decided to lose weight, be easy on yourself. Try not to even think about it. Look at it like another side-hustle project, like getting around to finally organizing the basement or writing your memoir.
Don’t weigh yourself every day, and don’t obsess about your weight on the scale. I invested in an expensive, wifi-enabled scale that measures my fat content, my water weight, my BMI, even my bones. Those numbers are constantly shifting… even my bones (?)…, but if you do everything on this list, you will lose weight. Be patient.
Skip everything sugar and carbs. No bread, pasta, rice, noodles, crackers, rice… No sugary desserts ever. Never. No fruit– too high in sugar. No juices with sugar. If you drink coffee, drink it black or get used to an artificial sweetener. I buy large packages of Stevia. My goto snack is sugar-free Jello. And sometimes nuts and cheese.
Empty your cupboard bare of everything that is wrong for you. Remove everything in your kitchen that comes in boxes, bags, and most canned goods. Throw out everything in the fridge and the freezer that you should not eat, no matter how much is left. I was fortunate there was a food drive in my town a few weeks into my new regime. I gave away three bags of food. The rest I gave to my sister.
Make a good, hearty breakfast every morning. I make eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a little avocado every morning. Avocados have carbs, but I’m careful. I also like to make omelettes with fresh vegetables.
Learn to cook, in general. Buy Atkins, Paleo, South Beach cookbooks. Try to find a used bookstore. Cookbooks are cheaper used, and sometimes have good notes in the margin. I copy recipes I like and keep them in a folder for easy access.
At restaurants (like life) ask for what you need. Look at the menu. If you want an entré, but you can’t have it with bread or on pasta, ask if the kitchen can make a substitution. I’ve never had an issue with this. My dining experiences have been terrific. Same goes for bar choices. Vodka, Rum, Gin all have zero carbs. Ask the bartender what cocktail options are available or can be creatively concocted without sugar.
Walk, walk, walk. I’m a person that hates to exercise. But, I don’t mind walking around town. When you can physically walk rather than drive, always take that option. According to my Apple Watch, I walk a couple thousand steps every day just doing random things around my place.
If you’re feeling frustrated because it’s not going fast enough or you hit a plateau, post an update on social media about the weight loss you already accumulated. People love that shit and will go bananas with support. I personally find that morally conflicting, but it does do the trick. It makes you feel better, and it will get you over the hump to keep going.
Start a weight loss blog! It’s fun to track your progress. 🙂
So, I’m down 22.4lbs. That’s only 8lbs shy of my goal to lose my pandemic gain. I will get there. And I’ll continue on my path from there.
How am I doing it? By walking around this beautiful, sleepy town. I’m not killing it on the Peloton or hiring a trainer or joining the gym. I’m just walking around. I gave up my car last September and I walk everywhere I need to go.
Living in the Midwest, life is simpler. It’s slower and more peaceful. But there is healthy food and healthy living here. I am not in a rush to lose my weight, or in a rush to do anything for that matter.
I’m content to take in the beauty around me knowing every step I take is leading me in the right direction. It gets lighter every day.