Weight Loss, or how I did it.

I had contemplated losing weight for awhile before I started actively trying. My thought process was unless I was truly committed I was not even going to try. I figured for me it was all or nothing. Then I had some major upheavals in my life and I guess I was just ready for big change. Weight loss included. But overall it has been a journey and I have had to start with small things and switch it up when nothing is working anymore.

The first thing I did was get a scale. I also signed up for http://www.calorie-count.com/
I wasn’t using this to count calories but to use the graphing program for my weight itself. Now, I know you hear over and over that you should only weigh yourself once a week but I don’t believe that. I weigh myself every single day at the same time every morning. I get up, use the bathroom, get ready for my shower, and step on the scale. I then add that to my calorie count weight tracker. Doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t matter if it is bigger or smaller of a number than you want. Just do it. The graph has 2 lines, a blue line for actuals and a green line for over all. I want to see that overall line go down with time. My actuals will fluctuate but the green line goes down regardless. That is what I am looking to have happen and since I am a visual person, this really keeps me motivated. Also, weighing myself every day makes me consciously consider what I am eating during the day.

Now, scale wise, lets talk a bit about “that time of the month” and the week leading up to it. Originally this meant that my weight was going to go up during that time and then drop off afterwards. Now it means that my weight will stay the same, then drop off afterwards. Really, if you use my method, try not to get discouraged during those 2 weeks. Just stay persistent in what is working for you and in a week or 2 it will pay off.

I also cut portion sizes quite a bit. But I did not immediately change my diet. I tried to be a bit more active, but I am a knitter, not a runner! I am a single mother and gym time is not a priority. If I had a membership, I would not use it. I don’t have the time for it, and that is not said as a cop out. Even when I don’t have my daughter I am constantly cleaning the house or getting yard work done. So we have to consider that my exercise. I also moved closer to work so that I could walk while pushing my daughter in the stroller when the weather cooperated. That is a round trip of 3.6 miles and it takes only half an hour there and half an hour back. About the same amount of time it used to take me to commute. (on the other hand, we don’t do it as often as I would like because the weather doesn’t cooperate!) I tried to get out of the house more on the weekends, taking my daughter to the zoo or anything that required more walking than I would normally do.

Next step was a major change in my diet. I cut out the cheese. I am telling you, cheese and potato chips are my biggest downfall. Potato chips were easy because I just completely stopped keeping snacks in the house. But cheese….ah…cheese my favorite….how can I not eat it?!?! It is in everything! I cut out some of the cheese. I decided I didn’t need to eat meat any longer. Please understand this wasn’t a “crunchy” decision. I am not against eating meat. I just wanted to do something to see if it would get me over a plateau. It did. If you really want wonderful, non meat based meals, cook Mediterranean! To replace the cheese I started making my own yogurt out of organic milk. I don’t eat it with fruit and sugar, but I salt it and strain it with cheesecloth and eat it with olive oil and whole wheat flat breads. I switched to whole wheat flour in my cooking and personally I don’t mind it in the least! Banana bread, muffins, it all tastes just as good with whole wheat. Different, but just as good. To keep up on my proteins I eat a lot of beans and nuts. I also, on occasion, eat fish, more often than not, salmon. Eggs on the weekend but I don’t have them that often. I think I ran into an iron issue early on in my attempt to cut out the meats which has lead me to eat oatmeals and whole grain hot cereals on occasion during the week.

After the major diet changes, I started wearing a pedometer. I used my first week as a baseline of how many steps I would take normally and now I try to up it on a regular basis.

Changes since the weight loss and diet change:

I feel fantastic most of the time! I need less sleep at night and feel less tired and run down during the work day. I haven’t been sick and when I do get sick, it doesn’t last long at all. I used to want to learn to run, but when I did, I would just end up with a major asthma attack. So it was never pleasant and I could never do it. 29 pounds lighter, I can run, and do so without an asthma attack, and I can do so without having to work up to it. And it feels good!

My biggest fear:

That this winter will put me back into a rut. I am often feeling needy for comfort foods during the long winter months and so I eat cheese and heavy meals and more and more of it because I just feel cold and tired and hungry all the time. I also fear that this won’t be a long term change, and I want it to be a lifelong commitment.

I think I have pretty much covered it all. I try to buy organic milk products when I can or when they are on sale. They are expensive so often I just don’t buy them at all. I don’t like the thought of hormones and antibiotics in my milk products and this is one case where I do feel that the research has shown that this is not a good thing longterm. Produce, for the most part, you can wash and get rid of any junk on it, but milk and meat isn’t like that. Once again, not a “crunchy” decision, but something I have thought through quite a bit.

As far as my daughter is concerned, I don’t feed her meat at home, but she gets it at school and when she is visiting her father. I feel that is enough and she can learn differently with me.

Shopping

So, some of you who know me well, already know that I have been seeing someone for a couple of months. I don’t talk about him here. Not because I don’t want to, it would be fun sometimes, but because I get the distinct impression he would not appreciate it. But for the purpose of this story, he will be mentioned.

