Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Throwing in the Towel

Yeah, this is just not working for me. I just have no joy in the process anymore.

When I said this would be my "one last shot," I meant it. I said if I could not stick to this plan I would quit. Well, maybe I could stick to this plan, but I don't want to. I am happier when I am not sucked up in "dieting." Setting this down is a relief to me... almost "permission" to fully immerse myself in my own life, putting all of my attention on enjoying my family, doing the things that bring me joy. I am going to eat healthfully, but it will just be a normal part of my life and not the focus. 

Thanks for the support. It's been great getting to know many of you. I'd love to document getting back to a healthy weight, but not like this. When things change, I may write again. But for now, goodbye and God bless each of you on your journey.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Doesn't Feel Natural

So far this month I am down 2.5 pounds. I've been thinking about how I am going to keep losing long term, whether by this same calorie counting or by some other method. Eating only 1100 calories a day is not really what I had in mind for weight loss this time around, and I do worry about whether I can keep this up for the months needed to get to my goal. I have very little "wiggle room" to cut calories lower if my weight loss stalls at some point. I'm really not sure what to do.

I would like to lose faster, not because I am impatient (okay, some days I am) but because the longer this takes, the more days there are that I could fall off plan. I mean, I am pretty sure I can do 30 days without screwing up. But the more days you add on, the more likely I am to falter. At this rate I am looking at more than a year to get the weight off. Diet fatigue is real; I'm not tired of counting calories because I have counted calories for 19 days... I'm tired of it because I have counted calories for much of my adult life. I'm trying to view it as a positive: more data, more control over the outcome, more ability to see what is happening and what I need to change. I just think people aren't meant to diet/restrict for years and years. That's why it feels unnatural to me. I guess I have never really done something that feels natural and like a new normal, except back when I was first losing weight on the blog in 2007-8. THAT felt natural, and generally low stress. It did not feel like I was forcing myself to do something unnatural to me. That is how I feel now; no matter how I look at it, trying to eat 1100 calories and keep my carbs to 80ish does not really feel natural. It *does* feel like restriction, because it *is* restriction. In 2008-9, I was also counting calories (on Sparkpeople) but eating 1500 calories a day of whatever foods I wanted, and that happened to be mostly healthy, unprocessed stuff. I was having fun making my old recipes healthier, eating portions that felt satisfying, eating lots of produce. I was also riding my bike 5 or 6 days a week. I was losing weight and feeling good and it felt like this was my *new life* and I could keep doing it forever. But I stalled, it didn't work forever, after losing 64 pounds I just stopped losing, regained some, and couldn't "make it work" anymore. I truly wish I could go back to *that* model of eating, but now, even though I weigh more than I did then, I gain on 1500. Granted I don't bike 30 minutes a day, so I am working up to that and wondering if that will allow me to lose and maybe eat at a higher calorie level again.

For now I am just sticking with this tracking, increasing exercise, seeing what results I get from doing this for the month of July. I have another idea for August... but we'll see. I need to mull it over a bit more before I decide!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Weigh In, Getting Tired of Counting

First, here are my stats for the week. I have weighed, measured, and tracked everything I have eaten during the month of July. I am weighing in a day early because I have a busy day planned tomorrow.

Calories/carbs/protein this week:

890 / 69 g / 50 g
1219 / 74 g / 87 g
1134 / 95 g / 56 g
1152 / 61 g / 59 g
1159 / 94 g / 62 g
1051/ 109 g / 49 g

This averaged out to 1101 calories, 84 g carbs, and 61 g protein per day. That's right about what I was aiming for on calories and carbs, and a little low on protein. As of this morning my weight was down slightly, to about 237.5. I am using a non-digital, dial scale and the needle was right between numbers. Generally I don't count a pound lost until it hits that number exactly, but I want to recognize that there was a slight downward tick on the scale. I have to celebrate every move downward when the losses are this slow. What really counts, though, is what's lost in a month, or a year.

As I mentioned before, my bout with kidney stones put a huge damper on the exercise this week, but I am back to walking and swimming and being active now. I'm enjoying my summer and being outside a lot, too.

I am, however, really sick of counting, measuring, tracking already. I burn out a lot more quickly now on this kind of thing. When I was counting back near the beginning of this blog, I tracked every day for months. I've had way too many stints of calorie counting lasting up to a year and didn't mind it at all. But I don't think it is something I want to do, or would willingly do, for the rest of my life. I am doing it now for the purpose of weight loss, but hopefully I will be able to maintain with a non-tracking, AIP-ish template eventually. I don't like having to think about food this much, but if it gets some weight off I will do it. I have eaten under 1300 calories every day this month and plan to continue.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gluten Doesn't Matter, and other Hashimotos Woes

I've been 100% gluten free since February (coming up on six months now) and today I went to see my endocrinologist for a follow up visit. He is the one who originally suggested that I should go gluten free for my thyroid (and also asked me to do an elimination diet, which is how I got started on AIP last year). I was very interested to see how the diet change and medication may have affected my thyroid numbers; everything I have read online indicated that you can actually see a reduction in the TPO (thyroid antibodies) in the blood work if gluten is eliminated. I really wanted to see if my numbers had improved.

