So I feel kind of awkward writing this post because really, I am on the world’s slowest and least effective diet, and I probably should not be giving diet advice to anyone. However, I am also actually losing weight and not losing my mind at the same time for maybe the first time ever, so I thought maybe it could help someone if I talked about this? I don’t know.
I also feel weird talking about this because I am walking this weird semi line of fat acceptance. I HATE the body shaming that goes on in this country. I hate that people assume that losing weight will solve all their problems. I hate that no one thinks you can be fat and also look nice. I hate that six year old girls come home from school calling themselves fat. I hate that I felt bad about myself at a size 4 and a size 6 and a size 16. I hate all of that. I really do. But I also don’t know that I can call myself a fat acceptance blogger because the truth is that although I LOVE how I look now and I LOVE I feel about myself now, I also do not want to be really really fat. I just don’t. It makes it hard to shop. It would mean I would never get to wear the box of size 10 clothes I have in my garage. And I am pre diabetic and I don’t want to have to heave myself up off the couch or to wonder if I can go on a hike and I don’t want to be huffing and puffing after my kids. I just don’t want that.
So like I said, I am straddling this weird line. Because this is the first time I have ever been able to lose weight without actively hating myself, and that feels like a really great achievement, but I had to get there by 1. accepting myself at a size 14 (because I thought I had no choice) and 2. figuring out what I needed to do to like myself at that size and 3. deciding that what I ate would be based on how it made me feel, rather than on whether or not I thought it would make me lose weight.
Anyway. The point of all this is that in about 8 months, I have lost 20 pounds. And I know, that’s nothing! That’s really not a lot, and it’s very slow. It’s not enough that anyone has noticed (actually, that’s not true, one very lovely lady did send me a lovely email), and it’s not enough that I can reliably wear a smaller size, although I can wear some things that I could not wear before, and my clothes all fit a lot better. Oddly, aside from being thrilled at the fact that I could wear a jacket that I couldn’t get over my arms before, I really feel exactly the same about myself. So that’s good, I think.
Here is a comparison, so before and after. I can definitely tell the difference, but only in some pictures, and some of it is because I have learned a lot about what is flattering on my body type, but there is a difference, to me anyway.
So this is in May:
And this is today:
Anyway, it took a really long time for me to start losing weight, which was very frustrating, because I am the type of person who likes scientific results when I put in scientific efforts. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. I tried Weight Watchers and wasn’t even eating all the points and I did not lose weight. I tried running five times a week and didn’t lose weight. Nothing worked, so I gave up. (I did have my thyroid tested and it came up normal.)
So then I started feeling sick all the time. I was forced to really pay attention to what was making me dry heave over the side of my bed every night, because that was basically the worst feeling in the entire world. And it got REALLY frustrating when I was eating SUCH a healthy diet and STILL not losing weight. REALLY REALLY frustrating. But what choice did I have? I had none, really. So I continued on eating what made me feel good and trying to dress myself like I deserved to look good even at a size 14, and I learned to really love myself anyway.
And then, finally, finally finally, I started to lose weight.
So. Here’s what I do. Here’s the secret to the World’s Longest Slowest Least Effective Diet:
– I do not eat dairy. This is not because I do not love dairy (YOGURT COME BACK TO ME) but because of the aforementioned dry heaving. This is not a fad or something that I can just toss off when I don’t feel like it. This is the difference between me feeling great, and me holding a bucket in front of my face every night at 6 PM. So I do not eat dairy. (Although I can eat cheese, maybe, in small amounts, and I don’t really read ingredient labels. If it’s bread with traces of milk in it, I just eat it. If it’s a scoop of ice cream, I don’t eat it.)
– I don’t drink very much. So some SSRI’s are the kind that tell you that you should probably not drive a forklift while drinking and taking your SSRI’s? Like, please don’t sue us if you drink and do something stupid type of SSRI’s? Then there are the kind that you REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY shouldn’t drink while you take them. It turns out that mine is the second kind! I could not figure out why I kept getting sick as a dog from martinis and gin and tonics and then woah! It turns out that P@xil can make ONE drink seem like FOUR! So I do’t really drink. The good news is that I really don’t care about this nearly as much as I thought I would, because I’m not all stressed and anxious all the time and really wishing I could have tequila shots so I could just chill out.
