I work out…

and I love it. I really do. What do I not care for? The point where you’ve been working out regularly for a few weeks and the scale stops dropping because you’re gaining muscle. I’m still down a couple pounds, it just sucks because the weight was literally melting off and now, though everything fits better, it’s not… as satisfying when I step on the scale.

I’ll tell you what is satisfying though. I haven’t had a cigarette for almost 24 hours. There is a catch though. I started vaping. If anyone is interested in hearing more about it, I’ll be happy to post. However, I know it’s somewhat controversial and doesn’t really fit in with the main themes I’ve been focusing on lately. I will say I’m enjoying my e-cigarette and there are people who “vape” 0% nicotine and maybe I’ll work on getting to that point.

I am happy to report that the produce section was amazing today, and I totally got a ton of it when I was shopping. 2 heads of lettuce, a bag of spinach, 3 zuchinni, 5 yellow onions, 5 tomatos, a pound of white mushrooms, 2 cucumbers, a head of broccoli, and a bunch of asparagus… my fridge looks so full of lovely, good for me stuff. So excited. I love the summer.

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Independence… from ?

This past week, my fellow Americans and I celebrated our nation’s Independence, circa 1776. For most of us, this means outdoor summer fun, including eating and drinking copious amounts of mostly junk. Sure, there’s some watermelon here and some strawberries there, but when you wash them down with a 6 back of brewskis and then scarf down 4 hot dogs and 1/2 a bag of potato chips 30 minutes later… you’re really just left with a belly full of sugar you can’t burn for energy… Now, if your July 4th weekend plans include a beach volleyball tourney, then great, no problem. Most of us park ourselves in a comfy lawn chair and get up only to grab another helping of pasta salad or refill our beverage.

Seeing as I’m trying to lose the belly full of sugar I’ve already consumed over the past so many years, I knew there could only be one of two possible outcomes – defeat or victory. Would I cave in to the lure of the foods I’ve loved all my life or find a balance and prove to myself I can do this long term, and even a hardcore “party” holiday can’t stop me?

Hurdle # 1 – Beverages. I had beers, and water. That’s pretty much it. No soda, one small strawberry margarita, easy on the mix.

Hurdle # 2 – Food. My Guy made his amazing potato salad. It even has real bacon in it. It’s simply delicious. I had to have some. I had one scoop – if I had to hazard a guess, approx. 1 cup, give. I also had about 1/2 that portion of cold slaw. One wedge of watermelon, and a few cheese-stuffed jalapenos. Everything else I ate was meat (ribs, chicken wings, brisket). No bread or pasta of any kind.

Hurdle # 3 – Lazy time. It’s a holiday, meant for relaxing and having fun. I could have carried that laziness over into the following day, which I also had off from work. Shockingly, I went to the gym that afternoon and sweated like the pork I’d been eating. CHA-CHING!

All in all, I think this holiday stretch was a complete success. The scale confirmed it too. Another pound down. Sure, it’s just a pound but… old habits die hard and I could have easily consumed enough calories that one day to negate any potential loss OR worse, gain back a couple.

Verdict – SOLID victory. Proof I’m treating these changes as a lifestyle, not a quick fix. I’ve declared my Independence from overeating, especially the wrong things.

Cheers!

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Oh the carbs you will find…

They’re everywhere – and so concentrated!

It’s been a rough week. Rough, but awesome. Good news is, fasting is still going swimmingly. It fits really well into my lifestyle. Eating 3+ meals a day (regardless of size) was a drain on time, finances, and as it seems to be turning out, my overall health. I can state this infatically and proudly as I’m at the 2 week mark of partial day fasting and it’s brought me nothing but success overall. However, here are a few things I’ve observed so far:

1. A footlong sub sandwich at a large chain everyone will think of when I say “sub sandwich” has almost as many carbs as a frozen pizza (yes, the entire thing), depending on the brand of pizza.

2. A large banana has about as many carbs as a house margartia, which is about as many carbs as 6-8 12oz light beers.

3. Not all meat is carb free. Read your labels and if you do buy “lunch meat”, buy it from the deli. The price is usually better, believe it or not, and the quality cannot be denied.

4. Oh yea, and that tomato basil soup you ordered has carbs too. Like 15 grams. So does anything you order that’s gluten free. Don’t assume because something is low in gluten that it’s low in carbs.