Sometimes spending time with him is a bit like having a girlfriend around. Shopping, which is something I don’t particularly care for, is one of those situations that illustrates this well. I couldn’t care less about designers and name brands. For a long time, all I wanted to buy was black or white clothes because it was easier. On top of that, I weighed more and never liked how I looked in clothing, nor did clothing fit properly. With the weight lost, shopping is a bit more fun but for me, though it will never be something I want to do frequently. Not so with the significant other. He loves name brands (but only on sale and only if he truly believes the fabric and patterns to be of a higher quality than other clothing.) He knows his designers. He absolutely loves to shop and does so every weekend. He doesn’t always buy but he somehow just HAS to look. If I am with him, I cannot escape the inevitable “Let’s see what they might have for you!” Now, I have to give him credit for being a great shopping buddy because I still think I am a much larger size than I am, and I cannot seem to pick out things with nice “contrast” a concept that he holds very dear when choosing clothing. I have found that my best bet is to pick a few things off the racks, doesn’t matter what it is, just grab the first few things, and get to a dressing room. This way, I don’t actually have to search through the racks of clothing that I find so overstimulating and frustrating. I just try on those first few things and the clothes keep coming. I go out to show one outfit and there are more waiting for me. Resistance is futile. I can say “No No, I don’t fit into a small” and he will say “Just try it, I think it looks like it will fit.” I have realized that I am wrong every time. No amount of internal eye rolling seems to change this fact. I’ve given up, I just go with it. What he chooses looks and fits better than things I would choose for myself. He has a good eye for clothing.

That brings us to Saturday evening’s shopping experience. We went to the local upscale department store which was having a large sale. We spent a good deal of time looking through the men’s department and finding great stuff. I was even enjoying myself because I DO enjoy a sale and finding something inexpensive. When Ralph Lauren is 75% off with an additional 30% off of that, it starts to be very affordable and doesn’t make me slightly ill when looking at it. Also, my advice was being asked for in regards to Ralph Lauren hand knit sweaters. Ask me my opinion about hand knits and my heart is yours! (No hand knits were bought during this shopping experience, I didn’t like the necklines).

Then there was the inevitable “Let’s see what they might have for you!” accompanied by a giggle. *insert my internal eye rolling here* So off we go. I don’t see anything nice or new or on sale in the area I usually frequent. I remember that the last time, all the women’s clothing sales were up front. We head to the front where I am seeing many sales racks but his eye is caught by an Antonio Melani section. This siren’s call I am apparently immune to as the name means nothing to me. He spots a beautiful dress and drags me over to it. I look first at the price tag. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if it is on sale, my opinion is that over $100 is still not a deal. At this point I am ignoring the additional 30% off. Beautiful dress though! He argues that you can’t get Antonio Melani for under $200. I say it isn’t a deal if it doesn’t fit and I know it isn’t going to fit. I check the sizes. Yeah, 0, 2, 4, the highest we get is a size 10. I am still in size 16 and recently was able to buy a dress in size 12 but I assumed that was a fluke. I ignore his wanderings through this pricey section and wander out to the sales racks. All juniors out there, and we KNOW that isn’t going to fit. He draws me back to what can only be referred to as “the” dress. I am asked to take another look. I do so with my nose practically in the air. I don’t need no stinkin’ designer dress. But as I touch it, it is calling to me too. The linen is so thick and heavy, the embroidery so beautiful. It has tiny little wooden beads all over it. I have jewelry that would match. It is fully lined. It is really beautiful. My biggest issue here is that I don’t fit in a size 10 and trying it on is only going to make me feel poorly about myself. But I have someone begging me to try it on. So I decide I am going to, and when it won’t fit over my hips I am gonna walk out of that dressing room anyhow. I’ll show HIM I am thinking! So grudgingly I pick up that size 10 dress and wander off to the dressing room. Man, that dress feels nice! I try it on. The dress is now teasing me. It floats over my hips. No way, that means the zipper isn’t going to zip. Coming tantalizingly close to fitting into something beautiful is far worse than it not fitting at all. I know that zipper isn’t going to zip! *zzziiippp* What’s this? It zipped?!?! I double check to make sure it is all the way to the top. It isn’t even tight. Something is seriously wrong here! I look in the mirror. Oh man, I like the way this dress looks. And feels. Did I mention the tiny wooden beads? It is stunning! I look good. Really good. But really, what is the point? I have no where to wear this dress and it is the end of the season. I can take it off now and pretend it doesn’t fit. That would save me a lot of trouble. Yet my mind is racing with the potential of what stole or wrap I can knit for it and I know I am looking better than I have in a long time. My hand goes to the doorknob to walk out and show it off. I hesitate. I know if I show off this dress, it is as good as mine. I tempt fate and open the door anyhow. From him I get the head nod that says “Looks great!” But from other shoppers I get exclamations!

Dress

Look at the beads, zoom in here.

Have I mentioned the beautiful tiny wooden beads?

He insisted that I have the dress. He insisted on buying it. It was a good price but way more than I would spend on a dress. It is high quality, it is beautiful. I was told if it makes me feel better I won’t get a Christmas gift but that I would have this dress. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry because I realized that I look good right now. I wanted to cry because someone cared enough to notice. I wanted to cry because I don’t think I have ever owned clothing that beautiful. But instead of crying, we went to Starbucks.

2 tall mocha’s later, we are discussing what color wrap I should make for it. I want to go with beige (the safe color) he wants a light sagey green. (contrast, remember?) I say, “You know, we should start looking for a winter dress for the upcoming wedding in my family.” I get the head nod. I say “I think if we look now we have plenty of time and I won’t feel stressed. If you help me look, I know you will give me an honest opinion and I really need your eye!” He pretends to hand me his eye. Now I am laughing for the rest of the evening.

Did I tell you there are tiny little wooden beads all over that dress? So pretty!

The real issue.

I wore a pair of knit pants this morning which I haven’t tried on in a year or so. Last time I wore them I noticed that they were shrinking. The length got shorter and pretty soon I was wearing high water pants. How could I wear them today you might ask? Because as some of you know, I recently lost 20 pounds. Turns out the pants were not getting shorter, my butt was getting bigger! 🙂