Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How I Lost over 30 Pounds in 2011

I have mentioned my weight loss journey here before, but bear with me again.  I've had this post in my head for months now, and its high time I actually get the nerve to hit 'post.'

Now, perhaps some people wouldn't have considered me overweight at the beginning of the year.  But I sure did. I was very uncomfortable with how much I weighed.  Even technically speaking, at my weight and height, my BMI told me I was indeed "overweight." But oftentimes, I think I suffered from reverse anorexia: the amazing phenomena where you think you look thinner than you really are.  Though I didn't like how I looked, I knew it was a whole lot better than where I was right after Annabelle was born ( I gained 60 pounds with Annabelle. I know, l don't understand it myself either).  The first 30 pounds of weight loss was easy, half was baby and water weight, the other half - blood sweat and tears at BabyBootCamp.

Here is what I looked like before:

My weight here was 165. At 5'5" that is a BMI of 27.5. Otherwise known as: overweight. Not something anyone likes to think about themselves.  For the curious,  I was a size 12.

I did not shed the 30 pounds in 2011 overnight. It took me all year, doing different things to change my eating habits to where they are today. 

First of all, last January I cut out all processed sugar from my diet as a small step in losing weight and eating healthier. I lost 5 pounds. I was thrilled.  My exercise plan remained the same.

The next major change to eating healthier was when we moved in with my Grandmother and we began eating like she does with dinner as the main meal of the day eaten in the middle of the day, rather than late at night.  Supper, a light meal, we ate in the evening. Basically: dinner for lunch and lunch for dinner.  Just with this switch, I lost five pounds. Even after having to quit my 3 day a week one hour long strenuous exercise class, and switching to a very moderate 20 minute walk every day (and of course running around chasing the kids up and down the stairs).

By May, just with making small changes, I had lost 10 pounds. 

Then, came the bigger changes.  In October, as I wrote about here, I read the book Eat to Live, and have followed the eating plan that Dr. Furhman encourages.  After the first 6 weeks I lost 15 pounds.  So far, overall, I have lost a little over 20 pounds since 'eating to live.' My exercise plan remained the same.

That makes for a total of just over 30 pounds lost in one year (33 if you want to get technical)  

30 of the easiest pounds I've ever lost. 

I never knew it could be this easy to be this thin.  Size 4 thin.  Even my skinny jeans from high school are too big for me now. 

I thought I would have to give up enjoying food. Nope, not so.  I enjoy food much more now than ever before.

I thought I would have to be miserable, starving myself to get to be this thin.  Not so. Not even close. I enjoy eating much more food than I have ever eaten before.

I thought it would be more expensive to eat this healthy.  Turns out, when you stop buying all those processed foods you have more money to buy the healthier produce.  Our weekly grocery bills are actually lower than before. 

I wish someone had told me how to eat like this when I was younger.  I look back and think on all those years I was overweight and miserable. I have never felt better, or have enjoyed this much energy than I have eating to live.

Have I been perfect in eating the 'eat to live' way? Absolutely not.  I let myself enjoy pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (and small amounts of the other 'forbidden foods'), and a smattering of holiday treats and foods over the long holiday season. Even birthday cakes with ice cream, mac and cheese, and a weekend spent celebrating my friend Jenessa's wedding.  But I make better choices the rest of the day.  I load up on huge salads, eat a tons of fruit and vegetables, and I still don't eat much late in the evening.  So, when I do choose to enjoy special treats, they are just that. Special treats. And with eating the way I have 90% of the rest of the time, I still have managed to lose weight even over the holidays, rather than gain like the average American does.

What I'm even more excited about - beyond how much better I feel in my own body - is how much better I feel overall.  I mean, I am happier, 'lighter' of not just body - but spirit.  And more energetic, too.  My energy is through the roof.  As are my creative and critical thinking powers. For writing, for my kids, for life (though with more creative energies flowing, the organizational energies have lagged.  Somethings gotta give, right?). 

If you wanted to just start out making small changes to get your health on track, you'll see those changes reflected on the scale. Small changes mean small loses.   But if you want to see big results in the way you look and feel, you've got to make big changes to the way you eat.  Everything hinges on what you put into your body.

I never thought I could make all the changes that Dr. Fuhrman suggests in his book.

I thought 'its too restrictive.' "I'll miss dairy too much!" But after making the changes, I realize it gave me more freedom than I ever dreamed possible.  And I realize, I don't like the way that cheese makes me feel afterward.  Yeah, it tastes great, but I feel horrible afterward.  When I had dairy as a constant in my diet, I never knew that I could feel anything other than the way I felt. Now that I know better, when I slip up and divulge in dairy - it makes for a great reminder why I don't have it in my daily diet.
(As for meat - I've always been a vegetarian, so that has never been an issue). 

I'm done with the SAD (Standard American Diet) way of living for good.

Size 4. 134 lbs. 5'5
Please excuse the poor quality of the before shot.  I never liked being in front of the camera, just me, much before.  So, the only picture that I could find, I had to photoshop out the people behind me. As you can see - I still have a lot to learn with photoshop. 

Please, ask me anything about "eating to live." I'd love to answer any questions you have.