This is going to be the start of regular entries on my personal experience of attempting to lose 50 POUNDS.
I will share that I have done this once before. I'm repeating my pattern - my last intense weight loss program was the year before my 50th Birthday - when the light bulb moment happened and I became determined to take off my extra weight.
I was hellbent and determined and that is what I knew I needed to do for this round.
My warning is that if you are NOT - then wait until you are - losing 50+ pounds required sustained focus, perseverance, and making a LOT of minute to minute decisions and choices you may not have the ability to do because your life is filled with 1000 other stresses and issues.
DO NOT ADD TO THAT STRESS BY STARTING A STRICT EATING PROGRAM! It will simply set you up for failure and the last thing you need when your life is in a major change cycle is feeling like a failure!
My own weight gain - after 2 years of keeping it off - because I stuck with a disciplined program of being active, having a solid schedule of gym/ trainer time and being newly divorced - having NO IDEA what was ahead! I took up Golf, did a lot a walking and trails at my local State Park. I had an active dating life as well as social life - where appearance was important - and that element also kept me aware of what size I was.
Then my financial life hit the fan. My married life ended with the need to declare bankruptcy. That happens when you go overnight from a 6 digit income to a 5. Talk about 'adjustments'. We had 3 different businesses plus I had my own - and to survive the insanity of the 2008-2009 collapse of the housing business and shift to car sales - we took on incredible debt Well everyone was wrong. But what many don't realize -if they didn't have the severe change in income is that it takes years to adjust your new income to deal with the previous costs, memberships, fees, debts, contracts and even the basic utilities. So before you make the 'clean the slate' choice - and admittedly I delayed it - with the fantasy that I could keep up. I couldn't, didn't and 2 years after decided to formally 'clean the slate'. As much as there was relief in that step - it also meant that for the next 2 years (more like 10) I didn't even attempt to establish new credit - and was forced to live within my means. Try that. It's eye-opening.
With that reality I also had to stop all recreational, volunteer, social activities because I had to build up an income to support myself and now ALL the bills were mine - without that 'other' person to share the burden with. Again - another eye-opener!!
The reality check is that I make my money SITTING! The more clients I see - a good thing - the more I'm sitting. Sitting and listening. Sitting and talking. Sitting and typing. Sitting and reading. . . SITTING. Add in the apathy of depression and grieving relationships and lifestyle and I did even more SITTING. . . Add in obnoxious winters with frigid cold, Nor'Easters and ice storms and I did some shoveling but even more SITTING. . .
So the pounds started adding up - slowly - more in the winter months - and before I knew it I was into those horrid "X" sizes - and having to shop at 'different' stores or hiding out with Internet shopping. . . and for someone who LOVES fashion, worked in retail fashion, wanted to be a Fashion designer as a teen, and subscribed to Vogue for decades along with enjoying You tube and Pinterest for outfit ideas - it was KILLING me that I had 'allowed' myself to get that big! I will say that I'm 5'11 - so many see me as 'BIG' to start with - even when I was thin - but now I was really qualified as 'big'. I don't mind 'tall' but 'BIG' for me is a negative word and I would obsess constantly about it.
BUT I HAD TO SIT to survive - and admittedly made every excuse known to not participate in any type of real exercise -other than walking for routine shopping and chores.
The other excuse or rationalization that kept me from taking charge of my weight was that my genes for body shape come from my mother. I got her body. Weight settled in the exact same way hers does. I felt more like a victim of genes than anything positive, despite that I also got her 'healthy' genes - neither one of us has had any health issues - she's now 85 and a very vital 85. So I have 25 years to go -if genes decide longevity and I don't get hit by a truck first- I decided that I NEEDED to stop letting that be my excuse. I want to be a 'normal' weight for the years ahead - especially as I can feel how weight makes a significant difference in movement, mobility, grace and attitude.
The WORLD is judgmental. We are judged by our outward appearance - in the first few seconds. Yes we can go confidently with a 'who cares' or 'so what' - but I am not comfortable and that's another reason I decided now was the time to take action.
Self- hatred and having serious body image issues from my teen years also helped to magnify that. Having been in that 'cool' place of being physically active, strong and vital at 50 I wanted to return to that place again.
So I started hearing about "KETO" and the ketogenic way of eating, along with what they call 'food tribes' - the whole 'gluten' allergy, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, Paleo, Atkins, and Low Carb /Low fat eating 'plans' - God forbid we use the word 'diet' as we all know by this age the word diet is a 'just kill me now' clarification!
