Resolution: per Webster’s Dictionary, states: “The act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.” With January here and almost halfway done(!), I decided that for my next 3 Tuesday blogs, I’d focus on some resolutions I have made.
My first resolution began this past July. I was at a bbq visiting with some Florissant friends, and one friend in particular, who looked fabulously fit, was happy to share with me how she had lost some excess weight and had been able to keep it off for two years. Her method was a low-carbohydrate way of eating, or low-carb, for short. As I drove home to Rolla later that evening, I decided that I had to do something about losing my excess weight. I had had a health scare in November-December of 2013, where my vision in my left eye was dimmer, there was eye pain, a diagnosis of Optic Neuritis was declared and tests for Multiple Sclerosis were run, as Optic Neuritis is often a first symptom of MS. The tests were negative and at the follow-up with the Neurologist, she kept asking me if Diabetes ran in my family’s health history. I was able to tell her no, that it didn’t. She then encouraged me to lose weight, even though my blood pressure and other vitals were in the normal ranges.
On that drive home, I mulled over in my mind that it was time to get back to a normal weight for my 5’6″ height. I had successfully lost 20 lbs on Weight Watchers 8 years previously. Back then, Weight Watchers was based on a points system. Certain foods were assigned points and I was allotted to eat 24 points a day. This system worked but when I had lost the 20 lbs., WW suddenly cut my daily points down to 20! That came as a nasty surprise to me and I began to slack off of the program and gained back those 20 lbs and then some. Ugh!
In my younger years, I was always a normal weight for my height. Then, in 1991, motherhood arrived. You know how James Bond, 007 Super Spy has a license to kill? I took my first pregnancy to mean that I had a license to eat! With 6 more babies arriving, from 1994-2003, my weight kept creeping up. Low-carb, from my friend’s descriptions of it, seemed like a good way to lose weight and my research began in earnest.
I went to the Atkins Diet website and read all about the program. There weren’t points assigned to foods. It was simply a matter of restricting carb laden foods. The first two weeks were the most stringent of the plan and the second week of my new eating regime I found myself at camp, working as a volunteer, and facing high carb treats at every meal! But I went to camp prepared, with nuts, flavored waters, and when on the mornings that breakfasts were pancakes or sausage gravy and biscuits, I stuck to eating almonds and drinking my coffee black!
After those first two strict weeks, I could begin to slowly add healthier carb items back in to my diet, and have been sticking to this way of eating since late July/early August. I have lost 33 lbs and only have 20 more to go and then I’ll be in the healthy range for my height. Thanksgiving and Christmas were full of carb heavy foods, but I planned accordingly, skipping some treats, letting myself have some of others, and I didn’t destroy my weight loss plans too badly.
It has been fun to give away larger-sized clothes that I can no longer wear to Goodwill. It’s been a pleasant surprise to fit back into smaller-sized clothes that I forgot I owned! My snoring has stopped. The compliments from a few individuals have been music to my ears. I also inspired my parents to give low carb a try and they got nice and fit for their recent 50th Wedding Anniversary party! My dear husband has also decided to embark on low carb, as he did it several years ago to much success, but then got away from it. He and I both know that it is the maintenance of a low carb way of eating that is even more challenging than the losing of the weight.
One book I intend to read is Gary Taube’s Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It. Taube is a science writer and he decided to write a book exploring why we, Americans in particular, become fat? One of the most interesting facts in the book to me was that years ago, in America and Europe, if a patient went to his doctor for weight loss advice, the common answer was to cut one’s carbohydrate intake. Shortly after World War II, that mindset in the medical community changed to the method we see today, lowfat, high carbs. If one looks at the food pyramid that our own Federal Govenment plasters everywhere, it doesn’t fit a low carb model at all!
While I have been on this low carb journey, I’ve learned to look at food labels very closely:specifically noting the serving sizes and carb contents, measured in grams. It is very shocking how high some food products are in carbs-especially juices, sodas, and even some of the “healthier” drinks on the market. Even many of the gluten-free products on the shelves are still very high in carbohydrates. My youngest, age 11, who loves the Eat This, Not That book series, likes to be my food label reader and carb checker. He has been amazed to note the high levels of carbs in some foods, too. Our 16 year old, who is very tall and skinny and loves to run each day, has been my “Jiminy Crickett”-that conscious for Pinocchio in the Disney animated movie-asking me if sneaking a cookie is worth it, how many carbs are in it, etc. I have also begun using an app, My Fitness Plan, as suggested to me by my 20 year old daughter. This app has a handy log for keeping track of what I eat each day, a graph to show my weight losses so far, and I can even record my walks and other forms of exercise if I choose to do so. It’s nice to have the family being supportive of my efforts to be healthier.
This, in a nutshell, is my first resolution, albeit begun in 2014, and so far, the journey to be healthier has not been too hard. If you are wanting to lose weight, I heartily recommend reading about the low-carb method, and do check with your doctor beforehand, to see if it would be fine with him or her, and listen to any other advice that they may have to offer on getting healthier in 2015.