Monday, April 7, 2008

Eat, Drink and be Merry

Friday, March 21, 2008

A couple people have requested that I elaborate a bit on how I managed to lose weight this last year.

Although my feedback is embarrassingly low, I have noted with some satisfaction that there have been several visitors to my blog(s). I can only guess as to what may interest this silent majority, and hope they don't mind a bit of a diversion.

No, this is not going to become a blog focused on dieting ;-) But I will honor the request of those who's responses I appreciate so much :o)

"How did you do it?"

The short answer is a magical little book, easily acquired, and for an amazingly reasonable price.I highly recommend, "The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan", written by Barbara Rolls, PHD, and Robert A Barnett.

This book gave me all the tools I needed to not only lose weight, but to eat more sensibly (while not suffering from those annoying hunger pangs), feel satisfied (It is possible to enjoy some of my old favorites, while discovering new ones!), become more active (it includes a brief chart on calorie burning activities) and the biggest benefit of all, to get healthy!

When I began my weight loss regime, I weighed in at over 200 lbs. I was fat, morbidly obese. I was embarrassed to be seen in public, and hated to have my picture taken. Shopping for clothes was depressing, and I never knew when a TV show, movie, or even a commercial ad might trigger my feelings of inadequacy, fear, guilt.

In desperation I plunged in with both feet, in a less than healthy manner. For the first few weeks, I limited myself to right around 350 calories a day. The first two weeks were great. I'd squeal in delight each Sunday after weighing in and discovering a loss of 8 or 9 lbs. I actually dropped a size in that first two weeks. I was thrilled, and figured all the suffering was worth it. I was sure I could continue this deprivation, and lose lbs. and sizes in record time.

The following week, however, I struggled with fatigue, lightheadedness. Taking a shower was a risky endeavor, as I was never sure I would remain concious for the whole thing. I found it necessary to lie down, not once, but several times a day. My memory, already experiencing "senior moment" lapses, was becoming worse, nearly nonexistant! I stepped on the scale on Sunday and dicovered, for all my suffering, I had only lost one pound! How could this be? I was starving myself for crying out loud! This would not do! A new kind of desperation emerged.

Thinking perhaps I could move those 350 calories around a bit, maybe 100 in the morning, and 250 in the evening, I went in search of a calorie counter. You know that little booklet that in times past seemed to be available most everywhere you went? I looked everywhere and not one was to be found! Finally, my search took me to the Health Food store, where I was most fortunate to meet an employee who was very knowledgeable about nutrition and dieting. She lectured me as kindly as possible about my errant behavior, and advised me to pick up a book, available at Fred Meyers or Walmart. Walmart was the closest so that was our next stop.

After reading this book, "..Volumetrics.." for a bit I realized I had some choices. I could give up my childish ways of edible overindulgence, or I could spend my every waking moment beating my body into submission. I decided the authors' advice to compromise, and do a bit of both was more to my liking.

I began eating again. Admittedly, not quite so much as the book suggested, but a lot more than the previous weeks 350 calories a day. I limited my "breakfast" to between 100 and 160 calories. I measured my creamer for my coffee, keeping it at a low count. I skipped lunch, but did have an "emergency", high protein low calorie snack close by, just in case my energy waned too much. Dinner ranged anywhere from 250 to 500 calories a day.Sara Lee has a smaller, lighter version of bread, called Delightful. at just 45 calories a slice, and if you get the chance try one of my favorites, my new burger of choice, "GardenBurger's" Portabella. So good! I also rediscovered dessert! We were temporarily residing in a motel in town, which Schwan's visited twice a month. Schwan's now carries a delightful frozen fudge bar that contains a mere 50 calories per full size bar! They're delicious!

