These days most of the people in my life never knew fat-Autumn. I now weigh 175 lbs (79 kg) which is HALF what I weighed at my largest, 350 lbs (158 kg). I can now fit a size 6 (38) jeans. I can't remember what I wore at 350, maybe a 26W (58). But being a 6 feels pretty amazing. They're snug but comfy and no muffin top. It's been an insane journey. I went from 350 (158 kg) to 215 (97.5 kg) in my 20's. I had kids and settled into a zone of 230 to 245 (104-111 kg) for my 30's. We decided 4 kids was enough so this past year I started hitting it hard. I'm aiming to be a normal BMI by my 40th birthday (March 2nd). I'm very close now.
In my first blog about this, "A Lesser Me," I discuss how all this began and a bit of my back story of being a 350 pound teenager. After deciding to get serious about this, I started with no exercise, conscience eating, and cutting out carbs and sugars. This worked! But only at first.
We went on vacation this past July to England. I gave my weight loss strategy those two weeks off as well. I gained 10 pounds. But come on! Who can say "no" to meat pies, high tea, scones with clotted cream, and fish and chips? Certainly not THIS recovering food addict. I did lose those 10 pounds quickly. Then I plateaued. Vacation was a trigger for me. I was exhausted by all this eating stuff. So you know what I did? I gave myself a break.
I continued maintaining in the low 180's (80's). I only used conscience eating, being careful of my intake but I ate whatever I wanted. In the Fall I began wanting to lose weight again. To continue on toward my goal of being a normal BMI before turning 40. To my surprise my former strategy failed me. Halloween, Thanksgiving, CHRISTMAS was coming. What was I going to do!? I started counting calories using "my fitnesspal," an app for my phone. My nutritionist also suggested I now add exercise. Exercise is a dirty word in my book but I wanted to hit my goal. She only wanted me to walk for 45 minutes a day but I was stubborn about it for the first couple of months.
What I began to see was that all these "low carb" snacks I was gobbling up, like nuts, were loaded in calories. The calorie counting was showing me what I was really consuming and out putting. The reason I was stuck. It was a balancing act to find the foods I would want to eat and the times of the day that I wanted to eat. I was putting a strategy in place that would work for me to keep that calorie count where it needed to be to reach my goals.
I gave myself Christmas off but January first was another story. The plan was made and this plateau was gonna get beat down. It's not even the end of January as I'm writing this and that plateau has been shattered!!!! 13.5 lbs (6 kg) gone as of this moment for the month so far.
WHAT AM I DOING NOW
Calorie counting, cutting carbs, exercising, water, fiber, and probiotics. There's the short answer.
I have found that, for me, I HAVE to do this to keep myself accountable. Conscience eating is great for me to maintain a weight or lose if I have a lot of weight to lose. Being this close to the finish line, to lose it, this is where the rubber meets the road. Without accounting for everything I'm eating it's too easy to eat exactly what my body needs rather than allowing a deficit.
I eat between 1000-1200 calories a day, as suggested by my dietician. To meet this goal I've had to strategize when those calories are going to be consumed. One thing I tried to break my plateau, something suggested by a lot of people, was I ate breakfast. This failed me miserably! So many people act like skipping breakfast is a mortal sin. I know this works for some people but for me, it does NOT. So let's talk about that for a minute.
"The most important meal of the day," according to American kooky nutrition logic. If that works for you great! People are surprised to find that my nutritionist could give a flip if I eat it or not. Do you know why she doesn't care? I'll tell you why. SHE'S FRENCH! Can't speak a word of English. Do you know what the French word for breakfast is? "Petit-déjeuner." It's literally "little-lunch." A snack. A pot of yogurt, cup of coffee, a piece of bread. Something to get you through the morning to THEIR biggest meal of the day, lunch!
Shops and schools close from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm everyday in it's observance. Kids and parents a like go home to a sit down meal at a table, eaten methodically, religiously, slowly with knife and fork. It's a sacred French ritual, sadly disappearing, but still present in the smaller villages and more traditional homes.
For me, this sacred time is dinner and late night with my husband. So forget stupid old breakfast!!! I'm not sacrificing calories for a meal I'm not even hungry for, at a time I don't like eating, eating foods I don't even like! I certainly won't sacrifice dinner and my late night snacks for it. You know what though? This is ME. This is who I AM. This is how I EAT. I have to do what's right for me and I can't follow a religious eating dogma just because some talk show host or magazine thinks that having breakfast is the true and right path to "Holy Eating." I live in a country and culture that flies in the face of that logic and I'll not do it anymore or allow myself to feel pressured to take it.
Ok, now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's move on...
WATER, FIBER, AND PROBIOTICS
I drink about a gallon of water a day, 3 liters. I don't consume enough calories to get a high intake of fiber so I use a benefiber supplement in my tea, soups, and coffee. My probitotics of choice are fat-free/sugar-free yogurts and kefir water I make myself. I'll have to write a separate blog on my kefir production. It's fizzy like a soda, I love it. My favorites are blueberry lime, cranberry lemon, and a cream soda (lemon and vanilla). I also take various vitamins and minerals recommended to me by my bariatric surgeon, doctor, and nutritionist.
I HATE exercising. I walk 45 minutes a day at a brisk pace on a treadmill while watching Netflix. This is the only way I will do it. I live in Northern France under a constant drizzle of wet cold rain for 3 to 6 months. If I didn't have that treadmill and Netflix to keep my mind off it, I wouldn't do it. It's just the hard cold fact of the matter.
I'm currently not eating grains, rice, corn, potato products (I'll eat real potatoes), and sugars. I eat buckwheat and rye products, if they're 100%. I use a stevia based sweetener and unsweetened almond milk.
I've found that my faith has been central to all of this. I have done all of this in prayer. Only God knows me better than I know myself and it's been His voice and guidance to show me the way. When things weren't working, he guided me to the change in strategy that would.
My team. I've had people in the past trying to "encourage" me, that I had done enough or to take it "easy" on myself. I've needed to shut off that kind of encouragement and tune it out. I've had to surround myself with a team of people, like my husband, dietician, and best-friends, who give me the "right" kind of encouragement and tell me the hard truths when I need to hear them. Having this kind of support is vital in overcoming something like this.
I'm 7 pounds away from my goal today. I'm almost there! (Say that last part while singing along to the Tiana song please). I can see the ribbon ahead of me that I'm about to tear through. It's been a long hard race. I'm tired and ready for my towel and gatorade.
I hope this helps anyone who reads it. Even if you are way back at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off, just remember, you CAN do this. Food addiction can be conquered. It's taken almost 40 years of my life and I will NOT give the other 40+ to come.
Good luck and God Bless