Mar 162015
 

I saw this article, 9 things no one tells you about losing weight, and immediately clicked over to read it to see if I agreed on the things they listed. Some of them were obvious and didn’t really enlighten me in any way. Here are a few:

4. Your risk of cancer will be lower

2. Your memory may improve (I never experienced a change)

7. Working out will be more fun (Duh, the easier it gets, the more fit you get, the more fun it is)

8. Your bones may change

9. You’ll probably spend less on health care

Then there were a few that were totally spot on that I wanted to talk about here. It was a pretty good article and worth a read if you’re losing weight. Here are the ones I wanted to focus on:

1. Your energy levels will skyrocket

This is 100% true. When I first started working out I chose swimming because it was something I’d always loved and been good at and I thought it would be something I’d stick with because of that. Swimming was also a good choice because it’s easy on the body. If you’re bigger, doing certain activities can be difficult on the joints (i.e. running).

I started swimming and it was HARD. I had to rest a lot, pretty much after every length of the pool. The more I did it, the easier it got and suddenly I was swimming several laps without having to stop at the end of the pool to rest. This continued and my conditioning improved.

Once I was active on a regular basis and started seeing significant weight loss, my energy levels DID skyrocket. I had SO much energy! I preferred to be active. My previous couch-potato lifestyle was no longer working for me. I found that I couldn’t sit still. Where I previously could spend all weekend on the couch watching movies and TV, now it was difficult to sit through one TV show. To this day I still struggle with this. I tend to get up a lot and do other things, then come back. It makes Michael crazy. ;)

It’s difficult to sit still and I want to move my body. I have energy to burn! I want to burn it! That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m exercising all the time. Most of the time it just means I’d prefer to move my body. That means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking across the bridge to work instead of taking the bus. Getting off the bus at sooner stops and walking. Things like that. My energy levels are pretty high and that makes me feel so much better!

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3. Your relationship will be tested

I’ve talked about this before so many times I won’t go over it again. I will point you in the direction of some of those posts talking about how relationships change with significant weight loss:

Partners Who Sabotage

Weight Loss Saboteurs

Lose 100 Pounds, Lose Friends?

What Happens After You Lose the Weight?

Hold That Door

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Sharing Fitness with the Love of Your Life

It’s very scary and sad when relationships end because of something so positive. Some people can’t deal with someone else’s big lifestyle change. They feel threatened, insecure. Maybe YOU change with losing weight and become more assertive or change what YOU want. People WILL treat you differently. The trick is to not let that ruin a real friendship.

5. If you were depressed before, that may not change

This was a big one for me. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. For a long time I always thought “when I lose the weight I’ll be happy.” I thought that the weight was the reason I was unhappy. That was definitely a big part of it but what I learned with losing 100 pounds was that it wasn’t a magical cure for everything that ails you. Nope, you may lose half of your body weight but you’re still the same person you were on the inside. Maybe a little more assertive, maybe a little happier, but not magically changed.

This is something that I wish more weight loss blogs and books would address. After losing so much weight, I didn’t really know what to think about myself, who I was, where I wanted my life to go. I had focused on the weight loss for so long I had kind of lost the other aspects of myself. I just floundered. Not having a goal was hard for me.

Depression reared it’s ugly head again and I found ways to battle that. Exercise definitely improved my moods and I used fitness as a tool for relieving stress and managing depression. It works. It really does. But it isn’t a CURE. I don’t know if there IS a cure for depression. Medication sure isn’t it. It’s another bandaid. Exercise is a temporary outlet. Mindful thinking another bandaid. Basically, you do all of those things together and you get through it. But don’t expect miracles.

6. Foods might taste differently

YES! 100%! When I started eating better things tasted differently. My previous diet of junk food went away and was replaced by healthy foods. Sure it took time to get used to it but once I did, the effects were shocking.

Now, when I eat junk food, I FEEL differently. I feel gross. I feel unhealthy. I can tell the difference. My body just doesn’t feel good. Once in awhile I will give in to a junk food craving and eat something that I remember loving and it tastes different. It doesn’t taste as good as I remember it.

