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Making Good Choices: Stumbling Through My Wight Loss Journey

It was not that long ago that I posted about intermittent fasting, and not long before that I posted advice on getting through the holidays without a lot of weight gain. To be fair I actually didn’t gain an extra 15-20 lbs till after the holidays. It was clear there was something going on. I was hungry all the time. I couldn’t make it to 16 hours let alone 18. I was too tired to work out and when I did I was in constant pain. There isn’t a definitive answer yet, although it appears as though my thyroid is the culprit. I am waiting on some more tests and who knows when I’ll actually get medication. Even then I suspect it won’t be a magic pill that instantly burns the weight off.

It’s pretty common for women, especially at my age, to have yo yo-ing weight. A little depression, a little stress, a pandemic, all lead to weight gain. In the past I have kept the weight off with intense daily workouts. Between working out and doing 16:8 I can maintain or even lose a little weight. But as my ability to workout diminished and I struggled through 16:8, the weight came on, rapidly. In addition to referring me to an endocrinologist, my doctor also sent me to physical therapy. A few months ago I wasn’t sleeping, like at all. Maybe 2-3 hours a night but usually more like 4 hours every other night. I tweaked my back and pretty badly and that led to the pain associated with working out. Needless to say when it rains it pours.

I just kept saying, I am taking the tests, I am going to physical therapy, eventually the weight will come back off. Then I got vaccinated. I think deep down I didn’t think there was any real reason to force myself to take my weight gain seriously, but as the prospect of returning back into the world and wearing real clothes, it started to kick in that I needed to take control of the situation. The actual trigger point was thinking we might be able to go to Disney this summer (yes I know that’s probably a pipe dream) and realizing that none of my Disney shirts made in 2020 would fit. I can’t just walk into a store and get new ones. What if my t-shirt maker doesn’t have the custom designs any more? What if she can’t get me new shirts in the exact same color as Pat’s and Scarlett’s? It would cost a small fortune to have them all remade, and Lord knows I am not going to not have matching shirts.

Intermittent fasting works, but you have to take it seriously. Everyone’s body is different. 16:8 has never been enough for weight loss for me. 18:6 works as long as I also limit my calories. 20:4 is my sweet spot but it means either sacrificing dinner with Scarlett or nightcap with Pat. Neither of which I want to do. I could definitely make a dent in my weight by not drinking any wine for a month, but I don’t like being thin as much as I like wine. I also love that it’s a passion Pat and I share and as I blogged about last week, mutual hobbies are good for marriage.

So I downloaded my least favorite app, My Fitness Pal. Ok second least favorite, the first is Weight Watchers. My dad calls it the math diet, you put in less than you put out. I love that in maintenance I don’t have to think about what I am eating when I fast. It really is freedom from calorie counting. But I ain’t in maintenance, this is a red alert people. It is definitely easier to stay under 1500 calories when you don’t eat breakfast or lunch. Heck most days I can keep it to 1200, if I put in even the smallest amount of effort. If you’re familiar with My Fitness Pal it actually gives you back the calories when you work out, math folks, math. But here’s the thing, it’s really about making good choices.

Remember in the remake of Freaky Friday, with Lindsey Lohan and Jamie Curtius, the mom screams out the car window “make good choices”? That’s kind of where I am with my health right now. I have to make good choices if I want to lose those 20 lbs, and I really could afford to lose another 10 for good measure. The big good choice is to stick to my fasting window. That means using a timing app (Life or Zero) to count down to at least 18 every day. It means closing my window by at least 10 PM and not snacking in the middle of the night.That’s hard when I don’t sleep but it’s crucial to getting intermittent fasting to do it’s thing. Make good choices.

Food choices are auxiliary. I can still have doritos but I would need to be conscious of how many I consume. People on Weight Watchers always say things like “everything is ok within moderation.” But no one ever defines moderation and foods that need to be eaten in severe moderation are not usually a good idea because you always want more. Carbonara is one of my favorite foods, but I can’t eat just a cup, so for the time being it needs to stay off the dinner menu. I don’t have any intention of giving up my wine so I need to make good choices about the rest of my day if I am going to have more than one glass. Take a longer walk, eat a salad, snack on fruit instead of trail mix. Make good choices.

Making good choices is also something my physical therapist has been telling me. Stretch every morning. Do all of my PT exercises, everyday. Don’t hunch over my phone or computer. Use lighter weights, work out for fewer minutes and don’t burn out. Take a hot bath when the pain is impacting my ability to function. Don’t lay in bed tossing and turning. Make good choices.

Making good choices really means taking control of the things you can. There is so much in life you can’t control. I can’t control my thyroid, chronic insomnia, or connective tissue disorder. So I have to control when and what I eat and how I work out. There are at least 4 different sizes of clothes in my closet, like many women, that say I often am not in control. Thank goodness I don’t change shoe sizes, that would cost a fortune and I would need a bigger shoe room. You can tell I am overweight, or at least over my preferred weight, when I am buying clothes from Amazon and Target and not Nordstrom or Zara. I say to myself, this is only temporary so I won’t invest a lot in these clothes. But if I put half the amount of effort into what I eat in a day as I put into how I dress everyday, I’d never need another size 12 again.

I’ve talked a lot about authenticity. I didn’t want to write this post because I didn’t want to discredit my posts on fasting and fitness, but the truth is that life is a journey and we get lost from time to time. I am not me, if I can’t be honest about when I stumble and fall. Winston Churchill said “attitude is a little thing that can make a big difference.” Making good choices is all about attitude. Wish me luck.

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