05 February 2012

The Anti-Weightloss Program

I have just a wee bit of a disclaimer before I start this post (which by the way I have written and re-written at least a dozen times). As I gotten older (and hopefully wiser) my goals with exercise and diet have changed from trying to lose ridiculous amounts of weight (even though we all know I could benefit from that) to fit into a certain size dress or jeans or too look good in a bathing suit to just plain being HEALTHY. At the present time, I am on three (I think at one point I was up to six) separate medications to treat depression (shocking, right?!), PCOS (the bane of my existence) and something I not quite ready to share (nothing terribly serious, just an annoying bump in the road). Thankfully, with the exception of my weight everything else is under control, but I can't help but think to myself "for how long?"

And yes....I know this is really long and wordy but I feel like to do this properly, it all needs to be out there. Every last bit of it.

Over the last few weeks, a few friends have stopped me to PURPOSELY ask what I've been doing lately because I look "different", like I've "lost weight" and am "positively glowing". Ummm......what?! Most of the time I feel like asking them where Ashton Kutcher is and if he's bringing back the show Punk'd. Why else would anyone be saying those things to me?! I've been assured that Mr. Kutcher was not in the building nor was I part of the show, which I have to admit was/is a little bit of a let down.

Anyway......body image and weight and appearance and all that goes along with that have been a HUGE struggle for me. The first time I was called "fat" and told that I "needed to lose a lot of weight" was in the third grade. I was NINE YEARS OLD. We were learning about weights and measurements and part of that lesson was weighing ourselves. To this day, I can still hear the giggles from a classmate as she looked down at the scale, saw the number and proclaimed to everyone around that I was "really fat". Yeah. It was awesome and I started my first diet the next day.

Since that fateful day in 1989, I have tried EVERYTHING to lose weight--starving myself, throwing up after eating, diet pills (over the counter, prescription, even the fancy infomercial ones), fad diets, doctor approved diets, Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, shakes, meal replacements, if it's a diet that was featured on Oprah I've probably tried. I had gym memberships (and went, thank you very much) and even had a personal trainer for a bit. And shockingly enough, nothing worked. I'd lose a few pounds here and there, get super excited about it, but then it'd all come rushing back with a few extra friends.

After awhile, I just sort of gave up trying to lose weight. I settled into a weight that seemed to be a comfort zone for my body. I stopped gaining weight (three cheers for that!) but also didn't lose anything either. I was (and still am) resigned to the idea that I would just always be this way---I'd never be thin or even "normal sized". I'd always be on the heavy size and figured out ways to deal with it. Because honestly, it's exhausting spending every waking minute stressed out about not being a size 8 (hell, I'd take a size 12!) or that my BMI is no where near where it "should" be and all that goes along with it. I decided I wasn't going to worry about that I was or wasn't eating or if my walks/runs were long enough. I'd already wasted too much time worrying about something that did nothing but add to my sadness and frustration at not being "perfect" and not fitting into a preconceived mold I felt pressured to belong in.

I guess it was a little more than a year ago when things started to change for me. My boss came into the office raving about a documentary she had watched (if you smoosh Flo from the Progressive commercials with Mary Catherine Gallagher from Saturday Night Live, that is my boss). It was Food, Inc. I decided to watch it that night and in doing so, it led me to watch Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives and Food Matters. They all said the same thing that I think we all already know: the American diet SUCKS. Processed foods. Foods that aren't really even food. Sugar. Fat. High fructose corn syrup. We're all eating crap and it's killing us.

After months of watching these documentaries and then reading books on nutrition and healthy eating, I began to really pay attention to what foods I was (and wasn't) eating. On September 1, 2011 I decided to cut out all meat from my diet: no fish, no beef, no chicken, no pork. I'd tried following vegetarian diets in the past, but would constantly be lured to my old ways because I hadn't really committed to it. In the past I'd always say to myself, "Well, I'll give it a shot and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work". This time around it felt different though. It's like I knew, subconsciously, that this wasn't just about doing it to say I was doing it. It was the start of a lifestyle change.

At first, it was really easy. I stocked up on the things I love (salad fixings, hummus, pastas), bought some things to try (TVP, tofu<---I had battled tofu in the past but did not come out as the victor, quinoa) and dusted off the cookbooks. The first few weeks were a breeze as long as I didn't eat out. Do you know how many things have BACON in them. Seriously.....rice, potato salad. It's everywhere. I also started looking into juices (I adore green juices) and making my own. I also decided this was the time to start cutting out refined sugar and began making things from scratch: marinara sauce, vegetable stock, apple sauce.

It took a few months to adjust (I nearly gave up in November but thanks to my parents thinking ahead and showing some much needed support, I didn't and will forever be grateful for the serving of vegan mashed potatoes they had set aside for me at Thanksgiving dinner), but once I did, I was struck by the thought that I couldn't remember a time when I went felt/feel this good. I had loads of energy, most of my sleeping issues seemed to be resolving themselves without medication (insomnia still rears its ugly head whenever it has a chance but it's not nearly as bad as it has been) and just in general, I felt AMAZING. I wasn't as cranky as I had been (although my co-workers may disagree with that). I had loads of energy and things looked brighter (yeah.....sounds more that a little bit kooky). It was a little annoying to think that something as obvious was really paying attention to what you ate and put into your body could have such an incredible effect on how you feel.

And that's all I did. And have done. That is the extremely long answer to what I am sure folks thought were some pretty simple questions.

Now, if you did make it through all of that you may have noticed something missing......I mentioned nothing about exercise. And that wasn't an omission on my part. It's because I really haven't done any. I know. I know. Not a good move, but for me, making changes, one at a time, is a big deal. I have to do things in small steps or else I get too overwhelmed and just chuck the whole thing into the big. Exercise is next on my list to tackle. I really want to start running again, but my foot/Achilles tendon haven't fully healed from my surgery this past summer and I'm learning I need to listen to my body and not push it because I think I should be able to do something. I have a follow-up with McDreamy in March, at which point I plan on having a discussion with him about what I can and can't do. And hopefully by then the snow and ice will be melted and Sadie and I can start our walks again.


Post a Comment

Thanks for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...