The long slog toward slim."
This January 2012, I have lost all the weight I wanted to lose, and then some. I wanted to lose the ten pounds but have actually lost 18 in total. I'm now thinner than I have been for years, probably since 2005 when this picture was taken.
The hard part was getting started. Counting calories and using an online food diary taught me many things, not the least of which is that some of my food choices were adding calories that I could easily skip. I started counting out the nuts I eat every day (raw almonds and walnuts) so I could add them to the diary, and I experimented with ways to get sugar out of my diet. A scale helped me understand how much a portion was supposed to be. I kept my calories to 1500 per day and was rewarded with pretty consistent weight loss until I hit a plateau after I had lost about eight pounds. Since my new eating plan had become familiar by then, it wasn't hard to keep at it until I began to lose again.
Last year I read two books that helped me a lot: Mindless Eating and The End of Overeating. Of course I had already read all of Michael Pollan's wonderful books about food. It is endlessly satisfying to read books about food when I'm trying to understand my own relationship to it. I've been a vegetarian for decades (well, a pescatarian anyway, since I eat fish) and things like bacon and steak don't even look like food to me any more. But it's really easy to gain weight by eating too many carbohydrates, especially the simple carbs. That's what I had been doing, and now I'm eating more protein and fat and limiting the amount of gluten foods in my diet. I continue to eat lots of veggies every day, but I was doing that before.
Not long ago I learned that two-thirds of all Americans are overweight. A full third of us are obese, many morbidly obese. The health effects of obesity are well known, but the problem is that our diets are apparently designed to keep us eating more and more. I know that when I eat something high in added sugar, I want more of it, even when I'm full. If I don't eat it in the first place, I lose the desire to overeat. Or I eat something else, something better for me.
Hmmm. This is not where I thought I would be going with this post, but it's a good one. It never ceases to amaze me that reading about food and food choices, diets, and body image is endlessly fascinating, to me at least. What I was hoping to do when I first started this post was to write about the past year's events. I started with the January doctor's visit and it ended up filling the post with food and weight issues. Maybe the thing to do is cover each eventful month one at a time. By the time spring rolls around, I'll have finished the entire year of 2011.
One nice thing about blogging is having the ability to go back and read how I felt a year ago. I've been writing this blog since December 2009. I started writing my own history and then got into the habit of pondering where I am today, giving myself permission to write whatever comes into my head once a week. On this blog I don't use labels or have much of anything in the sidebar except the chronological march of posts. Even so, this will be my 115th post, writing once a week.
And over the past two years, I have found a community of fellow bloggers, friends from around the world who delight me and challenge me by leaving perceptive comments. These sometimes spark new directions and avenues in my thinking that I find to be rather addicting. Thank you for being part of my life. I am enriched by our interaction and continue to gain strength and courage from you.