Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sugar In My Coffee


This morning, instead of having my usual cup of coffee with just cream or sugar free caramel creamer, I'm sitting here sipping on a big mug of coffee with half and half and a nice sized spoonful of sugar. I haven't had sugar in coffee in ages, since my "lower carb" way of eating means I generally steer clear of sugar (especially when there's an easy, sugar-free alternative). But there's a reason today, and maybe you'll relate. Or maybe not.

Have you ever done a low carb, restricted eating plan like keto, South Beach, or Medifast, where you are super restrictive of every carb, get yourself into ketosis or a milder carb-restricted state, and then if you happen to "go off plan" (i.e., go on a sugar binge, lose your mind and eat a bunch of Pizza Rolls, or just say the heck with it and have the lasagna and garlic bread you've been craving) you get kicked out of ketosis/"fat burning" and overnight, gain 5 pounds of water, feel like utter crap, and wake up with a carb hangover? I have. Many times. Then it is *so hard* to get back into ketosis. Sometimes it takes days or weeks of trying, and when you attempt to restrict carbs again you get a massive headache and feel totally run down and awful. I always hated that, and it was part of the reason I so often *stayed* off plan if I went off plan for just one meal. Have you been there?

I don't do that anymore. Since I am not trying to get into actual ketosis, I don't get as hard of a "carb flu" effect when I happen to eat higher carbs for a meal. Even on Medifast, though, I struggled so much with getting back on plan if I went off for even one day. My carb level these days is similar, I think, to what it was on Medifast: under 100g/day and ideally, under 80. That meant *all* carbs, not "net" with fiber subtracted. I don't count carbs now like I did on Medifast but I do know that about 5 days out of 7, I eat under 100 grams of carbs... net. I do look at labels now and subtract sugar alcohols and fiber when I decide whether a serving of that food is in my comfort zone or not (usually I aim for the under 15g/serving that was my goal on Medifast). But you know, there are days I want a good piece of homemade bread or a piece of special birthday cake or whatever and I just go ahead and have it. And on that day I just don't eat a lot of carbs at my other meals and I shrug and figure having a high carb day here and there might even help my body not get too used to never having a lot of carbs. It's not off plan. It is a *part* of my plan.

Last night, my daughter had her friends over for a sleepover. I ordered pizza and wings (and wow, can a group of tween girls put down some pizza!!) and had my usual: 4 garlic Parmesan wings and the toppings off a slice of supreme pizza (with a bite or two of crust). I had a diet Coke with it, too. But later, I kept passing the snack bowls and the chips and candy on the counter and just wanted to have some. I ended up grabbing a couple of Golden Oreos a few times through the evening, a handful or two of gummy bears, and even fixed myself a bowl of Doritos to have while watching TV.

Bad behavior? Or normalizing food?

I think if I play the mental game of "I ruined it" or "oh no, I am a failure" then I am doomed to sit here all day continuing to eat chips and candy. But by just being glad that we had a fun evening, and accepting that Oreos really don't have the power to ruin my life, I can be happy. I can tune in to how my body feels (a little sore, and a little sugar loaded) and do things to make it easier on myself today. I *do* have sugar withdrawals if I eat more than I am used to. I had a very mild headache this morning. I put a spoonful of sugar in my coffee, and now my headache is gone. It's an easy fix for me. I'll drink a lot of water and maybe take an Advil if my joints hurt, and that's that. Although no guarantees that I won't have a few chips with my lunch later today! Peace, and calm, no matter what I am eating.

We've been super busy this month and it's not going to let up for another 2 or 3 weeks. I have in mind that I really want to finish my Virtual Mission of biking across America, and I may start getting on the bike here and there this month. But next month I want to make it a regular part of my day again and finish what I started. My body is getting a bit mushy with the weight loss, and the remaining skin and fat is nowhere near firm. It's all jiggly and squishy and I'd love to have my body, especially my legs, firm up and feel better. I am finally, for the first time, realizing that getting to 175 pounds is not going to put me in a healthy state. HealthiER, yes. Good enough, yes. Ideal? No. Before, I always saw my 175 as thin and fit and healthy (because after getting to over 280, this weight sure is a dream!!) but this time, since I have done it very slowly with no white knuckling, I am free to see that I really would be better off losing some more weight. I don't *have* to, but I can. I think I could take off another 20 pounds, at least, and then see what state I am in. I am *not* making a weight loss goal, pushing myself to lose, feeling bad if I maintain, etc. I am just saying, I accept and understand this now, that it would be best to continue to lose. However, if losing becomes any kind of emotional struggle (with either restricting, weight numbers, or loose skin) or gives me stress then I am fine with staying right here where I feel good.

Scale says 182.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Weigh-In


This week I've been a very happy kind of busy. There's lots going on right now and I'm really enjoying all the end of summer fun, getting back into volunteering, and spending time with family. I share my eating on Instagram when I snap a picture and am keeping up with my daily weigh-ins. Today the scale says 180 pounds, down one pound from last week. Feeling great and staying active! I'll get back to writing more when I have a bit more down time; for now, I think I will have some ham and cheese before we head out to the pool. Hope you're having a great summer too!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Happy Bloggiversary: 11 Years Blogging


I can hardly believe it! Today is the eleven year anniversary of my starting this blog. In honor of this, I decided to give a brief overview and some new data about the past 11 years.

