May 252016
 

My Weight Loss Story – Part 2

by Michael

 

I listen to a lot of podcasts at work and some of them had some health and fitness related guests on that were discussing the benefits of the ketosis diet. The basis of this diet is that consume about 50% of your calories from fats and forego the carbs. In doing so, you will optimize your body to burn fats as a fuel source instead of carbohydrates. This was a new concept to me but I was very curious to learn more about it. Then I found some podcasts that were either specifically about health and fitness or had regular guests on to discuss those topics. Before I continue, I want to state that I am not on a ketosis diet because I feel like it’s a little too difficult for me to strictly adhere to. There are however, a lot of things that I have taken from it that I do really like.

I remember a time in the 80s where buzz phrases like “low in fat” started to appear on the packages of products in the grocery stores. Years later, this has evolved into phrases like “an excellent source of whole grains” and “zero trans fats” which would lead you to believe that products like this are in fact, ideal for your health when in reality, a low-fat chip for example would 1 – taste terrible and 2 – is likely loaded with salt and sugar so it will actually taste like something that you would enjoy. In other words, it’s probably not good for you.

One of the shows I listened to had a guest on that was discussing the benefits of a high fat diet and specifically mentioned that cavemen were not out harvesting grains so they’d have enough energy to hunt in order to survive. They were eating animals and produce and the fats they consumed became their source of fuel.

I dug deeper into the topic and discovered that then ketosis diet was popular among the ultra-endurance athletes that were doing things like running 100-mile races. Athletic accomplishments like this, while impressive, are not something that I’m interested in yet the benefits of the diet are still compelling to me.

The guest would go on to give examples of what you should be eating via multiple choice questions. Time after time, he would suggest the highest item in fat or the item in the list that you’d consider to be the most sinful of the group. One example really stuck out to me and that was when he recommended eating a Snickers bar over some other items because of the items mentioned, it was the highest in fat content and therefore would be most likely to satisfy you for the longest period of time. He was clear to recommend this was only something that he’d recommend in a bind and this was not something that you should normally do. The thing that I took away from this was that if you were going to cheat on your diet, go for it. Don’t eat the fat-free frozen yogurt because a facsimile of the thing you’re craving won’t actually satisfy your desires. Instead, just get the ice cream that has all of the fat and sugar in it that you’re craving. Don’t eat it often and you should be fine.

Another guest on another show had uttered a few phrases that really resonated with me. Don’t count calories, make calories count. The other thing he said was something about earning or working hard enough so that you deserve to eat your carbohydrates. These phrases weren’t new to me but they really struck a nerve this time.

On to the diet. There are a few principles that I follow.

1 – Whenever possible, eat the fattiest version available. Gone are the days of tasteless boring skinless chicken breasts. Hello chicken thighs pan fried in coconut oil and kale sautéed with bacon!

2 – Snack on the fattiest snack items. My go to items are salami, cheeses, nuts, avocados, and veggies with Greek yogurt based dips.

3 – The carbs I eat most often are those that have a low-glycemic index value. This means that legumes and beans are the preferred carbohydrate.

4 – It’s OK to cheat on when I ride my bike a little because I will burn a ton of calories on those days. This is when I’ll have a slice of pizza, a bag of chips, or glass of wine.

A typical day of eating looks like this for me:

Breakfast – 2 pieces of bacon, 2 scrambled eggs cooked in the bacon grease, topped with avocado and jalapeños. Sometimes I’ll throw a fistful of sweet potatoes in if I feel sluggish. When I go running before work, I’ll eat Greek yogurt with blueberries afterward because I won’t have time to cook.

Lunch – Black beans topped with cheese and jalapeños, a spinach salad with olive oil and vinegar, a chicken thigh or two, and some avocado.

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Dinner – A steak, Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon, and a side salad.

In addition, I’ll eat one or two snacks from the list I mentioned earlier.

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So what’s missing? Low-fat foods and grains – the very things that we’ve been told to consume a lot of because they’re good for us. I’m convinced now that it’s all a lie. I also don’t eat much sugar. I’ll eat some in a natural form, like what comes with fruits and veggies, but I’m fortunate that I don’t tend to have a sweet tooth. I primarily eat these foods after I exercise to help stave off an energy crash and it tends to prevent me from committing larger infractions.

I’ve been eating like this for now for a few months. The results were:

  • I have dropped 25 pounds and a pant size.
  • All of the fat I’m eating has kept me happy and I feel like this diet is very sustainable over the long haul. I don’t feel like I’m starving myself or seriously depriving myself of the foods that I love.
  • I’ve also had blood work done and all of my stats have improved – my weight is down, my cholesterol is down, and my resting heart rate is down.
  • My BMI has lowered by 3%.

I don’t necessarily have an end game for what I want to weigh. While losing weight is necessary for me to achieve my fitness goals, it’s not my primary focus which in a way, makes all of this a bit easier since I’m not constantly focusing on losing weight. Instead, I’m focused on biking, running, pull-ups, and push-ups. Anything that makes this stuff easier is good in my book.

