Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Celebrating a little success and some thoughts of how to defeat the fat demons

I am celebrating today! I have lost forty pounds, not yet to my goal, but close enough to stop and celebrate and share my thoughts on this fat thing, in hope to encourage anyone who is wanting to change and be encouraged to go for it!.

I was not happy carrying extra weight.

I didn't let it stop me from living, loving my husband, raising my children, and adventuring through my life.
Carrying extra weight did hold me back and held a grey cloud over my self conscious, self esteem, self image and self respect. Some from vanity, but most from wanting better health and being in control of my self and not finding a successful way to change, being in the rut or pit where it felt to hard to get out. Having my last child at 45, I had to start seriously thinking about my long term health.

Although, I have not always battled weight, I have been battling diet and healthy choices my whole life. My main and simple problem is: I loved simple carbs. I lived on simple carbs. I craved simple carbs. I knew how to pick them out of any menu, spiced with a little of the protein stuff I liked. My compounding problem is that I am lazy. I fear pain. I don't like inconvenience.

I was a picky eater as a child, always the last one still sitting at the table long after dinner was over, driving my mother crazy, or maybe keeping her company in the kitchen while she piddled and cleaned up after dinner. I mastered the art of hiding food on my plate, under things I wouldn't eat, or dispose of in emergency bathroom runs. Everyone tolerated me, teased me a little about my bad eating habits, not enough to motivated me to change and so, and I carried my bad habits into adulthood.

I didn't challenge myself, I didn't see the point. I didn't change as I aged.  I had no good cooking habits, no good eating habits, very bad grocery shopping habits. Well, I did have periods of gluten free, and only organic, motivated best when I had my own garden, but pressed with feeding a growing family, I resorted back to what I knew...carbs.

I didn't really battle weight until after my third child was born.
Hey - Nick was 10 pounds, 12 ounces, a full two feet long!! Biggest baby I had ever seen...
but not the reason I put on weight.

Moving contributed to it, at least I could mark it on the scale.
I lost myself, and kept letting go a little more each time we moved.
We moved when Nick was 3 months old..... I gained ten pounds
We moved when Nick was 22 months old..... I gained ten pounds
We moved when Nick was 3.... I gained ten pounds...
We moved when Nick was 7.... I gained ten pounds.

Thank goodness, we stopped moving.

I used to say with each move I left piece of my heart with family, friends and places we had left behind...

But what also happened, I gained a little more to myself with each move. I also had three more children during those years, letting that accumulated extra something think it was there for life. (I gained more than weight on our moves: friends, spiritual journeys, rich experiences, family time we wouldn't have had otherwise, but I'm trying to stay focused.)

Was I overeating because I was depressed?   Stressed?
Granted, living in new situations and setting up community for my family and young children in new places can be very hard. But that wasn't it either. I actually enjoyed the challenge and adventure of meeting new people and making new friends and seeing parts of the country I hadn't seen before.

I was lazy, and I was hard on myself, and I was busy raising and having babies to whom I gave my whole heart and body to, including extended nursing, and didn't really want to push myself to take of my body too. But mostly, I had a lifetime of bad eating habits.

Sugar begets sugar.
Sugar consumption begets the need for more and more often sugar consumption,
or you have one cranky mama. I see it now, and have read scientific evidence, when you eat sugar (and other simple carbs like flour and corn), your brain reacts differently than with other food, and sets a clock to crave more, and demand more, and won't leave you  at peace until you feed it more sugar. Over and over through the day; day after day.

I also have accepted the fact that calories matter.
The quantity you take in matters. No, my body isn't special because I was nursing, exercising, not sleeping, whatever, calories matter. I told myself all kinds of lies. I have now limited mine to 1200 a day during this weight loss experience, and wonder if I'll ever get to a point I'll increase it. My husband uses the guide -
weight want to be x 100 = calories to take in daily.
When I eat matters, try to get the majority of the daily calories in by lunch. Must eat protein with breakfast or I end up a little shaky and very cranky during the day.

Type of calories are important too.
I had lost weight in younger years by limiting my calories low but still rich with sugar based foods - weight came back quickly. Protein is so important. I was good during pregnancies, and always quickly lost my pregnancy weight because I was eating for the health of my baby. I didn't crave sugar. I ate protein: animal and vegetable, and was strict on carbs. Once the baby was born, I was nursing, the sugar cravings returned, and the diet battle began again.

