Month 1: Lost 2 Pounds Overall

Well… my doctor gave me a goal of losing 5 pounds, and I only lost 2.

Yes, I’m disappointed. I was totally sure that 5 pounds would be no big deal with the level of commitment I had (and still have) in my mind.

Uses for PLAIN yogurt

Lifestyle changes so far…

1. I’ve figured out how to develop a taste for plain oatmeal and Chobani™️ without 50 tons of added sugar, and it wasn’t an easy process. 6 points for Strawberry yogurt vs. 0 points for plain yogurt was enough of a motivator, since I’m starving.

2. I even resorted to eating grilled chicken for a few days, even though I hate the texture and flavor of it, but the skinny internet and Weight Watchers seem to act like chicken is crucial.

3. One of the toughest lifestyle changes I made this month is not getting snacks at night.

Baby it’s cold inside

I live in a high-rise that has an awesome gourmet grocery store on the first floor, so I can sneak down in my sweats and slippers and grab the most fabulous array of little chocolate-covered pretzels, basically everything someone would need to make a world-class charcuterie board, organic bake-at-home cinnamon rolls, artisanal cream sodas, every fancy ice cream ever made….

… I mean, you get the idea…

And before I started this journey, I didn’t “keep” unhealthy snacks in the home, but I would definitely pop down to get them every day.

And to top that off, the store has a coffee shop that makes my achilles heel of breakfasts:

add capers, add a little onion, add heirloom tomato

4. LOX + BAGEL.

I used to get an order 4 or 5 times a week, because, again, all there is between me and a bakery fresh, loxy, creamy dream concoction is one bank of elevators and $12.

So, that’s over.

But, to be clear, I’m not trying to get into a headspace where I’m “depriving” myself (and maybe that’s one of the ways I’m going wrong i’m not meeting such a modest goal!), so if I had wanted one, I would have just one, but I didn’t.

Oh hi, 🦄 ice cubes

5. I think it was worth investing in a cute pitcher and even cuter unicorn ice cubes, because now I can make a big, cold pitcher of herbal iced tea every morning, and it motivates me to get hydrated, plus helps me track my daily intake.

The easiest method for me is chilling an almost-filled pitcher of filtered water in the fridge overnight, and then in the morning I put 3 tea bags in a mug and add about 6 ounces of boiling water to brew them into a tea concentrate.

Once that cools, I add it to the chilled water, and drop in my ice cubes.

Note: anyone who has ever used reusable ice cubes knows they really don’t chill extremely well. They only last about an hour, but for me, that’s fine: I want to hold the cold while I have the pitcher out for a few hours, such as when I’m working out, but otherwise I keep it in the fridge.

Majestic

And honestly, the main reason I wanted the cubes is because the unicorn shapes make me interested enough to actually get that H2O in. So, you do you, boo. Unicorns might not be the ticket, but don’t be afraid to do whatever it takes to make hydrating more appealing.

6. Just 2 weeks ago, I started getting Purple Carrot boxes. It’s a meal kit like Blue Apron, or whatever, but vegan.

I’m not precisely vegan, but I love plants and don’t like meats, so it works for me.

The meals are sometimes major hits and sometimes major misses, but they’re definitely healthy in the sense of being whole foods that are nutrient dense.

The major downside is that they’re not organic. Which is almost a deal-breaker. But not for the moment while the convenience is worth it.

7. Exercise is definitely the #1 change I’ve made this month.

Side note: can we talk about how good “Kath & Kim” is? If you’re not watching this kooky Aussie comedy on Netflix, you should be.

I started with the OG, Richard Simmons, whose “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” programs are adorable and great for a gentle-on-the-joints cardio that definitely gets the job done.

For whatever reason, my bod feels way tighter and my paints fit better as if I’ve lost 10 pounds, but I’ve only lost 2.

I don’t think it’s true that “muscle weighs more than fat,” etc. but I do think strength training can shift the shape of the body in a way that makes it feel tighter and firmer, even if I weigh the same.

My oatmeal friend

8. NO MORE DOUBLE BREAKFASTS

That’s right, I used to eat not ONE but TWO breakfasts.

See related post on emotional eating & hunger, but the gist is, I was waking up with this incredible sense of hunger, and NEEDED to put oatmeal on the second I woke up, while I was making my coffee.

So, I’d have a sugary oatmeal packet around 6am, and then a second breakfast, often a bagel, or something really not great from a caloric and inflammatory standpoint, around 10am. From there, I’d have a full lunch at 1pm and a full dinner around 6pm, plus an evening snack-fest.