May 242016
 

I wanted to do a follow-up post to this one: Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum. Looking back at the post I am really glad I had the forethought to plan things out. I think it helped me a lot. I also appreciated all the comments and advice from people that went through this!

My fear of getting Postpartum Depression was valid, but thankfully didn’t materialize. I don’t know if it was luck, planning ahead, being super-conscious and aware of the signs, being in therapy and loving my new therapist, going for walks, but something did the trick and I didn’t have that issue.

Like I said in another post, the first few weeks were really rough. Now I know it was like 75% sleep deprivation and 25% hormones. I cried a lot. I was emotional. I was easily frustrated (with little things that were dumb, but never with Logan, which was good). I felt dead on my feet. Breastfeeding SUCKED. Michael tried to help me get some sleep by sleeping on the couch with Logan in the bassinet a few nights a week. As much as I hated that, it helped. I got some sleep. FINALLY. (And we haven’t had to do that for awhile now–we are all sleeping well in the same room.)

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I realized pretty early on that the key to my health (physical and emotional) was getting some rest. I’d try to nap during the day and Logan would sometimes cooperate, sometimes not. One thing I noticed — the insomnia that had plagued me for over a decade went away. Now I can fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyways. Getting reassurance from my therapist that the crying and emotional feelings I was having was completely normal and not PPD helped me. Getting more sleep at night helped. Taking some naps helped. Getting out of the house every day helped.

I am really glad that I didn’t suffer from PPD. Just having a glimpse of what it could be like those first few weeks was eye-opening. Somewhere around week 4 I woke up from the fog of hormones, crazy emotions and lack of sleep. Things got better. We got a routine down. Breastfeeding was going so much better and that made me happy.

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I had no idea the toll breastfeeding would take on my body and spirit when it wasn’t going well. It’s a really emotional thing. Maybe it’s the pressure that society puts on women–that if you don’t breastfeed you’re somehow failing as a mother. I felt that pressure and was really upset that it wasn’t going as planned. I thought it would be easy. It looks so easy. Just put them on the boob. Done. Nope, it’s not that easy. And feeling that pressure to do it right is exhausting. Thankfully that’s getting better, too. I’ve come to terms with our early experiences. So what I had to pump. So what I had to supplement. I fed my baby, he gained weight and was healthy. That’s the bigger issue, not whether or not I could breastfeed.

I’m glad we got his tongue-tie fixed and that with a few more sessions with the lactation consultant helped us both learn how to breastfeed. Now it’s no big deal and we can do it and he’s growing like a weed. There are even times when I need a break and I’m glad that I can pump and have Michael give Logan a bottle. It’s helpful. I really appreciate that Michael offered to take more feeding sessions to help me. It gives me a chance to do things–go to the gym, get a little more sleep, go out with friends. We are finding a balance and a routine that works well.

Currently Michael works from home on Fridays. It’s nice that he has that option and it’s really helpful for me! Friday mornings he often goes for a run or a bike ride early in the morning. Then he makes me breakfast and takes Logan so I can go to the gym. He gets his work done for the day, I get home and we can do stuff together or tag-team the day so I can run errands like grocery shopping, etc. For example, today he ran, then went to the garden store to get tomatoes and jalapenos for our garden, then when he got home and did work, I went to the gym, then I took care of Logan while he worked on the garden, then he took Logan for a bit so I could take a nap and go grocery shopping. Then we all went for a walk later.

I am really glad that I didn’t suffer from PPD. With my history of depression and anxiety it could have easily gone the other way. I am so thankful! Another thing that has helped was sunshine. The weather has been pretty nice during my maternity leave and taking daily walks with the baby boosts my mood.

My maternity leave is coming to an end soon. I’m having a lot mixed emotions about this. I know for myself that I can’t be a stay at home mom full time. In some ways it’s been a little hard being home all the time. My world suddenly felt really small. I talked to my therapist about this and she agreed–she said that being a SAHM is not for everyone and with my anxiety it probably isn’t the best thing for me. I agree. I don’t need “too much time to think” and be anxious about stuff.

But on the flipside, even knowing that I don’t want to be home full time, I’ve been feeling moody and sad about going back to work. I can’t imagine NOT spending my days with Logan. I’m having a really hard time with this. 🙁

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I’m trying to cherish every day with him, get snuggles and cuddles, play with him, enjoy watching him grow and learn things. I know these days are going to go by so fast and I will look back and wish I could hit the pause button. So when I start to feel sad and moody about leaving him, I try and remember that it’s not always about quantity of time, but quality of time. I am trying to make the most of it.

The good news is that when my maternity leave is up I am going back to work part-time for 90 days. I won’t have to be back in the office full time until the beginning of September and that buys us more time together. I am so thankful for that and that is the single thing that is making it easier for me to go back to work! You better believe I’m already missing that goofy face!