Monday, March 28, 2011

Changes: six months later

Back in September I wrote a post about the many changes going on in my life, including a commitment I made to myself to lead a healthier life by prioritizing the things that would make me happiest – “Operation Choose Joy” is what I called it – focused largely on getting my diet and exercise in order. I set some six-month goals, so here is the six-month update. My initial focus was on exercise. I joined the same gym my sister goes to and we started working out together once or twice a week. I also started swimming, which I have always loved, and I walked to and from work as often as weather and time would allow. I started making small changes to my diet too, mostly based on bringing my lunch to work rather than eating out. It’s amazing what that does to one’s diet AND bank account! I also focused on portions and just making better decisions in general – no fried food, hardly any sugar, alcohol, dairy, or red meat. I also stopped drinking coffee since caffeine has always made me feel sort of blah. From October to February I lost and have kept off about 10 pounds, which is great – I’m proud that I stuck with it and feel like I’ve adjusted my habits for life. However, at 10 pounds, I hit a wall. It was impossible to lose another pound even though I was working out more than ever, largely thanks to my sister signing us up for boot camp. I behaved over the holidays and during my two January weeks in Mexico was really active and only ate twice a day so didn’t worry too much about what I ate at those meals, though it was mostly good, whole foods. By February 15 I was at the same weight despite all my efforts and I got really discouraged, slowly spiraling into bad food habits and more or less abandoning the gym. Luckily that didn’t last too long! In the first week of March I snapped out of it, started doing Nia which is a sort of cheesy but totally awesome dance class, got back in the habit of walking to work, and committed to a March 15 “gluten free” start date. In 2007 I went gluten free for about 8 months, during which I felt amazing and dropped some serious lbs. I’m slightly allergic (like a lot of us are) and my body is so much happier without it. But then I moved to South America and my gluten free life went the way of the Dodo. Now I’m starting again and so far, so good. I should clarify that I’m not a 100% stickler: there is gluten in soy sauce, for instance, but I haven’t cut that out. I’m mostly focused on the big offenders: pasta, bread, crackers, cookies – anything that has flour as a primary ingredient. I’m also going “low carb” in general, so I’m not replacing pasta with brown rice pasta, or noodles with rice noodles. Instead I’m eating a lot of vegetables, legumes, and lean protein. So that’s my update. Spring just started so I have a full season left to get into bathing suit shape. Overall I’m proud of my progress and my commitment, and grateful that I have a healthy self-image so that even with some lbs to go, I think I have a pretty rockin’ bod. And things are grand in the rest of my life, too.

  • I adore my apartment. It's such a wonderful space, I feel good in it, and I love that other people love to spend time in it. I have done some serious cooking in that kitchen, including for some 15-20 person parties.

  • I really like my new position and am about to have my seven year anniversary with the company.

  • My hair is getting long.

  • I meditate and get acupuncture and massage therapy - hella zen up in here.

  • I became Toddler J's unofficial godmother and get to see him all the time (he's almost 2).

  • It's spring! K and I started gardening last week - there's nothing like the smell of freshly turned earth.

  • I'm going to start learning how to make my own clothes.
Life is (what we make it).


Desomniac said...


Ray said...

Great to see you're having results, keep with it and don't get discouraged! That "wall" that people hit with traditional dieting is your body changing it's metabolism (slowing it down) to accompany the recent caloric deficit. Our bodies self-regulate the amount of fat we store (via hormones such as insulin and leptin), and often times we can interfere with our body's sensitivity to these hormones by eating foods our bodies are not accustomed to (sugar, vegetable oil, soy and flour are high on this list, along with diary, legumes and even some veggies depending on your constitution). When this happens, our bodies are actually trying to "defend" a higher fat setpoint than what we want, which makes dieting become a manner of shear will power: are you strong enough to overcome the hunger? Unfortunately the very foods that are causing these problems in a lot of people are the very foods we are told are healthy and should constitute the majority of our diet. Just look at the food pyramid... Anyway, didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. If you're interested, there's a lot more where this came from.

AmberAnda said...

So great to hear this update! Congrats on making a goal and working so hard to stick to it. Figuring out what foods are best for our bodies is such an on-going process of being aware of everything we put in and observing how we feel... seems so simple, but I think it can be hard, and take a long time, and our bodies are always subtly changing. It's inspiring to me that you are so dedicated to this! Also, wanna sew together?

Erica said...

Also regarding working out/losing weight:
If you're doing a lot of strength training at the gym, in addition to the swimming, then you're going to be building muscle as you decrease fat. You'll slim down, but you won't necessarily lose the pounds. I have been working out 1-2 hrs/week for a year now, and those are the results I've seen (dropped from a 12 to an 8, but haven't lost a pound).

Great to hear how wonderful things are out there!! We miss you muchly here on the east coast; are you planning any visits out this way?