I finally started talking with my therapist about my hunger and the complexity of my emotional relationship with food, and I’ll be honest: it’s been challenging work.

But, somehow it’s working. I’m not waking with painful hunger, and that means I’m only eating one breakfast.

It’s hard for me to work out on an empty stomach, so I’ll either make my oatmeal and have 2 bites, and then have the rest after my workout, or I’ll have a few almonds or something before I get into my spandex.

I’ve been making the transition away from sugar-sweetened oatmeal by throwing a bunch of frozen blueberries in, and it works well enough. If you’re adult enough to keep fresh blueberries in the fridge at all times, that’s much better tasting, and way better looking.

weirdo purple oatmeal

9. I don’t need dessert after everything. I used to struggle to feel “finished” with a meal without something sweet, and usually that meant a full-blown dessert after lunch and dinner every day.

At first I just transitioned to having some fruit or even a cough drop, but gradually my craving for dessert has just gone away.

These are BIG CHANGES…

…so I honestly thought I would have dropped 20 pounds (or something) with so many major adjustments.

But the reality is that all of these changes have been gradual over the past month.

I’m LEARNING each of these changes by practicing them, and that makes perfect sense. Especially since I’ve been sedentary and eating mainly pierogis for a decade.

But now that I’ve learned these changes, it’s time to level up.

Leveling Up

My goal is to be at 125 lbs by September 1, 2021 (which is 9 months from now), and that means I only need to drop about 4 pounds a month, but I really do need to hit that monthly goal, and not miss it so hard like this month.

The changes I’ve made so far haven’t been easy, but here’s what I need to shift this coming month to increase my chances:

1. Keep up the things I’ve learned.

2. Actually track in the Weight Watchers app. This is something I’m terrible at, but the excuses have to stop. It doesn’t take that long, and it teaches me a lot about how much I’m really eating.

3. Actually go to WW meetings. I’m paying for weekly meetings, and they’re virtual so it couldn’t be easier. In the past when I’ve dropped weight and kept it off, going to meetings made all the difference.

4. Try new exercises, especially abs/core. My changing body shape is a huge motivator to stay on track.

5. Smaller portions. I’m definitely eating too much. Purple Carrot kits make “2 servings” and so I have one for lunch and one for dinner. But the servings are huge. I’m going to try dividing them into 3 servings.

I make a cup of oatmeal in the morning, but I’m usually satisfied after 1/2 a cup, so why not?

You might be thinking: if you were measuring your food, you’d know exactly what a portion size should be, but I’m not really there yet, and I have to make the changes I can, since there are so many to make!

6. Get a little more active overall. I need to move more during the day. I like to read, and I’m thinking about switching to audiobooks so I can “read” while I’m moving around. I’m trying to get up the motivation to dig out my Apple Watch and start tracking my steps like everyone else who cares about their fitness seems to do at all times.

7. Stretch and move during recovery days. Since I’m so deconditioned, 20 squats gives me a whole DOMS situation, and I know I need to recover with a certain degree of care. However, I can keep up my daily routine by just switching to yoga.

There isn’t much I find more boring than yoga at this point, but I know the benefits, and it’s way past time to develop a taste for it.

Aaand, off we go. Time to learn more about how to have a body.

My advice to spoonies or sickies like me is to STAY PATIENT AND KNOW THAT LEARNING TAKES TIME. It takes a lot to make changes when you’ve felt like your body is your enemy for a long time, and developed habits for just getting through the day or coping with the emotionally hard stuff of having a disability. And, realistically, the same goes for everyone. 🖤

Week 1 Weight Loss: 3.6 lbs!

From the Runcobo scale & app

According to Weight Watchers, I’m supposed to aim to lose 1-2 pounds a week, but I think it’s pretty common for people to lose a little more in their first week due to what’s probably usually a big lifestyle change.

For me, those changes have been:

  1. Avoiding processed foods
  2. Joining Weight Watchers (but barely tracking anything!)
  3. Exercising every day (which is a really big deal since I’ve been sedentary for about a decade)
  4. Eating primarily whole foods plant-based, with a little dairy like yogurt (& a fish-oil supplement)
  5. Starting Persona vitamins (I think these make a huge difference in my energy and clarity)
  6. Taking a nap every day (I know this sounds weird, but I think it’s helping me sleep better at night and keeping me from being fussy enough to get hangry)
  7. Taking Rosebud CBD oil twice a day (Same reason as the nap: less anxiety = better results for me)
  8. Thinking about a low-sodium diet (I’m not to the point where I’m perfectly tracking my sodium, but I’m not adding salt to what I’m eating, and real talk: it’s no fun, but gotta do it)

I’m not exactly feeling skinny at about 160 pounds and only 5’0”, but I’m definitely feeling tighter and stronger from my workouts.