Well, what a letdown. First, the doctor did not order the TPO test in the pre-visit bloodwork. When I realized this, I called and asked his nurse request it. He still didn't order the test. So I figured I'd ask him about it in person at my appointment. When I did, he said "TPO doesn't matter. You have the antibodies, you'll always have them. The number will fluctuate but you will always have Hashimotos." Then he told me that all my other thyroid tests came back almost exactly the same as they did last year before starting medication. We talked about how I felt better at first, but gradually I've had symptoms return: tiredness, difficulty losing weight, lack of energy, etc. He said the thyroid medication raised my levels at first but then my thyroid compensated by making less hormone, so now my levels are the same as they used to be. He didn't want to increase the dose again, because my thyroid would again compensate by making less hormone. He said I could just quit taking the medication now, since I am no longer seeing benefits, and my thyroid should start making more hormone again. As long as my symptoms don't get worse, I can stay off the Synthroid... and, as he said, wait for the inevitable failing of my thyroid due to Hashimotos. How encouraging.

So then I mentioned that I had taken his advice and have been gluten free for almost six months straight. He asked me how I felt... if my tiredness, lack of energy, weight loss difficulties... had improved by going gluten free. I told him I didn't think so. And he said, "then there's really no reason for you to continue avoiding gluten. You've given it a good trial. I'd say it's pretty definitive that it's not helping." And he said I could go back to eating gluten.

I don't know how I feel about that. I have read so much about Hashimoto's and gluten, and that's why I wanted to see the TPO numbers.... to see if being gluten free had helped the autoimmune disease. Without that feedback, I feel lost. I talked to him about what I have read, and he said not to believe all the hype on the Internet about Hashimoto's. Told me there's no cure, nothing that can be done, and I'll always have it and my thyroid will eventually fail.

I asked if he had any idea what could be causing my symptoms. He mentioned female hormones and pre-menopause, but said that it could be one of my blood pressure meds making me tired. He advised me to work with my primary doctor to get off one of those medications and perhaps increase the other one, and see if that helps. I told him I am eating an average of about 1150 calories a day, lots of protein and not a lot of carbs. He told me 1) it wouldn't hurt to cut back to 1000 calories a day (but not lower), and 2) a half pound a week is a perfectly acceptable rate of loss.

Well, I dunno. Seems awfully slow to me, especially when, if I take a month to lose 2 pounds, and then eat a box of gluten free cookies over a weekend, I regain both pounds in two days. But that's all he had for me. Now I am really at a loss about the gluten thing. Maybe it IS pointless. I don't want to eat any gluten unless I feel sure though... and I wish I could get those TPO numbers to help me decide.

In other news, my eating has been fine and on target this week. I spent four days in pain from kidney stones (NO FUN to pass, omg) but am much better now. My activity level plummeted for those 4 days because every move I made felt like I was being stabbed in the back. But now that I've passed 3 stones, I am feeling much better and ready to get back to normal activity.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Update/Weigh In

Just wanted to give a short update on how I've been doing, plus my weigh-in results.

I have had 11 days straight on plan, following the guidelines I set forth in my One Last Shot post. Here's how I have done with those goals:

Tracking calories daily on MFP: done
Stay around 1200-1300 calories/day: done, if slightly low. Last week I averaged 1139 calories/day and this week I averaged 1158 calories/day. 
Wear and use FitBit daily: done
Stay gluten free: yes, 100%
Reduce my sugar intake: yes. Carbs averaged 99g /day last week and 88 g/day this week.
Increase protein: yes. Averaged 69 g/day last week and 67 g/day this week.
Exercise five days a week: I exercised every day July 1 - 5, and 3 days since then. I should have had one more day of exercise in there. Got very busy and will be sure not to let this slide this week. I've been swimming, walking, and biking, plus the occasional yard work (I only count yard work as exercise if I am dripping sweat).

As a result I lost another pound this week for a total of 2 pounds gone in July so far, weighing 238 this morning. I still have not started my strength training routine; my goal was to be in a routine by the end of the month so I will start on it this week. I need some suggestions for keeping up the strength training while away from home. I can't take hand weights with me. I don't want to let it slide on my upcoming trips. Thoughts?

Honestly, it still annoys me a bit that I lose so slowly on such low calories. I'm not surprised though; even when I was drinking shakes all day and ingesting 900 calories a day on Medifast, I averaged 5 to 7 pounds a month. I wasn't exercising though. If I can average 5 pounds a month doing this, I think it is a lot more doable long term. I am enjoying my food, I eat things I like, it's pretty flexible (even if I want a higher carb food, I can fit it in most of the time by eating very low carb the rest of the day) and I am able to eat pretty well at restaurants, friends' houses, and potlucks. I feel good and I am finally sleeping better, too. I'm not hungry much and feel satisfied. You can see my food choices on previous posts, since I shared everything I have eaten since the 1st. I've had a couple of questions from readers about how I am eating so many higher fat/cal foods and still staying so low calorie. I do it by eating small portions. If I want almonds, I have six. Maybe 12, max, but usually six. If I want a German sausage, I slice *half* of one into coins and fry it up with onions and cabbage, which are very low cal. Most of the bacon I use has 40-45 calories in a slice, so I can have a piece or two for breakfast with some veggies or fruit. I weigh my avocado and have 2 or 3 ounces at a time. Tortilla chips? Six is enough, with a low carb  meal. So my strategy is to have small portions of the calorie-dense or higher carb foods, and large portions of the low cal or high protein foods (like salad, veggies, chicken). That way I am full at the end of my meal... mainly full of produce and protein, with smaller tastes of carby or fatty things. It works for me.

That's all for now! Hope you are having a wonderful summer with friends and family!

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