If I can, you can…

19 Mar

This post is a little different than the ones in the past. This is about my weight loss and my journey to changing not only my life but my family. Yes I know that feeling “Well it’s great she was ready but I am not” so let me start my saying what I was before I tell you where I am. I promise to be candid, open, and honest (even about my weight). Maybe you will be the person who can relate to me and you’ll see yourself in me and have a “ah ha” moment. Or maybe you’ll be the person to judge me for allowing myself to get overweight and creating these bad habits to begin with but I’m fine with that. Quite frankly, I’m proud of myself and who I have become.

I was the carb lover, cookie eater, after the kids go to bed snacker because I didn’t want to share, blizzard addict, the eating for 2 (or 3) for no reason, the mom too busy, the mom too tired, the veggie hater (unless white potatoes and Green Giant Nibblets corn with butter counts), the overweight, asthmatic, pre-diabetic in denial even after multiple confirmed tests, it’s not my weight that is causing me problems 29 year old woman!

That description of me is pretty accurate. I found myself late December weighing 256.6 pounds at 5’ 9”. I realized I needed a change but I never could stick with anything long term. In the past I have tried Weight Watchers (2 times), South Beach, Adipex prescription diet pills, multiple over the counter pills, counting calories, and skipping meals. It didn’t work long term. I also have PCOS and like most women with PCOS I battle being overweight. I chose my foods based on what I wanted to “enjoy” that day. I was the woman so exhausted after eating a Texas toast egg with bacon sandwich every weekday morning and 20 oz. Dr. Pepper (630 calories). Then I would go to the café downstairs and buy Cheetos and drink the 12 oz. Dr. Pepper I brought from home (460 calories) so I would wake up, only to find that an hour later I was about to crash again. Then I’d barely stay awake till lunch. Then I’d eat two peanut butter sandwiches. That’s not bad right? WRONG…I know now that was nearly 1000 calories just for lunch. Then by 2 pm I was hunting for another snack to make it till the end of the day. I was physically wiped out after work and rested on the couch all afternoon at home. I had no clue how many calories were in the foods I was eating at the time. No wonder I was too tired to play with the kids after consuming so many calories. It was a vicious cycle I could not break. I loved those carbs (which is something I find us PCOS women have in common) like pasta and pizza too much, too often and with the lack of exercise the weight slipped on a little at a time, or at least it seemed that way.

I knew something had to change. I couldn’t continue being so tired but I just couldn’t change at that time. Every time I visited the Endocrinologist I was still the same 256 pound girl. Blood work always stated the same…still had hypothyroidism, still vitamin D deficient, and STILL a pre-diabetic. At my last visit before my “lifestyle change” in May 2012 I recorded the conversation with the doctor. At the time it was to allow my husband to hear all my medical conditions and health issues so he’d understand why I was so tired in the evenings. The doctor has always said it was all my conditions and weight rolled into one. But little did I know that God would use that conversation for my benefit rather than an “excuse” to give my husband on why he had to cook dinner every night because I didn’t have the energy. I let my husband listen to it but he didn’t seem to be affected by it lol. I was still unchanged so I cancelled my next endocrinology appointment that was scheduled for August 2012. I thought there was no point of going back! He will say the same thing. I have it recorded so why pay money to go hear the same thing. Take your pills; lose weight before you become a diabetic, buy real food and cook it at home, blah, and blah, blah. I even told the doctor in May that I didn’t think diabetes would happen to me. His response “Ah huh, well it’s already you. I’m telling you, your sugar was 104. It should be less than 100. So you are beginning to see the effect now. Obviously you can wait because the diabetes is at 126. So you still have 22 points to cross before you get there but you have started your journey. Ok less than 100 you are good.” To be honest I was still in denial.

So I just went along with my life as usual, stayed in the same cycle (I was tired so I ate, then perked up, then tired, and ate again). Then, one day in January at work I listened to that recorded conversation again. And for the first time (after 10 times of listening to it) I finally heard what the doctor was saying. I realized my doctor might actually know what he is talking about. I guess that his degree in a gold frame on his wall and all the accomplishments he has had in his career could have told me that but when you are that food lover and so exhausted it is hard to hear what doctors say to you through your own voices reminding you how much love and NEED that sugar fix. Not to mention all the negative chatter in your head telling you “YOU CAN’T DO IT”. What that moment life changing? No, it wasn’t a life changing moment but it did get me seeking God for help. I mean if he saved my life as an infant from an enlarged heart, healed me from bipolar and other miracles throughout my life, why wouldn’t God care about my weight and how I feel. I don’t think any Christian hesitates to ask God for healing with the major medical issues like surgeries, cancer, etc. And when the bible says “cast all your cares on him for he cares for you” there no clause that says he don’t care for self-induced health problems. And as a child I was taught to go to God. So I did.