In my very first post on August 4, 2007, Why I Am Fat, I weighed 278 pounds. I was so determined to get out of that "hellish nightmare" of morbid obesity!

....insert a decade of blogging here....

In my anniversary post last year, Ten Years of This, I was on the verge of giving up. I had lost 103 pounds, regained 85 pounds (soooo depressing), and one year ago declared that I would not be posting again unless I got back under 240 pounds.

And then I disappeared. I had very little hope that I would actually lose that much weight. I felt defeated. After all, TEN YEARS!! I thought maybe it was time to hang it up with the blogging and just be fat and happy. Eat what I wanted. Get over this ridiculous drive to lose weight. And I tried to do that. But misery followed and after several weeks of gaining weight and feeling a bit lost, I went to my doctor for help... and started on phentermine.

When I finally came back to blogging, it was October and true to my word, I had gotten under 240. I wrote a post called The Next Chapter and have been back ever since!

Today I put all of my monthly weigh-in data into a new graph. I've charted my weight over the years, but a few times I changed charts so never had a complete, current graph of my weight from the start of my blog. But I have one now, and here it is. Eleven years of Escape from Obesity:

long term weight loss chart

As you can see, I marked the three significant periods of weight loss, and between the red lines I noted what method I was using to lose the weight: calorie counting, Medifast, and phentermine. All the time in between was spent trying. 

I am SO GLAD to be at the bottom of that nice big slope at the end. I pray it will continue, although a bit less steeply, and then level out to a nice, long flat line with very little variation. That's going to be the real trick: maintenance.

A bit of additional information my charting software gave me about the 11 years represented on this graph:

Weight change: -96lbs (-34.53% of body weight)
Starting BMI:  44.9 (morbidly obese)
Current BMI:  29.3 (overweight)

Wow. I never thought about the fact that I have lost over a third of my starting body weight! That is pretty amazing. No wonder I feel better!

Well that's enough for today, and probably for tomorrow, too. I will leave my Sunday weigh-in number in the comments tomorrow. Thanks for all your support!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 1, 2018: 182 Pounds


Yes! August 1st brought me to 182 pounds, which is a loss of 3 pounds for the month of July! I feel amazing, I am so happy that this time I am not white knuckling it through weight loss, just trying to hang on and force myself to lose more. If I never lose another pound but manage to maintain right here, I will be content! That seems to be the key, for me, to making this a doable-forever way of life.

This week I was wearing one of my usual shirts and kept having to mess with my bra straps and tug at the neckline to keep them from showing. Finally I realized that shirt was now too big on me (and the bra straps could use some tightening, too.) I took the opportunity to sort my very few shirts hanging in my closet, take out 4 that are now too large, plus a sweater that I know has become too big for me. I gave them away to a friend who is also losing weight but is a size behind me, so they will fit her just right. I also heaved a big sigh and decided that my two favorite swimsuits, which I have not worn since winter, really can't be worn anymore by me at all. They are size 20 and 22 but were tight enough to keep wearing for a long time. Now, they hang. Still in great shape, they made a nice gift for another friend who needed them. I am wearing my smaller, size 16 and 18 swimsuits now.

I also got two unsolicited comments this week: "Are you STILL losing weight??" Yes, I am... very slowly! But I guess it's noticeable. Somehow even three pounds in a month is enough to provoke questions! 

Last night I ate a *lot* more carbs than usual, which is something I tend to do a couple times a month. A friend brought some freshly baked, still warm, homemade bread and that is one of my favorite foods that I have no keto substitute for! I had two slices, heavily buttered, one as a snack and one with my dinner. It was delicious! I like knowing I can enjoy anything I want in moderation. No restriction means no stress about food... and no weight *loss* goals means no stress about weight loss. I do have weight *maintenance* range goals and that is working well for me.

I wanted to share some graphs of what my weight's been doing over the past few months. Here are unlabeled, numberless graphs showing my weight each month from March through July:

March

April

May

June

July

Each graph is one month long and ten pounds high (ten pound span, top to bottom) so you can see how my weight fluctuates during each month. Weighing daily and graphing it has helped a lot with my peace about weight. Ups and downs are normal for me. It's the overall trend that really matters. If you connected those five graphs together, you'd see that from March 1st through the end of July, I went from 202 pounds to 182 pounds. Not bad, huh?

My maintenance goal right now is to stay in the range of 180-185 pounds. I spent almost 6 weeks in the 184-189 range, so the timing feels right. My new range is just on the brink of the 170's, so if I manage to go there I think that will just be a bonus!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Weight... Wait


I don't have a lot to share today, and will write a more interesting post tomorrow. But I got a couple of emails asking me how my Sunday weigh-in went. And I didn't want to make you wait any longer in case you're wondering.

Sunday I weighed in at 183 pounds, which is two pounds down from last week. I cannot believe how much different this weight feels to me than it did last time around in the fall of 2010. I was so stressed out and upset about the loose, hanging skin and my "melting body." I am not 100% sure if it is just my mindset and "vision" this time, or if the skin issue really *is* better than it was last time. I know I took some photos back then and I might still have them on an old laptop. I might go take a peek and see if I can find them to compare to what I am seeing now. My arms still bug me, but only in the sense that I don't want them hanging out for everyone to see. So I wear half length sleeves and don't stress about it.

Feeling good, not worried, and working to stay in the 180-185 range for now!