February 12, 2013

In my last post of 2012, I mentioned that I had lost some weight, and a few of you expressed some interest in what I was doing. So let me tell you about that.

I could start by giving you the long back story about me struggling with my weight, but I want to keep this from getting too long. Here's the slightly shorter version...

My weight has fluctuated for the past 2 decades, but I couldn't tell you how much. Until a couple of years ago, I didn't have regular access to a scale. What I can tell you is that it went up more than it went down. There had been a couple of times where I did genuinely lose some, but I never knew how much, and it was either an extreme diet or activity change that I was never able to maintain.

In January 2012, I decided I was going to really put some effort into changing my diet. I had spent most of the previous year cutting gluten out of my diet, and I felt like I could probably maintain some other modifications to what I was eating. I started with a copy of the 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, and read all the weight loss bits while sitting in the airport on the way home from my Mom's house. The basic premise is lean meats, beans, and vegetables at every meal, and one cheat day every week. I was pretty much doing the meat and veggies thing already, but decided the addition of beans wouldn't be that difficult. So I started adding them to every meal and started getting on the scale every morning, and nothing happened. Well, nothing significant. I went up a pound, or down half a pound, and then back up. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Ferris.

But I was determined! So rather than quit, I decided not to get on the scale for a while. I also decided that I simply could not eat beans at every meal. It was just TOO MANY. (And that's coming from someone who likes beans.) So I adopted what I like to call a "quasi paleo" diet. Meat, veggies, and healthy fats. But I was still incorporating one of Mr. Ferris's ideas: eat protein for breakfast within half an hour of waking up.

Three months later (late March), I finally got on the scale, and I had lost 8 pounds. EIGHT! So I kept doing what I was doing, and slowly, that number on the scale kept going down. Not every day, but consistently enough to make a difference. By October I was down 20 pounds. The most weight I had lost, probably ever.

What I was doing (and am still doing):

  • no carbs, except on weekends and when going out (my choices in this are limited anyways)
  • breakfast is some form of eggs (crustless quiches or a couple of hard boiled eggs) and most mornings, I eat about 15 minutes after I wake up
  • green smoothies for dinner and some form of protein - sometimes it's just nuts, usually it's a can of sardines or other small fish
  • smaller portions at meals, and more snacks inbetween (mostly nuts)
  • bringing my lunch to work
  • cut back on diet soda (I'm all about the iced tea now)
  • I sort of do a cheat day, but not every week
  • I weigh myself at roughly the same time every day, under the same conditions (after breakfast, before I shower), but weekends are scale-free

I still drink coffee every morning with half-and-half and sugar, but most days, that's the only processed sugar I eat. I also indulge in a big breakfast (my favorite meal) every once in a while. (I can't quit the hash browns.)

As of me writing this, I'm down about 27 pounds. Here's some mediocre photo evidence:

december20-2011-text January2013

It's taken a little over a year. Which is slow. And I feel like I've definitely hit a plateau at this point. I'm back to the up a pound down a pound yo-yo. But I'm okay with that right now.

So why did it work this time, and it didn't so many times before? I think mentally, I was finally ready to do this. And the fact that I had already been cutting gluten out of my diet meant a couple more tweaks weren't going to be a big alteration. I also think that not getting on the scale in the beginning was helpful for me. Seeing that number not really change was not very motivating at all. I didn't actually start tracking my weight until I noticed a physical change, which reinforced that what I was doing was working.

I've been hesitant to talk about all of this because it's been such a long personal struggle. I also didn't want anyone to assume that I decided to try and lose weight because I got married last year. That was simply one small motivation. My main motivation was my health. I've definitely got more to lose, but I feel like I finally found a path I can follow. Even if it's a long winding one, I think I'm able to enjoy the journey more this way.

I also feel like I should mention that I am not a doctor or dietician, this is just what worked for me. Your results may vary.



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.