I'm a reader and love research - so I read up on this 'new' (its not) way of eating - easy to read items on Pinterest, books on Amazon, and the searches on the Internet. It sounded intriguing because it included foods I enjoyed and didn't focus on calorie counting or severe restrictions (other than carbs). I was also intrigued by its role in brain function - and effectiveness in not only reducing epilepsy but possibly mood disorders as the brain changes from using sugar carbs to fat calories to function better. I scanned and saved numerous recipes and read all the 'How to's". ( My disclaimer - I am NOT a Dietitian, certified in Nutrition, or a Medical Professional - please follow up with your own medical professionals first before trying!)
THIS IS WHAT I WILL SUGGEST IF YOU WANT TO TRY THIS WAY OF EATING:
- PURGE - every food storage location you have - shelves, closets, pantries, refrigerators,and freezers of pastas, pizza, french fries, potato items, anything with noodles, flour, breading, vegetables that grow under the ground, sweets, cakes, candy, Give it away! Get it ALL out of your cabinets so when you hit those lazy nights - you can't slip off the cliff - there isn't anything to tempt you or way to go 'wrong'.
- RE-STOCK - this is the expensive step. Personally I was shocked at the price of some of the 'legal' flours and oils but I acquired them slowly over a month's time and will say that I haven't used a lot of them - because I haven't tried the 'Keto breads' yet. I'm finding the recipes and meals I am making are satisfying enough so far - but I'm expecting to move onto them soon! You will be buying ingredients that you thought were 'illegal' in previous 'diets' - like Heavy whipping cream, coconut oils, full fat salad dressings and bacon!
- SET UP A FOOD DIARY ON www.myfitnesspal.com - Adjust it to have the "Macro" formulas specific to the KETO eating plan so that your body begins to switch from consuming carbs to fats for energy. The 'normal' carb load per day is 150-250grams - for KETO its LESS than 50! For my goal its 20 grams a day. A WHOLE DAY.
- TAKE BODY MEASUREMENTS BEFORE YOU START!! I wish I did!! The inches lost are noticeable - even more than the pounds. Clothes start fitting better or looser quite quickly. This style of eating works on your fat 'storage' areas FIRST - so you will notice 'shrinking' - but also know we tend to lose from the 'top down' - so you may notice loss in your neck first - then abdomen - then limbs. . .
- PICK RECIPES AHEAD THAT SOUND GOOD TO EAT - make the process or program enjoyable! I discovered quickly that I had been so programmed to avoid fats, oils, "Alfredo", dressings, and sweets - that being able to eat WHOLE fats again was seriously against my previous 'healthy' thinking. Discovering that the higher percentage of fats means you are NOT hungry is the hidden secret of eating this way!! Because you're not struggling against cravings for carbs and sugar -its easy to say no - skip meals and eat smaller portions.
- Eating LESS becomes very natural. Your portion sizes are downsized because you are satiated easily. Fats take longer to digest so you aren't hungry within hours (or minutes!) of eating - you can 'fast' easily because you aren't trying to manage appetite and hunger pains.
- EXPECT YOUR BODY TO ADJUST TO THIS NEW WAY OF EATING! I'll detail in the next blog - your body will have to deal with the conversion of using carbs for energy to fats. The symptom list of the 'flu' they describe is real - and some may catch you off guard but do stop! Insomnia (?!), constipation, brain 'fog', and tiredness were the few I dealt with. 6 solid weeks in -I don't have any of them.
And if you follow it carefully - you will see FAST and REAL WEIGHT LOSS!! You MUST get past the 2 full weeks of following the plan and macros carefully - it will not 'work' if you don't stay consistent or break it with a 'high carb' day or meal. It will set your body back to 'carb burn' - that is why many people fail. You will be rewarding with being disciplined by significant loss. That is the 'fun' of this style of eating - you can see and feel the weight loss after 2 weeks. I was actually shocked how 'easy' it came off.
Remember I did a 50 pound weight loss at age 49 and I practically lived in the gym, restricted my eating and I don't think I lost more than 2 pounds a week (sometimes only one) - and it took a full year to lose the 50 pounds! I also had a trainer 3x a week and in the gym 6 days a week minimum - with a 'vacation' Sunday. With this plan I didn't even start any serious exercise (cardio in a gym) - granted I was active with home projects but my weight loss is more than 15 pounds in less than 6 weeks!
So here we go - if you're interested - I will encourage you to go to Pinterest and search for 'Keto' - then sign up to follow the sites that look interesting - that's how I got started!
I will also encourage journaling through the process - my last Blog entry - as losing this much weight needs a place to focus, vent, make progress, reward and gain insight on how to avoid weight gain in the future!
Thanks for reading today.
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Enjoy your day!