I've never been one for drinking water, but it didn't take long for me to realize that all that Sprite was adding up caloriewise, and wasn't doing a thing to abate my hunger! I have acquired a taste for our well water, but we were in the city, and I just couldn't bring myself to drink what was coming out of those faucets. I tried. It just wasn't within me. It was then it occured to me that there might be some interesting options awaiting me on the grocers shelves. Honestly, I was shocked at the sugar content, and resulting calorie levels of most the flavored varieties of water I saw. I persisted, though, and finally found a few that contained little or no sugar, and much lower calorie counts. I tried a few, a bottle or two at a time, until I finally settled on my compromise of choice, between my beloved soda, and water. Propel, at a very acceptable 10 calories per serving, a surprisingly pleasant flavor, and no Aspartame, was the clear winner. It also came in a bottle which was the perfect size for popping in my jacket pocket when we went on our walks.

Alrighty then! We covered "Eat" and "Drink". Now on to the fun part, the "Merry!"

I went for a walk. As I lost weight, and sizes, I found my clothing was beginning to bag a bit. I needed "new" clothing for my changing dimensions. As with my home town, I was now residing in a town which was far from flat. Lots of hills to be seen and conquered. Over one of those hills, maybe 6 blocks from the motel, was a thrift shop. I wasn't about to go out and spend the big bucks required these days for new clothing when I was only planning to fit in said clothing for a few weeks. Summer was upon us. A perfect time to go for a walk. I walked up and over the hill to the thrift store,found some jeans that fit, in addition to one pair a size too small, then returned home with my treasures.

On days shopping was not an option, the whole family would go on walks. We walked to the park, down to the tracks, and along them on to the bay. We wandered for hours in the sand, collecting seashells, wondering at the cranes and the seals; Laughing at the antics of the sandpipers. We went clamming and crabbing, and built fun sand castles. Other times we took a little turn and headed for the dunes. We hiked over soft, dry sand, to the dune, we climbed over the side, and into the center, then climbed to the top, one step up, two slides down, two steps up.... I wonder if I've ever been so worn out! I wonder what memories my children have stored... On occasion we headed for the beach, at the jetty. We wandered the beach, we ran from the waves (which occasionally caught us, leaving us drenched!) We laughed. We collected rocks and shells.

Then there were the days when our merriment could not be found in outdoor pursuits. We weren't about to let that stop us! At times, it was just a matter of cranking the stereo and dancing about the room (much to the dismay of our 10 yr. old son), Other times, one of the kids would bring out a balloon and we would play "Balloon Bop" for hours. That was a particularly fun game, provided we could keep the balloon from bopping something fragile;-) We actually got pretty good at it! Sometimes, I merely resorted to hopping on my "stepper" and climbed as long as my legs would bear it. That was okay, even though it was a bit squeeky, and the steps never seemed to take me anywhere ;-)

There's another side of "Merry" I feel I should mention. In my heavier days, I had my share of physical ailments. My back ached to the point I couldn't even finish a load of dishes without taking a break. I couldn't get down on the floor with my children because my knees couldn't handle it, for that matter, neither could my legs. They'd cramp up in minutes. I had become lactose intolerant, and was beginning to notice signs of diabetes. I had no energy. I was tired.

Since I've lost weight my back rarely aches, I'm not popping Ibuprofen like candy, just to get through the day. My skin looks better than it has for decades. I can get down on the floor and play with my children. I have energy! I think the thing that amazes me the most though, is my lactose intolerance has disappeared! I can drink milk, and eat ice cream again! Although, I do opt for the lighter versions these days :o)

I realize this is long, and not the "fun" post I had hoped to conjure up. For that I apologize.

I hope you return , "Same Bat Time! Same Bat channel!", for future installments of "Life at my house!"

1 comment:

Nana said...

Congratulations on your weight loss. I've struggled myself. I've been able to keep of 20 of the 30 I lost 10 years ago but need to loose another 15, before my son's wedding next year. You had the right idea, get moving - which I preach and have difficulty following my own advice. Today was finally warm here on the NJ coast so I did get out and walking, but tomorrow will have rain, again. I enjoyed reading your posts.