If we eat three things: protein, carbs and fats, our body can make fat and carbs it needs out of protein, I can't make protein out of carbs and fats. If we are feeding it carbs, our body goes to burn carbs first, not stored fat. I feel more satisfied when I eat proteins, now I understand why.

Water - only thing I drink. And on occasion, tea flavored water, unsweetened.
This would come as a surprise to most of my close finally, as I was the soda queen for as long as I remember. No sodas for me since before April. There is probably some truth that sodas can add 10 pounds a year. Bad for you - stop them now. I believe it is the single biggest reason for the improvement in my complexion.

Exercise - I'm not an athlete. I married a man who had been an athlete, but sports activities do not guarantee a future fit person, if anything the muscle weight (with weight lifters) only adds to the weight need to be lost later in life. Finding an exercise I enjoyed and could easily fit it in my day has been a big part of my success.
What is that wonderful exercise?  - Walking.
I walk outside; treadmills make me nervous (another story). I like fresh air, I like committing to a time and trail that  has a length averaging 3.5 to 5 miles. Walking gives me a break from the demands of the house and motherhood, and I usually get time to visit with my husband, daughter or friend and God.

I keep track of my calories and exercise on my iphone app, and it updates to a calorie counting app my  fitness pal - but I DO NOT eat back those calories - ever. I know marathoners do. I'm not a marathoner.

Prayer, confession, support.
I prayed to be successful.
I confessed past sins and begged for Grace to change bad habits.
I started this journey with my husband and support of our household.
We both had started separately in the past, had individual success, but eventually gained back because our household had not changed its bad eating habits and attitudes toward food.

Identify bad habits of eating behaviors.
We ate out too much. Forever. We are foodies at heart, and I love the atmosphere of being out and about.
We had processed food tucked in the pantry. After I started working on changing my life, and I would hit a stressful point in the afternoon, and find myself standing in the pantry. 
More. Than. Once. 
Almost as though I was transported there, I didn't really remember walking in there. Laughing at myself, and questioning what was I looking for? Fortunately, there wasn't anything to tempt me, I grabbed a stalk of celery instead. Environment has so much to do with our success. Craig travels, and maybe I could get him to tell how he manages to eat healthy in airports, hotels and on the road.

Yes, sometimes I feel hungry and cranky. I try to change my environment instead of satisfying it with food.

We are careful and picky with what we purchase at the grocery. No processed foods come home (except some cereals the kids eat). If it isn't here, and salad and vegetable choices are here, we'll eat vegetables. Lettuce is my new "bread," we build salads with all varieties of food, leaving bread off the menu. (Although my bratty self still won't eat a hamburger on lettuce).

Change bad habits of routine around the house.
Mornings are my best time of day, but I save exercise for the evening and use my morning energy to get all the other projects going first. I cancelled the satellite tv. We still have netflix. The think I love about this the most, we sit to watch a show, then get up. We don't scan channels looking for something to watch unlimited as was our habit. We also are not bombarded with commercials. We get our news on the internet. I also intentionally went outside. I sit on my back porch in all kinds of weather. We have great visits back there. I learned to not mind sweating in the heat. (remember, I already confessed my inner brat?) Sweating also help complexion and cleans out toxins. I say yes to all kinds of activities that take our school work outside. Fresh air works wonders on a state of mind.

Other lies and realities:
No one will stop me, people will let me get fat. I have free will, for better or worse.
I control what goes in my mouth
No one can do it for me. It is my own journey.
Mirror image of myself is not photo image.
Portion sizes are false, misleading and usually Way. Too. Large. I have had to learn to dissect the ingredients and determine calories in dishes, or inquire on internet menus of information already there.
Don't think diet, think new way of life living.
It is much easier, and more satisfying with support, and joining others on the journey, cheering their success, and hearing their support is music to my ears.
Don't wait to feel full, control intake with calories.
Eat slowly - it helps a little.
Every day is a new day!
Offer those hunger pains for souls in purgatory and ask for their prayers in return.
We have to forgive ourselves to move on.
Watermelon, strawberries and celery are our friends, as is raw spinach and seaweed salad.

We aren't 100% restrictive, but stick to our limits and cheer each others success, knowing we are working together for our common future, and teaching the kids to look at their food differently. I don't want to live on a "diet," I want to train myself and my kids to eat better, to crave better foods and see sugar for what it is: the devil.  I have  many more pounds to loose and a long way to go to quiet that bratty self that is still in me with sugar thoughts and desires.

But today, I am celebrating.

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