-I try not to eat sugar. When I first started my healthy eating thing, I really didn’t eat sugar at all because it gave me weird diabetic type heart palpitations. Now it’s much better but I find I generally am not that interested in it anyway. The things you can have with sugar but not dairy are mostly not that great, so it’s not a huge issue for me.
-I don’t go hungry. When I was a size 4, I spent a GREAT PORTION of my afternoons, every day, really really hungry. I’d pound water and count out nuts seven at at time, but let’s be honest, I was hungry. I am just not willing to go hungry anymore. It makes me really really crabby and it makes me nasty to my kids, and it’s not worth it to me. So if I’m hungry, I eat.
-I quit drinking Diet Coke. I am not kidding you, I think this is the NUMBER ONE thing that a person can do to eliminate weird sugar cravings. I quit drinking Diet Coke because it made me feel gross every time I drank it, but a few months into this project I noticed a HUGE difference in my incessant cravings for all kinds of junk food. I have now become someone who would rather eat carrots than cake, and I know that makes me sound like such a HUGE asshole, and I promise that’s not a humble brag and I am just as shocked and mystified by it as you are, and all I can figure out is that fake sugar is the devil, so I do not under any circumstances ever ingest it.
-I figured out what a really really yummy salad looked like to me (iceberg lettuce, spinach, carrot shreds, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, mandarin oranges and really fattening dressing) and I keep a giant bowl of it on hand all the time. I LOVE salad. I do not love making it. If I have it ready to go, my mind automatically goes to it as something I can eat as a side with dinner while the rest of my family eats french fries. And I have total permission (from myself) to eat whatever salad dressing I want on it.
-I have embraced fat. I am no longer afraid of fat. (see fattening salad dressing, above).
-I do not count anything, ever. No calories, no grams, no cookies. I don’t do it.
-I get into food ruts, and I don’t make myself eat something for breakfast that I don’t want to eat. I know I should eat eggs for breakfast. They fill you up for hours. But I just am not going to make myself eat something I don’t want to eat. So sometimes I feel like eggs, and I eat those and a side of spinach and some melon or grapes and some tomatoes and it’s awesome. Other times I don’t want to even see an egg and I eat two toaster waffles and some turkey sausage.
-I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I don’t eat a lot of snacks. I might eat lunch at 2, it’s not a strict schedule, and I sometimes have an afternoon snack if I’m starving, but it’s just easier for me to eat a big meal until I’m actually full than to be nibbling at stuff all day. I don’t have time for snacking, quite frankly.
-I quit running. This one makes me sad, but seriously, hand to god, I didn’t start to lose weight until I quit running. I have no idea why, but I do know that I am honestly not that hungry most days, now, and when I was running three miles four times a week, I was hungry every minute of the day. I could not stay out of the kitchen, and I could not lose weight. It was too hot to run this summer anyway, and I am wondering if maybe now that it’s cooled off I could start walking or something, but for me, running was really prohibitive to weight loss. I would like to start it up again 20 pounds from now and see if it’s better then, but for now? No more running.
-I started shopping at Costco. Mostly what I buy at Costco is giant bags of vegetables and chicken. I am so much less prone to buy a giant bag of junk food because it’s going to cost $15 and I’m going to have to eat a giant bag of it. Those little bags of $4 treats at Trader Joes? DEADLY. But a cart full of turkey sausage and apples and lettuce is just not as exciting to a food freak like me. I honestly believe that Trader Joes is really fattening, and so expensive, because you just can’t resist all the cute looking well packaged delicious gimmicks. I try to stay out of there and stick to my boring Costco vegetables.
-I let myself eat whatever I want, but I try to make it vegetables when I can. If I want to have some cheetos, I have some cheetos. Life’s too short to never get to eat anything you want. But if I can talk myself into a veggie hummus wrap at lunch time instead of a bean and cheese burrito, I try for that.
-I don’t eat fast food. Ok. I love love love love McDonalds. I think a McDonalds french fry is one of the worlds’ most perfect things. But every single time I eat there, I am sick to my stomach afterwards for DAYS. It finally became not worth it, and I just try to have a few things around from Costco that I know I can throw in the oven if I am really not in the mood to cook. And we go out to other places like sandwiches and sushi, but no McDonalds. Sob.
And I think that’s it! So there you go. I am pretty sure I just made “Eat a Lot of Vegetables” into 2000 words, but what can you do? Long windedness. It’s one of my best talents.
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