In the fall of 2020, as COVID continued to shut down the United States, I decided to go through my closet and purge anything that didn’t fit. No more holding on to clothes hoping to lose 10 pounds! If it didn’t fit, it was outta there! At that time my weight was hovering around 160 pounds and I was squeezing into a size 10. I should have been in a 12 to be comfortable, but I refused on principle.
Winter came on the heels of Halloween Candy, Thanksgiving dinners, lots of mocha yummy Starbucks, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. By January 2021 I had caved and bought two pair of jeans in the bigger size 12 so I would have something to wear to work. That comfort didn’t last long, though. Spring was approaching and the new jeans were already becoming tight. I hadn’t gained that much more weight. I was up five pounds to 165, but my inflammation was raging and I had abdominal bloat, a symptom that is linked to diabetes.
April 2021 arrived and I began the process of switching out my Winter wardrobe to the Spring clothing. On an unseasonably warm April day, I pulled a pair of shorts out of my closet to wear around the neighborhood to walk my dogs and not surprisingly, they didn’t come close to fitting.
The clothes I had sorted through in the Fall were too tight! Not even close to being able to button them, I was bummed. I sat on the couch that night and had a pity party while scrolling through Facebook weight-loss groups for motivation. There were my intermittent fasting groups, my over fifty fitness groups, and my healthy eating groups, yet nothing inspired me until I stumbled across a group that I had been added to earlier in 2020.
A personal trainer friend of mine (RB) had created and added me to this fitness group that was initially a means to sell a non-toxic skincare and health product. The sales pitches slowly faded away and it become more of a fitness motivation group. I had muted the group during the sales pitch days, but it popped up that fateful night as I scrolled through my other groups.
I posted about my woes in this group and was immediately greeted by former co-workers and friends. RB sent me a text the next day and we met for lunch later in the week. He vowed to help me and wasn’t going to charge me for the help. This group is now my inspiration. Maybe because the members are people I know in real life and my post made it public? A month into it and I’m down 7 pounds and exercising 3 or 4 days a week.
How am I doing it?
Food tracking. I’m tracking my food in the MyFitnessPal app and sticking around the 1250 calorie mark. My fancy bath scale tells me that my BMR is 1485 calories. BMR stands for base metabolic rate and is the number of calories my body needs to do systemic functions: sleeping, digesting, breathing, cell regeneration, etc. If I eat more than 1485 calories I will gain and if I eat less, I should lose. I’m not an expert, but that’s my understanding and it seems to be working.
Intermittent fasting. I’m also doing 16-hour fasts. I’m a little loosey-goosey and don’t hold right to 16 hours if the situation warrants a need to break earlier, but I also sometimes do 17 and 18-hours fasts. I mainly do fasting to give my pancreas a break. My mother died from pancreatic cancer so protecting it is just a wise move on my part.
Moving more and sitting less. I’m shooting for 8,000 steps a day. I’m also fortunate to have a home gym equipped with a Bowflex Revolution and Max Trainer. I have dumbbells, resistance bands, a pilates ball and other assorted small pieces of equipment. I have a gym membership and access to a free gym at my place of employment. There’s no reason for me to not work out!!!
Planning. The most simple, but biggest change is planning. I put my workout clothes out the night before and put them on before I ever leave my bedroom in the mornings. I also make my bed so I feel like my day has started. I work 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and didn’t really have a NEED to set an alarm, but I set one now for 8:30 a.m. to give myself enough time for a thorough workout and shower. I plan my meals. I plan my workouts.
How did I get this way?
I had always been a runner, lettering in track in high school, until at age 50, I tore my left hip labrum. It’s not bad enough of a tear to do surgery but it’s bad enough that running hurts. My surgeon told me if I quit running, I could probably avoid the surgery. He gave me the green light to walk, hike, bike, etc., but no running. So what did I do? I pouted. If I couldn’t run, well then, I just wouldn’t do anything!!!
I was also suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which resulted in two surgeries in 18-months that took my fallopian tubes and both ovaries. I was getting cysts the size of peaches on my ovaries and in my tubes. You know what happens to a woman when the ovaries are removed? Early onset menopause is what happens. My hair started to turn grey, my skin lost noticeable elasticity and the wrinkles came in droves. I lost muscle mass and experienced accelerated aging. My body no longer produced estrogen.
Around this time I met my second husband. He loved to wine and dine me. We took a bunch of all-inclusive vacations and made frequent visits to Miami to visit my daughter. I came back a little heavier each time. I also lost both parents within 18-months. Grief added to my waistline.
Medically, I was a metabolic disaster waiting to happen. I had already been to the ER with high blood pressure and my doctor was pushing the meds at me. My cholesterol and triglycerides were almost twice what they should be and my liver enzymes were out of whack. I was flirting with diabetes. I’m 5’8-1/2″ and weighed 165 when my Spring clothes gave me the wakeup call. I was a far cry from my former fit self. At age 47 I was still running half marathons. At 55 I was a mess.
Having a plan.
I work out at home 2-3 days a week and at the gym 1-2 days a week, swimming one of the days. I’m a terrible swimmer, but its a workout like no other.
My workouts do not have to be hours-long. If I have 15 minutes to do something, I do it. Whether it’s cardio, a walk, bodyweight exercise, climbing stairs, resistance bands or stretching.
I aim for 8,000 steps a day. Inflammation and a weak foot structure makes my feet hurt so I don’t normally go for huge step counts.
I track calories and nutrition macros in MyFitnessPal. Sure, I can eat 1250 calories full of sugary carbs, but I’m going to be hungry and malnourished. It’s important to balance the macros and get proper nutrition!
I use technology to my advantage. My smart scale came with a free app. This app syncs with MyFitnessPal. My Apple watch syncs with MyFitnessPal. My workout app (Strong) also syncs with MyFitnessPal and my Apple watch and it all syncs with Apple Health. I set motivating reminders in my phone and alarms to remind me to move, move, move.
I shop for, and prepare, about 90% of the food that goes in my mouth. I buy organic when I can. If I don’t have time for meal prep, it’s canned tuna, raw veggies, fruit, cold-smoked salmon and other easy foods until I can cook a meal. I have a genetic Snp of the MTHFR genes which means my body has a methylation pathway problem. My body cannot detox like someone without the Snp. It also hampers my cell regeneration so I need to support my body with good nutrition and eliminate toxins where I can. I also filter my water to get the water company’s chemicals out.
If I eat out at a restaurant, I eat salmon, a salad or something grilled. I try to make the most healthy choice I can and I track the calories as best I can. I also visually assess the quantity of food on my plate. Most restaurant portions are overly large and I can usually get at least 2 meals out of one restaurant meal.
Listen for the “sigh”. Have you ever noticed when you’re eating that you sigh? That’s your body telling you that you’ve eaten enough. Your hunger has been satisfied and it’s time to stop eating.
Smaller bites and chewing longer. Give your body a chance to recognize that it’s had enough. Chewing longer will also help your body digest.
I have almost eliminated alcohol. It’s a special occasion thing now and just one glass that I milk for hours.
Sleep. I sleep about 7-8 hours a night now.
Water intake. I aim for around 60 ounces of water and have slowed down my coffee consumption.
Planning is going to be huge for the rest of my life. Planning my workouts, planning my meals from the shopping, to the preparation to the quantities I consume. It’s already becoming a way of life.
If you are on a similar journey, drop me a note and let’s inspire each other!