Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 60

So back in July of 2014, eighteen months before my fortieth birthday, I took to the blogshere and pronounced my plans to become FIT by FORTY. Well, it lasted for a a few months.  I lost some weight. And then, just like everything else I've ever tried, I failed.  And I continued to live life.  Continued to follow a few of the things I learned back in the summer of 2014, but continued to gain weight, little by little.  But now, on this last day that I am 40, as I sit in a coffee shop, drinking herbal tea (rather than a sweet latte and bakery case goodie), I figure it's time to update that 2.5 year-old self-challenge.

I could write pages and pages dedicated to My Weight Struggles.  But I'm choosing to focus on more recent events, as I share today.  Last summer, our family of five went on a glorious vacation to Maine.  It was cold and beautiful and rainy and SO MUCH FUN!  One day, we decided to hike up a mountain.  For the first time ever on such an endeavor, our three kids BOLTED up the mountain and I could BARELY keep up. No longer were our children little.  No longer did I have to lag behind with a tired and complaining little hiker. And I was struck with the reality that, if things continued the way they were, that this would be my reality. Eventually, I would spend future adventures, such as this, sitting on the park bench, waiting for my kids to finish their hike.  And I was devasted.  While things didn't change for me immediately, I regularly thought about this experience, wishing things were different.

Fast forward a few months.  I went to my quarterly check in with my psychiatrist.  I've been on a medication that treats my anxiety and depression for the better part of the last twenty years. My wonder drug, for which I am ever so grateful, has these two at the top of the list of side effects:


Because of those two side effects, my psychiatrist weighs me at EVERY appointment.  And EVERY three months, my weight stays the same or goes up.  For years, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was FAT and HAPPY.  And I was ok with that.  But at my appointment this past November, I mentioned my concern over my ever-increasing weight.  Over the previous four years, I had been told that both my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were too high; that if I didn't change the way I was living, medicines would be in my future.  Upon looking at the upward trend of my weight, my psychiatrist suggested that I switch medicines to something that didn't have these adverse side effects or that I could start taking an appetite suppresant. When I brought these ideas to Duncan, he balked, which reflected my feelings as well.  Back in 2007, when I was required to change medicine during my pregnancy with Linus, things had NOT gone well.  Actually, that is an understatement.  It was horrible.  And while the circumstances were different, neither Duncan nor I were interested in going through that again, at any level.  And the thought of adding another medicine in an appetite suppressant was also unappealing.  Providentailly, a few weeks prior, a friend had mentioned that she had been eating a version of a ketogenic diet and that it might help me in getting some weight off. Duncan brought this up again, as we were discussing my psychiatrist's suggestions.  We decided it was worth looking into. So, the next day, I scheduled a consultation with my friend's doctor for the following week.

Upon hearing of the program, it sounded hard.  I had no idea, really, how difficult it would be.  Yet, I was ready to take the plunge and so I signed on.  I'm not going to get into the details of the WHAT I've been doing exactly.  I'm happy to share that with whomever would like to hear, but I'll save the average reader those boring details.

It is significant that I decided to start this program eight days before Thanksgiving.  And a month before Christmas.  It was not atypical for me to gain about ten pounds during this time of year.  So, while it seemed like a terrible time to start such a process, it turned out to be the perfect time.  During the first five weeks of changing the way I was eating, I attended more than half a dozen special meals and events which, in the past, would have been ALL ABOUT THE FOOD for me. This time around, it couldn't be about the food.  Or at least the TASTE of the food.  Rather, it needed to be about the people I was seeing, talking to, visiting with. And it wasn't always easy.  Each event, as it came up, was handled differently.  For some events, I ate before going or brought a snack that I knew I could eat.  Other times, I spoke with the hosts ahead of time and was able to figure out something that would work for me.  At all of the events, there were copious amounts of foods and drinks in which I could not partake.  I had moments in which I felt sorry for myself.  I had moments where I spent time looking at the foods I couldn't eat and admiring how nice they looked.  I asked close friends if I could smell the red wine in their glass (mmmmmm).  I've worked hard to make my relationship with food be a more healthy one.  And I'm beginning to see the fruits of these efforts.

So here are the results:
Today, I have been eating a variation of a ketogenic diet for 60 days.  Since Nobember 16, 2016, I have lost over 31 pounds and nearly 25 inches.  More importantly, I feel AMAZING!  I have so much more energy, I've been able to start wearing some old, smaller clothes that have been in storage for at least six years, I am not hot all of the time anymore and I have a healthier relationship with food.  Before these changes, Fridays meant looking forward to Pizza and Wine Night.  The very first Friday night (it was Day 3) was depressing and torturous.  Subsequent Fridays were difficult to get through, as well.  However, the last two, Fridays, Days 52 and 59, have been different!  No longer am I lamenting what I CAN'T do, but am genuinely excited about what I CAN do!  This is huge.

So, while "Fit By Forty" was a big bust, I can say that today, on the eve of turning forty-one, on my last day of being forty, I AM ON MY WAY TO BEING FITTER AND HEALTHIER!  And I couldn't be happier about it.  I have never been able to stick to something like this before and I honestly believed that I was unable to get a handle on being healthier.

I attribute a few things to my success.  Most importantly, I thank my Heavenly Father for giving me the ability to have self control and perseverence, which is beyond my ability as I rely on my own strength.  Secondly, my sweet husband, decided to "do this with me through Thanksgiving" so as to be a support, and has continued on indefinitely, subsequently losing almost 30 pounds himself!  Finally, several of my friends and loved ones have listened to and supported and cheered me on.  There are so many.  But two in particular have been invaluable... the one who sings songs to me (Your Body's a Wonderland) and the other who grinds salt to bring me when I have a headache.  These examples are silly, but these two ladies, in particular, have held me up when I didn't think I could keep going.  And have cheered me on all along the way.

By God's grace, I've changed the way I'm going to live the rest of the days He gives me here on Earth.
Anyone want to go on a hike?