New Year, Who Dis?

Well hello there.

Here we are at the end of January 2019. How are those New Year’s Resolutions going? Still keeping them? I didn’t make any resolutions this year— not because I’m perfect (I’m not)— but because they never really work, at least not for me. I’m not the kind of person who can make a bunch of huge sweeping changes all at once and stick with them. Maybe that works for some people but I’m not one of them.

What I have been doing instead is very slowly making smaller changes in my life and being patient and kind with myself as I wait and watch for results and effects to happen. Over the last 2 years I had been noticing my clothes were not fitting me as well as they had previously. I had been reluctant to start weighing myself weekly since I get a bit obsessive about the number and easily fall into letting a gain of any amount ruin my day. Yeah. I know it’s just a number, but I have a lot of baggage about my weight and I know what my triggers are, so I had been avoiding getting on the scale. And then in July thanks to a nasty cat bite I had to make a trip to the Urgent Care where getting on a scale was mandatory. Yikes. Faced with the truth I had no more excuses about why I didn’t “like” my jeans anymore, or why I didn’t “want” to wear previously much loved pencil skirts. See, it turns out even really healthy foods will make you fat if you eat too much of them. And at 5’2” and 150 lbs, I was definitely overweight.

To add insult to injury, in August my Primary Care Doctor sent me for a whole panel of tests. Of course I went in confident that even though I was overweight, I certainly would have good results from the blood workups. Hahaha, joke’s on me! Turns out my Cholesterol is quite high, along with my blood pressure, and while my blood sugar is still in the green zone it’s towards the upper end of the range and I’m just not okay with that. I may have mentioned before that my Mom developed Type 2 Diabetes in her late 40s and I do NOT want to follow her down that road. Clearly some changes needed to be made. I guess it’s a good thing I have this passion for researching health related topics, and coming up with plans to help people achieve their goals, because now I get to take my own advice.

But just like most people do, I resisted getting started and balked at having to change my eating habits and really just flat out had a big old pity party for myself for a couple of months.

And then I pulled myself together and started figuring out what I needed to do get to where I wanted to be. Am I there yet? No. Am I on the way? Hell yes. Is it hard? IT’S SO HARD!!!! But I’m starting to see the results and even better I’m starting to FEEL the changes. Some days are better than others, and none of them are perfect, but every day is a chance for me to make a better choice, take a positive action, and adjust my mindset as needed.

Luckily for me my doctor invited all of his patients to join in on a Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge, and y’all know I love a group challenge! I signed myself right up and joined the FB group. Then I researched food logging apps, since clearly even though I eat a very healthy diet I eat too damn much and I needed a way to track the data and see where I was overdoing it.

After trying out a few apps, I decided to go with Lose It, and so far I’m loving using it. I just have the free version, so I can’t really give a full review of it as most of the bells and whistles are in the paid version, but thus far the free version is doing what I need it to do—I can enter my foods manually or scan bar codes (not all bar codes are found but most are), see a running total of my day’s caloric intake, macronutrient breakdowns, and look at my weekly totals as well. I can also log my weight and it graphs out my progress with a projected goal achievement date based on my personal weight loss goal and my progress. That helps a lot. We all need to be able to see progress in order to stay motivated, and seeing a blue line heading toward my goal number helps me immensely. I also measure myself once a month to see if and where I may be losing inches. Now, in order to keep the Orthorexic thoughts to a minimum I am weighing myself once a week (Friday mornings) and that’s it. I know daily weigh-ins work for loads of folks, but they just make me stressed and I can easily fall into disordered eating when that happens. If they work for you, great.

So how’s it going and what changes have I made? I’m glad you asked. It’s going pretty well, although much more slowly than I had planned. I think this whole Turning 50 thing may have something to do with that. But, in just over 2 months I’ve lost 6.5 lbs, which isn’t too shabby considering the whole Holiday Season is basically a food (and booze) fest. As far as what changes I’ve made, well I’ve definitely had to make some hard choices. I’ve traded my bacon/sausage breakfasts for yogurt and hemp seeds, or some days just a coffee with collagen and bit of cream. My dinners feature even more veggies than they did before, and I’ve cut back on red meat and am trying to eat seafood more days. I’ve also rediscovered my love of soups. Soups are such a great food and an easy way to pack in the vegetables and protein, filling me up and still staying within my daily calorie goals. I especially love them for breakfasts on cold mornings when a bowl of cold yogurt just doesn’t seem all that awesome. I’ve also all but eliminated my nightly piece of dark chocolate, which in reality had turned into my nightly 3-5 pieces of chocolate. I still have one small square once or twice a month, but that’s it. Oh, I’ve cut way back on the aged cheeses too. I know my weak spots and cheese is a HUGE thing for me. I had to face the fact that my habit of having “a bit of cheese” with the mister while we cook dinner was turning into a small meal of cheese, olives, prosciutto, nuts, pickles…gosh is it any wonder I put on weight? But I do allow myself to have whatever I want…as long as I log it and am honest about the amount (I use a kitchen scale and measuring cups/spoons).

For me, having to own up to what and how much I’m eating is important. And sometimes it’s uncomfortable. I’ve had to face some unpleasant truths about what choices I’ve been making, and then start figuring out how to make better choices. And as I said at the beginning, big sweeping all-or-nothing changes don’t work for me, so this is an ongoing process with adjustments being made all along the way. For instance, as January is coming to an end I’m working on increasing my daily water intake, and adding herbal tea as an afternoon snack. I also plan to reduce my wine consumption in February (those calories add up quickly!) in preparation for my annual Lenten alcohol fast. As a family we have reduced the amount of added fat we use while cooking, and are eating more of a Mediterranean style diet featuring more olive oil and less butter. We still use coconut oil, but not as much as before. Again, fat isn’t the enemy but I had to face the fact that I was consuming too much of it. I’ve also started eating beans again, although I do soak them for a very long time before cooking and so far I seem to be doing ok in the digestion department. Overall I still eat a lower/slower carb diet with roughly 30% of my calories coming from carbohydrates and nearly all of that being vegetables and wine.

So, that’s what I’m up to these days. I hope whatever positive steps you’re taking, whatever healthier changes you’re making are going well for you. And if you haven’t made a start on making those changes, just remember it’s never too late. Right now is a great time start.