The low carb is going well.I stick between 20-50 carbs a day for most days. Yes, there’ve been a few that I’ve gone over (almost all of them planned), and while they were nice breaks, I realized something last time I had something higher carb. I really don’t enjoy it like I used to.
I went to the Mark Lanegan concert this last weekend (see pictures) with a couple of girlfriends and had a blast.
The concert was great, though the lighting—not so good. But for dinner that night, I made the decision to have some shoestring potatoes with my steak. The next day, I felt like I had a carb hangover and my body was asking me, “WTF did you do to me?” I felt sluggish and lethargic most of the day. Yes, part of it was from not sleeping most of the night (we stayed up most of the night talking about bizarre fetishes—real slumber party talk *grins*), but I could tell the potatoes didn’t like my body so much.
So, I’ve pretty much decided that I probably won’t be eating potatoes again until Thanksgiving unless there’s a really GOOD reason. Starch just doesn’t like my body and it makes me feel bloated and bleh.
I’m spanning three sizes now, depending on the cut of the garment and the material. But the highest size—the one that I wear when the outfit is made out of material that isn’t stretchy at all? It’s the lowest I’ve been since 1991. I’m absolutely thrilled. I estimate I’ve lost about 60-65 pounds so far. I'm able to get into some of the corsets that I love and have wanted to wear for a long time.
The exercise? I’m still doing fairly well, but a long cold sidelined me from biking much over the past few weeks (aerobic activity triggered my cough, though I was still doing the DVD workouts twice a week, to the best of my ability). Now, I’m getting back into the biking. The coughing is almost gone and so I hope to be back up to three sessions of biking a week, in addition to the DVDs, within another week.
Health wise, as I mentioned before, I’ve put my mild type 2 diabetes into remission—my blood sugar is pretty much back to normal. The blood work showed it was just below pre-diabetes—it still could fall a bit, but that should happen over the next year. A couple other mild concerns in my blood work have drastically improved.I’m weaning myself off the blood pressure medication (I’ve been on the lowest dose for years). But most important? I FEEL so much better. I’m moving around so much better. I’m happier with myself. I’m starting to be able to wear clothes I like instead of the clothes I could find in my size.
Now, I’m going to address an issue that I know has probably crossed some minds: I’ve long been a proponent for loving yourself as you are, not for how you want to be. And I still am. But the reality is this: if you are comfortable in your body and healthy, then wonderful—and no one should tell you whether you should lose weight, change your hair color, whatever. But for me, I have never been comfortable being as large as I got. I have never been ‘thin’…not even as a teenager. And frankly, while as a teen it tortured me that I wasn’t like the other girls (and my stepfather tormented me about my weight), to be honest--at this point, I don't really care if I ever get “thin-thin.” I would like to end up around a size 12-16—that would be wonderful for me.
It really DOES bother me when people act like this is the most important thing I've done in my life. Being thin is NOT the most important thing in life. Being healthy and happy IS. And healthy means a lot of different things to different people. I haven't felt hatred for myself since I was in an abusive relationship so many years ago--even if I didn't like what was happening to my body.
But...when I met my ex, I gained a lot of weight. And that weight was brought on by poverty, by eating the carbs that my body hates because I was so poor I couldn’t afford anything but bread and noodles and potatoes. And it was caused by stress.
After I left my ex and met Samwise, I injured myself and gained a lot more weight because I was in so much pain I couldn’t move around like I had done. And I hated the loss of mobility, I hated the pain, and I hated the weight that came with the inactivity. I was over my comfort level.
So, while overall, I’ve built up a successful and happy life, I haven't been comfortable in my body. Now, my husband loves me and thinks I'm beautiful, and he always has. But I need to feel like I'm comfortable in my skin again.
I don't like feeling that I can't control what's happening with my body. I don't like that I can’t wear the clothes I love. And I REALLY don't like feeling limited in my ability to walk and dance and run around. Even though I was a large woman, before the accident I walked everywhere, I could dance half the night around bonfires. I moved. And I have missed that. The chronic back pain sidelined me with a vengeance.
Now, with the low carb and exercise? The chronic pain has receded by about 70%. Where I used to gauge it at a 6-7 on a daily basis, now I’d say it’s down to about a 2, sometimes a 3. I can walk a lot more. My back goes into spasms far less now. I can get through the workout DVD without stopping. I started out a couple years back biking for 5 agonizing minutes and getting 1/10th of a mile, to now biking for 30 minutes at a time, and getting 7-7.5 miles in that time. I’m wearing clothes that are cute again.
I still have quite a ways to go—my next major goal is to reach the size I was before I met my ex. The next minor goal? To reach the next size down, to have my blood sugar be totally back to normal, and to be totally off the blood pressure medication.
So to answer a few questions that have come up:
Question: How do you stick on the low carb?
Answer: I guess the best answer to that is: I want to be healthy and comfortable again more than I want to eat the foods that aren’t good for my body. I am more afraid of diabetes (my husband is a Type 1 diabetic) than I am of never getting to eat the sugar and starch again. I know what diabetes can do to a body and I’m not willing to go there. If it means that I never eat a normal American diet again, then so be it. I’m fine with that.
Question: Why don’t you try (insert the blank) diet? It works so well!
Answer: Because, I know what works for my body, my doctor agrees, and I really have no intention on mucking it up by changing plans. What works for one person, won’t work for everybody. What works for me may not work for you. What matters is that you find a plan that works for you and stick with it.
Question: How often do you go over your carb limit?
Answer: Not very often. I would say, in the past year, I’ve probably had about ten days where I went between 50-70 carbs, and about 4 days where I went from 70-150 carbs. Considering that the average American diet contains about 350 carbs minimum, I’m still doing okay on those days. But I do not make a habit of it, and the next day? Right back to my low-carb lifestyle.
Question: Do you have to exercise as well as diet?
Answer: I have done my best to eliminate the word “diet”…this is a lifestyle change, not something I’m on for a short term. So first, there’s that. But to answer the question: exercise alone won’t do much for weight and won’t keep you out of Type 2 diabetes if you’re prone to it and you don’t watch what you eat. It will tone you up and make you healthier, but combined with the low carb? It’s very helpful and though I started out hating the exercise, after a couple of years (I’ve been exercising a lot longer than low-carbing), now my body craves it. It feels good to push myself, and now that the sugar and starch are out of my system, it feels good rather than hurts.
Lastly—if you want to know about low-carb, well, there are a ton of resources on the net. I recommend starting with a few places that I’ve linked below. Do your research. Talk to your doctor (though some doctors are still anti-low carb, but the evidence is piling up about how bad sugar and starch are for the system). Gauge your body’s reactions to what food works best for you.
http://www.nemechekconsultativemedicine.com/ (My doctor agrees with almost everything except the advice to only eat 3 meals a day. It's better to eat 6 small ones to keep blood sugar even, with protein at every meal).
Some of my past posts on what I've been doing (in order from starting to most recent):