All I’m doing for exercise is:

  • Richard Simmons Sweatin to the Oldies “videos”! Search around on YouTube for a bunch of gems. I love this one.
  • Walking my teeny chihuahua for about 30 minutes.
  • Sex (duh)
  • Yoga, especially Yoga with Adriene. A lot of her stuff is perfect for beginners like me. I’ve been scared to get back to yoga with my arthritis and abdominal surgeries, but I’m loving these videos.
scootin’

The most important thing for me was to just get started. I’m glad I lost a good amount in the first week, but I’m really impressed with myself that I’m actually making this life change!

This is Week 1 of 52 weeks. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Heck, maybe I’ll be able to run a marathon by the end of this “marathon.” I’m not impatient; I’m just absolutely determined to see myself with a healthy BMI (which means losing 35.8 pounds and getting to 125 lbs) before a year goes by. I’m absolutely determined to put my autoimmune disease into remission and have some freedom from the intense fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia. It WILL happen.

Nothing about this first week of my transformation has been perfect, but the point is: I’m moving forward each day, and it’s about PROGRESS not PERFECTION.

One transformative year starts today

Turning forty: fat, fabulous, fatigued, fibromyalgic, and fine with it all (at first…)

I turned 40 about 6 weeks ago. It was a pretty pleasant experience, in spite of the fact that we were 6 months into a global pandemic and in the middle of major civil unrest in the U.S.

I was “comfortable” enough with my pleasantly plump frame, my creaky autoimmune joints, my achy fibromyalgia muscles, my fatigue, and the fact that I hadn’t exercised at all in nearly a decade.

And then I went in for my annual physical. High blood pressure, high sugar, high cholesterol. Last year, these levels were all fine and all I had to worry about was keeping my Ulcerative Colitis in check, and that was going pretty well.

Now my doctor wants me to lose 5 pounds, cut sugar, limit carbs, follow a low-sodium diet, and exercise EVERY DAY.

This is a LOT of changes to make, and she wants to see me back in one month to check my blood pressure, and then three months for the “pre-diabetic” glucose levels, so this is a LOT of changes to make IMMEDIATELY.

Luckily (I guess), I’ve been fussing around with the Clean Food Dirty Girl Meal Plan, as a pandemic-boredom project, for the past season. Though, full disclosure: the best I’ve done with that so far is occasionally buying, like, 30 pounds of produce, promptly getting too tired to batch cook everything, and then gnawing on piles of veggies at random for a week, between boiling up some frozen pierogis.

In terms of exercise, (a) I hate it, but (b) I had spent a huge section of July 2020 lying in bed binge watching early-90s nostalgia TV on YouTube, and stumbled upon the awesomeness that is RICHARD SIMMONS Sweatin’ to the Oldies. If this sounds too kitschy for words to you, you’re darn right, and just wait for my reviews of these vids, coming soon.

Polarizing question: Who doesn’t ❤️ Richard Simmons?

But then I was just innocently washing the dishes when some kind of switch flipped in me… a skinny switch?

I suddenly realized:

I have spent the past c. 25 years of my life imagining that I have no way to control whether I’m fat or thin. Do you know what I mean? Something in the back (or front) of my mind has always been telling me I’m destined to fail, and should instead vehemently pretend to embrace my curves, whether I truly love them or not. But, what if I have always been in complete control of what size my body is? And what if exercising that control is actually something I’m already good at, despite what I’ve always believed?

I know that statement sounds both stupidly obvious and frustratingly impossible, in terms of how most of us feel about actually losing weight. But, what I’m trying to describe is a shift in my mindset. I can all of a sudden imagine what I will look like and feel like at 125 pounds, even though I haven’t been that weight since I was in 10th Grade. I can imagine becoming completely comfortable with daily exercise and feeling like it’s totally natural to eat healthy plants in reasonable portions.

This is a new feeling, so it’s going to take me time to sit with it and understand it, and the purpose of this blog is to explore the various parts of this process in order to see it through.

So, I finally batched up some whole foods plant-based meals for this week, and I’m cuing up Sweatin’ to the Oldies 3, and there are 364 days to go until I’m transformed.