5. Pork rinds are an excellent replacement for chips if you’re dying for something crunchy and salty, but they’re full of MSG, so be careful.

Ha! Finally, proof I’m not paleo. That’s right, I still eat a bit of processed food. I like cold cuts. It’s a low carb snack and a great way to work the filling and tasty benefits of protein into my current diet. It also gives me a shot of sodium, which is necessary for maintaining fasting happiness – as I’ve noticed.

However, at the same time, I’m sounding like I’m on a die hard low carb diet. I am, a little. I had a sub sandwich twice this week though, which proves this is not a regime. I went out for drinks one evening with some friends (how I discovered the carb count of margartias) and had some light tap beers instead. It got a little late, and I’d had no solids so I caved and had a veggie sub. If I was seriously low carb or the high way, I would have had meat because, why not?

I don’t think there’s just one way to do things. I think you might be better off in the long run pulling the good out of the bad most of the time, without steadfastly limiting yourself and making something better.

I also had a piece of deep dish pizza this week. I’m so ok with it, because it was only one. A far cry from where I was. Had a tasty chicken cobb salad with tons of cheese and bacon and a measly 6g carbs to supplement. I was happy.

On Friday I’d lost another 2lbs for the week. Why? FIIK – (henseforth will stand for “fuck if I know”) – just a guess? Fasting makes calorie goals attainable in our crazy, in your face, food world.

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Nay sayers.

I’m beginning to mentally prepare myself for the flack I may get when I decide to share this with the non-blog world. Yup, all my close friends and family – even my facebook pals – though they I’m on another one of my famous “road to wellness” paths again – they don’t know exactly what I’m doing. 

Even my honey. I don’t like to bore him with too many details of things like this because, God love him, he adores me if I’m a size 14 or 24. He truly, honestly, just wants me to be happy.  He is aware that I’m trying to reduce my carb intake, that was painfully obvious when I refused to eat one of my favorite foods the other day (the cheese fries with bacon at the steakhouse). He doesn’t know about the fasting. He’ll laugh, no doubt, since as I explained in a previous post, he’s been living this lifestyle for years.

I really do, overall, have very supportive family and friends. I’m fortunate. The problem I’m having with sharing my whole experience right now is, I have, for the first time, chosen a style of plan that closely resembles a diet fad that’s currently gaining popularity. Let’s even, for the sake of argument, say I AM part of that fad.

I work with Doctors, Nurses, and other medical professionals on a daily basis. What are they going to think of me when I admit I’ve tried this, much less am considering sticking to it? I thought it was counterintuitive and I’m pretty desperate for long term results. They’re going to think I might be a pinkie toe away from the looney bin, because I should know better.

I think my strategy is going to not go into details about my dietary choices unless I’m asked. I eat lunch (or at least I did) at my desk, alone, almost every day. If someone asks me, I can always just say I’ve been cutting calories. It’s not a lie. I think this strategy will be a lot easier to explain to nay-sayers with results to back it up.

Hey look, she’s lost 25lbs, still has all her teeth and hair, her skin looks great, and she isn’t sleeping at her desk. Maybe she’s not slowly killing herself afterall.

P.S. 3 more lbs. over the weekend. I even had a little Taco Bell. Sweet, huh?

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Intro

 I didn’t properly introduce myself. I’m Annie. I’m 33, and I live in Minneapolis, MN. I’m employed at an area hospital full time, and I’m also a bartender part time. I’m 5’9”, and as of last Friday, 329lbs (I was 340 on June 1st).

 I’ve never done this – post body pictures on the internet. Yay, I’m shaming myself into sticking to this by putting myself on public display. I’m a little embarassed. I really am. Look at those sad arms. They look like legs with fingers.

ImageImage

 

What I hope you’re saying is “gosh, she doesn’t look over 300lbs”, because, I get that all the time. I promise, it’s true. I hide it well. The height helps. I’d look a lot different if I was 5’2″. 

If you haven’t read it already, you need to read my previous post, because this will all make more sense. I’m celebrating a bit tonight. The weight loss, the success of the experiment so far, and the courage to start this blog. 

I’m celebrating with some beer. The coolest part – Normally, I’d have had 6 or 7 by now (now being the time frame I’ve been drinking). I’ve had 2. Wonder if that has anything to do with anything… but, I’m pretty stoked about it. 

Cheers!