I began this lifestyle change journey in mid-January. That’s approximately 9 weeks now. I told my husband I would try to eat healthy and if I didn’t feel any better (health wise) then I could always go back to eating the old foods I enjoyed. I had to at least try it, I had nothing to lose but weight (pun intended). I knew I wanted to lose it for good though if I was going to do this. I somehow decided to count calories and exercise. I use my FitBit One (my step counter/calories burn tracker device) and MyFitnessPal app daily. I measure my food with measuring cups and a food scale. I count every bite and always read the serving size. I didn’t want to go through this just to gain it back like I had in the past on “diets and diet pills”. I needed something I could do for life. From counting calories that led me to note how I feel after I ate certain foods, like my carbohydrate loaded dinners I was used to. And from there I discovered processed foods and things high in carbs, even if they fit into my daily calorie intake were not good for me because I often felt stuffed and sluggish after eating those foods. Well I hated vegetables so what was I going to do? Well this 29 year old decided she was going to “teach” herself to like vegetables. I always heard you can retrain your taste buds so I was going to try. I decided to start with the mild ones. The first thing I tried was low calorie breaded eggplant sticks. 12 eggplant sticks with marinara just 87 calories. I liked it. So I asked people around me that like vegetables about which vegetables were the mildest and I started there. Was it easy? Nope! But if you asked me if it was worth it, I give you a big YES! I even tolerate salad (no dressing). Also a disclaimer: if you don’t like a vegetable the way you prepared it, be willing to try it prepared at least 4 different ways (including raw) before deciding you don’t like it. I used the word tolerate because I don’t always enjoy them and my body/taste buds/stomach is still adjusting to this new food. But my theory is this….food was made to give us nutrition that our body needs, it wasn’t for enjoyment. God created us that way and he created the healthy foods. God gave us people to have fun and enjoyment and fellowship with not food. I used food incorrectly. God didn’t create processed foods, man did that. So enjoy the beautiful colors and flavors that God created for us. And if it doesn’t hit my gag reflex it’s a vegetable I keep in my diet. So far cooked carrots…still hits my gag reflex lol. But I will list a few mild vegetables at the end that I have tried and liked. If you are a “veggie-hater” too it might be worth giving them a try.

God has truly helped me through this journey and I could not continue without his strength. I have to say that now on approximately week 9 this has become habit. It’s easy to skip on pizza at family gatherings, easy to say no to bread at restaurants, and so forth. I will say this didn’t happen on week 1, week 2, or even week 3 but by the time week 6 and 7 hit this truly had become a way of life. And I am teaching my kids the same way. And same rule applies to them that I use for myself: if it doesn’t hit their gag reflex I expect them to eat the vegetables. They are enjoying all the healthy desserts they get. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland, boring, and dessert-less lol. I can make a mean low calorie banana pudding…yummy! I make awesome banana nut pancakes….delicious and low calorie. I have truly learned so far that it’s not about skipping meals, eating less, diet pills, crash diets, or quick fixes. This is about eating real food and cooking it in a healthy way. This is about a new way of living. I feel like God took blinders off my eyes and is truly allowing me to live the life he always intended on me living. I have no idea what my future holds but I do know that God knows and I am taking this one step at a time. And through all of this I am finding a much happier me. As of last Saturday (3-16-2013) I am down 27.2 pounds. I now weigh 229.4. I also have the energy to cook every meal for my family during the weekdays and weekends. I take pride in serving them healthy foods.

In the beginning I said I was the carb lover, cookie eater, after the kids go to bed snacker because I didn’t want to share, blizzard addict, the eating for 2 (or 3) and not pregnant, the mom too busy, the mom too tired, the veggie hater (unless white potatoes and Green Giant Nibblets corn with butter counts), the overweight, asthmatic, pre-diabetic in denial even after multiple confirmed test, it’s not my weight that is causing me problems 29 year old woman. Let me tell you what I am today….

I am the learning to eat lean, measuring cup freak, obsessed with the food scale not the bathroom scale, learning to love veggies, the mom not too busy, the mom not as tired, the woman struggling to exercise consistently but not giving up, fruit snacking, oatmeal lovin’, shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store, power walking, focused, happier 29 (almost 30) year old woman. And life is great!

Just know that no matter where you are in your journey to well-being that you are not alone. If I can encourage you in any way please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I know I am blessed with family to encourage me and I check in with daily, like my mom. But I also know when you are truly trying to do it for life and everyone around you likes “quick fixes” it is difficult to be the odd ball and do it slowly and try to do it in a healthy way. We women need to support one another. I wish you well in your journey 🙂

As promised here are the vegetables I can “tolerate”

Easy Herbed Sugar Snap peas – http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2012/03/23/easy-herbed-sugar-snap-peas-recipe/
Baked Eggplant sticks – http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/baked-eggplant-sticks.html
The salad I “tolerate” – http://www.taylorfarms.com/index.php/Products/product_detail/southwest-chopped-salad
Spinach soup – http://www.indobase.com/recipes/details/low-calorie-spinach-soup.php
Spaghetti Squash – http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Baked-spaghetti-squash-with-garlic-and-butter-315049
Zucchini and Squash, just slice it and sautéed till it’s the texture you like with lots and lots of garlic

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3 Responses to “If I can, you can…”

  1. melissa March 20, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    So proud of you and so inspiring! You are doing great, K! 🙂

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