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one..

I’ve had a weight problem for most of my life. Unlike most of my fellow large and lovely Americans, I haven’t tried every diet. In fact, (till recently, I’ll explain later) every time I’ve tried actively to lose weight, I’ve done it the “right way”. I’ve made better food choices, counted calories, and increased my activity level. In 2007, I was so successful, I lost over 40lbs and got back down to almost what I weighed in high school (245lbs, mind you). I was still overweight, but I was strong and lean compared to what I was before, and sadly, am again now. Over the last 6 years, I regained and exceeded my highest weight ever by 10lbs.

About 6 months ago, I started to really think about why this happened. Why someone like me, a smart woman with better than average knowledge of nutrition and exercise physiology, has struggled and struggled with her weight just as much, if not more so than other “fat” people. Come on, I know what to do, and I can do it, I’ve done it before. What’s wrong with me?

That’s when I realized, maybe it really is NOT me. Maybe I really am just a product of my environment. Maybe this is not my fault, and not in the “I’m not fat, I’m just big boned” way but, the “I’ve been sold a bill of goods and was blind to it” way.

I think this is a great part of this blog to mention the following – I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. I am not a nutritionist, personal trainer, or sales person. None of this is a recommendation or an endorsement. If I say something worked for me, or didn’t, I mean just that. Everyone is different, and their bodies are conditioned by their environment and react to things differently.

Being the red blooded American I am, I crave freedom of choice. Even when I do something out of what I feel is obligation, I believe I chose to make it an obligation. I could have just as easily f**ked off and went in a completely different, totally dismissive direction.

That’s the rub. That’s when I realized, I chose to be fat. Seriously, don’t look at me that way across cyberspace. I did this to myself. I’ve been making my own choices with respect to diet and exercise since… well, ha-ha, as it so happens, when I started to get REALLY big.

Here’s the best part, why it’s not my fault. I made that choice based on the information I was given. TV tells me where the tasty food is, that I don’t even have to cook! Pizza is healthy because it has all of nutrients you need in one cute little package that tastes amazing. Make sure you get 6-11 servings of carbs a day for optimal health!

The internet is a blessing, and a curse. While it can be abused in so many ways, it can also bring to you a level of enlightenment that just could not be attained when your information came only from a few sources, likely all owned by the same corporation. One might argue that the internet is controlled by some mastermind and I’m still a sheep who’s only “reading what they want me to read” but I don’t buy it (at least not totally). Why?

Google “weight loss”. “Diets”. “Workouts”. “Being Healthy”. Then don’t just Google it, “Bing” it, “Yahoo” it. 10′s of millions of pages. Thousands and thousands of ideas, and plans, and ways to get fit and healthy. That’s not controlling the message, that’s allowing too many messages to exist so the sheep stay confused and give up – give up and go straight for what they’ve heard the most, the longest. I’m 33, if you’re 20 years either way of me, what does that consist of? Buzz words, propaganda, and noise. Food Pyramid (or groups),
“breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, “low fat”, “balanced diet”…

I won’t even dare suggest any of these ideas or statements are wrong. What I do believe may be true? They’re not right for everyone, all the time. If they were, we’d have a lot less people like me waddling around. Why? Because these are simple ideas anyone can follow.

I think if you’re a person who works out 7 days a week, or has a physical job, you might be able to eat bread and pasta every day and still be healthy. In fact, I’m pretty sure I know this is true. Why? Well, you’re burning up the energy you’re putting into your body, just like you’re supposed to. I’m 329lbs (I’ve lost 11lbs recently, I was 340), have a sit-down job, and I am just getting back into going to the gym a few times a week. It’s highly unlikely the amount of carbs I would need to intake to keep my mind and body satisfied could be completely burned up. How can I be so sure? I own a mirror. I’ve lived that life for a long time. Eat a pizza (yes, a pizza, not a slice), drink a couple of beers, and wonder why I have no problem maintaining a 300+ weigh in? Well I don’t, I just didn’t realize till recently that I was making this harder on myself than it has to be.

No one needs to eat a whole pizza, ever. I know that, you know that. So why did my brain let me think it was ok for me to do that (hundreds of times)? It felt good… no, great! It didn’t make me sick, it made me happy. The serotonin kicked in because of my deep, psychological love of melted cheese and pizza crust. I couldn’t stop. Not just pizza either, every time I took the first bite of whatever delicious, terrible for me thing I wanted, it was like falling in love all over again. I never wanted it to end.

This is what I’ve had to accept about myself. I’m an emotional eater, not because I’m depressed, or lonely, or lacking something per se. I’m an emotional eater because I love the way food makes me feel, mentally. To my earlier points, this is completely fine, if my metabolism can keep up with my intake. 340lbs proves it cannot. Maybe someday it will, but not now. Excellent! Now that I know why I was eating 3000 to 4000 calories a day, how do I fix it?

Before you stop reading because you believe I’m going to go on a low carb diet rant, hang with me for a bit longer. Carbs, generalized, are not the enemy. The carbs society has been feeding me, and I’ve grown to love en masse, might be – especially right now.

If you’ve read or heard anything about how the body stores the carbs it cannot burn, you know it’s pretty much a fact that they’re stored as fat. If you can refute this, I’d love to learn your theories but, I think I can safely say it’s going to be hard to disprove. Someone like me is just full of large fat cells just sitting there, waiting to be burned for energy SOMEDAY. My body doesn’t need to burn the stored fat because I keep feeding it more calories than it can handle, and most of those calories are carbs.

Cutting calories should be simple enough, but throw in the blood sugar spikes of a refined carb diet and it can feel impossible. I’d have kept the weight off before if it wasn’t like that. I wouldn’t have gone back to my carb guzzling ways.

Our bodies are highly adaptable. One of those adaptations is fat storage. How do I know this? Well, because humans would have died off completely during extremes of climate change thousands of years ago if we weren’t. Ice ages and droughts would have killed us all off. It’s not just us, look at all the species of animals that’ve made it this far with us! Did you ever notice that squirrels and bunnies are skinny in the spring and fat in the fall? Of course you did. Why? We’re genetically programmed to overeat when food is available, and if we eat enough, we’ll be able to survive when it’s not (like the winter, when plants don’t grow as well, if at all, outside). Unlike our animal friends, we’re not hunter-gatherers anymore.

Before you stop reading because you think I’m going to go on a Paleolithic diet rant, please understand, I like ice cream, and cheese, and popcorn with salt and butter. None of that is food that was available to hunter-gatherers. I’m just acknowledging the fact that there was a time when almost no one was obese the way people are now because their lifestyle – living by the whims of the seasons didn’t allow them to be.

We humans have so many advantages now. Cars, light bulbs, refrigerators, and mass production of food that is distributed in such a way that we can jump in our car to go find it, available at a central location, store it in our home refrigerators, and eat at 2am if we want to because we’re awake and can see where the food is. It’s TOO easy. If it’s easy, and it feels good, why not, right? There begins the cycle.

I saw a funny picture online not too long ago. It had the caption “I don’t like being told what to do, except in the bedroom”. I found it to be amusingly and for me, profoundly correct. I don’t like the government telling me what to eat, or drink, or for that matter, smoke. This is the land of the free, don’t tread on me! If I want to be a fat, alcoholic, cigarette smoker, that’s my right! I’m not on welfare, and I go to work every day, who the heck are you to tell me how to live! What does this paragraph have to do with anything I’ve written before it?

I don’t want to be a smaller, healthier human being because I think it’s what I have to do. It’s what I want to do. I’ve now made it my choice.

So how have I chosen to tackle this weight thing? With all I’ve read, heard, learned, what am I going to do? I think I may have figured it out, for me, for now.

I think I’m going to fast. A little.

Before you stop reading again, I am not about to explain the benefits of eating disorders for the morbidly obese. Anorexia and bulimia are real, horrible diseases of the mind and body that many people suffer from and for. That said, I don’t think anyone’s going to argue I’m not a large enough individual to get by skipping a few meals. I know, at first I thought it was completely counterintuitive too. I’ve always been made to understand if you don’t eat, your metabolism gets screwy and won’t work as effectively. I’m sure that’s true, for a lot of people. In fact, I’ve gently lectured the love of my life a time or two about how horrible it is that he will skip a meal, or even a days worth of meals.

Then I thought about it a bit more. I watched him, not intake any calories except for regular Pepsi for long periods of time, and then finally eat, and not what I’d call “health food”. A bag full of Wendy’s, a 3 course prime rib dinner, the other half of the pizza (I got some cheese bread so I wouldn’t feel I was missing that ½). We’ve been together 6 years straight (and known each other for 8), and he’s not gained or lost more than 10lbs one way or the other. I’ve gained and lost and gained again the same 75-100lbs going through series after series of calorie controlled diets followed by months of not caring what I eat at all or how much.

Wait a minute – that sounds like the seasonal thing you were talking about our ancestors doing – see – you’re full of it. I thought that for a second too but, I think there might be a difference between the caveman running around all day in the summer looking for meat and berries (there’s were the no-low carb thing comes in) and the girl eating pizza and beer whenever she wants, if she’s not depriving herself to make up for the last 3 month of her eating habits.

I did a TON of reading. Stick a fork in me. So I decided what the heck, I might not be able to fast for 6 months, but maybe I can try what the old ball and chain does. Eat a meal a day, give or take, and see how it goes. I’ll even throw a little “low carb” mindfulness in there for the heck of it and watch those too while I’m at it.

I prepared my body for this experiment by doing, what I called “raw before 5”. For 2 weeks, I didn’t eat anything cooked before my evening meal. It forced me to focus on attaining satisfaction from raw veggies and fruits. Have you ever tried uncooked pasta or pizza dough? Not very tasty, and hard to eat.

Guess what I found out? When I didn’t eat bread, and pasta, and potatoes as much, (because they all require some amount of cooking) – I started to want them less. Don’t get me wrong, those french fries smothered in cheese and bacon at the steakhouse last night looked and smelled amazing. Even with them 10 inches from me, I didn’t cave. I didn’t even have to sit on my hands.

And I was starving. Literally. That’s your intro to Phase 2 of this experiment. When we ordered dinner last night, I had not eaten for, 22 hours. It wasn’t supposed to be that long, but I was busy (one of my honey’s famous excuses for skipping meals). I was fine, till I’d ordered food. My mind was then preparing for me to eat, after choosing to not eat for nearly a day.

I used to think I couldn’t go more than a few waking hours without food. I’d get tired, cranky – just generally unhappy. So how exactly is it I just went darn near a day without anything in my stomach but water (TONS AND TONS OF WATER) and some coffee? Not only that, I was in a perfectly fine mood the entire time, and I was not half as tired as I was oh, pick any day you like about a month ago. I doubt I’d have been able to function at work all day if my brain wasn’t getting fuel from somewhere….

Now, I didn’t dream this master plan completely on my own. Part of my research was reading blogs and message boards with information from real people who fast regularly. I also read plenty of material about the dangers of fasting – and the health concerns such as your body depleting muscle for energy. I decided to take a calculated risk. If I eat good protein when I do eat and strength train a bit, I’m betting I can fend off a lot of that potential muscle loss – especially when fat is, well, plentiful on my body. I think my brain will make the right choice as long as I do what I can to promote it doing so.

What are the supposed benefits of fasting anyway? Well, first of all, we all do it. That’s right. From the moment we stop eating before bed till we “break fast” the next day. This is an extention of that. This is the counterintuitive part. We’re told we need to start our metabolism when we wake up by eating. Why? Well, this is just a guess, because we don’t grow our own food, or gather it in the traditional sense, we BUY it. We’re supporting someone else’s lifestyle, and the more we eat and more frequently we do it, the more money they make.

Sounds hokey right? Sounds like a conspriacy theory gone a wry? Tell that to the hundreds of folks who’ve shared online how much better they feel, how much more energy they have by controling their diet with intermittent fasting. Add in the fact that restricting the amount of hours in a day I take in calories has already curbed my cravings for things that are bad for me and resulted in the net caloric deficit required for weight loss. For someone like me, this might just be the solution I’ve been seeking.

There’s a fancy book written all about it. This diet even has a name. “Fast 5″. Google it, or Bing it, or Yahoo it, like I did.

So that’s my story. I’m taking control of the seasons of my body and I’m going to have all  in one day. I’ll eat nothing, and then I’ll eat a lot, and then nothing – like my boyfriend does all the time (except I’ll be eating a lot of fresh veggies and chicken).

I’ll keep you posted. There’s a chance I’ve fallen into some horrible unfortunate pit of poor health, exchanging one set of issues for another. It’s also possible this will work for a while. It’s possible I’ll order a pizza next week and eat it all in one sitting. No high horse here. Just another fat chick trying to fix it.

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