I also crave things I never used to crave: natural foods. Fruits and veggies. This winter I’ve been obsessed with Brussels Sprouts. I’ve been a fan for a long time and eat them on a regular basis every winter but for some reason this winter I’ve been eating them obsessively! I have no idea why and if you’d ask me at 20 years old and 200 pounds if I’d ever see myself craving Brussels sprouts I’d laugh in your face. But seriously, last week I was eating them for lunch AND dinner!

Healthy-Weight-Loss

But I do crave healthy things now. I cannot WAIT for summer! I LOVE berry season! And cherry season. Everything about fresh and season produce makes me happy.

One other example of changing taste buds is yogurt. When I used to eat yogurt I ate the super sugary Yoplait yogurt. There is really nothing nutritional about Yoplait, sorry. It’s packed with sugar and chemicals. Then I switched to Greek yogurt. For a long time I was eating the Chobani yogurt. It was great. But as my taste buds changed and I started to get sensitive to sugars I made the switch to plain Greek Yogurt.

At first it was a huge shock. It tasted sour and tasted like nothing. I added Agave syrup to sweeten it and would also eat it with raisins or fresh fruit, berries, etc. I HAD to add some sugar to it. After awhile I started skipping the syrup and just using fruit. Now I can eat plain Greek yogurt without anything in it if I want to, although I still usually add a little bit of fruit to (not much). (Lately I’m adding tart cherries to it.) It’s crazy how your tastes change and now I cannot eat Chobani at all. It’s SO SWEET it makes me feel sick.

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Can you relate to these 9 things? Anything missing from the list?

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Mar 032015
 

I haven’t updated my weight loss progress in a bit. There are a few reasons for that but the main one is that the progress was not happening. Last I mentioned I’d lost 2 pounds and things were moving along nicely.

Then I stopped taking my acne medication. For a second time. And immediately gained 4 pounds. WTF. This actually happened the last time I stopped taking the medication and I was so frustrated that I started taking the acne meds again. This time around, I was determined to stop taking it for several reasons and I was going to just get over it if I gained weight as a result. But I tell you, seeing that immediate 4 pound gain on the scale SUCKED. For nearly 2 months I’d been abstaining from alcohol (except for a few weekends here and there when there were events), eating tons of veggies, counting my calories, working out … basically doing everything “right.”

I hate these meds! Sure, they fix my acne for the most part, but the side effects suck (low blood pressure, dizziness, having to pee all the effing time) and honestly I’ve been on the meds for a long time and I hate that I take them. Also, I have to get my kidneys checked every 6 months to check for damage as a result of the medication. That can’t be good and while my kidneys have been fine, it still creeped me out that I had to get them tested so often.

So logically I know that the 4 pounds was water weight from stopping the meds but dammit it sucked. It deflated me. It made me angry. Like, “I’ve been doing everything RIGHT WTF” angry. I felt discouraged. I started to feel like giving up. I didn’t, but I wanted to.

I talked to my doctor and he said, yeah that’s normal. Okay. The gain might be normal but it still sucks. He said to give it time for my body to figure out the water retention, avoid salty foods, etc. Ugh. There is nothing worse than feeling like your good work is doing nothing positive.

Recently, a friend of mine got her cortisol levels tested and they were pretty high. She told me about it and suggested I see if I could get my levels tested. I didn’t know much about it but I asked my doctor and he ordered the tests.

I knew very little about cortisol before this. I knew it had something to do with stress hormones and weight gain. WebMD said: “Cortisol has many functions. It helps the body use sugar (glucose) and fat for energy (metabolism), and it helps the body manage stress. Cortisol levels can be affected by many conditions, such as physical or emotional stress, strenuous activity, infection, or injury.”

I had to get my blood work done at 8am and then again at 4pm to compare the levels. From what I read, the levels were usually higher in the morning and lower in the afternoon. I went in and got the first test done, then went to the gym afterward.

blood

Later that day I went back to the doctor to get my second test done. Bella came with me in the car (she loves car rides and adventures) and we drove to the doc. (She was giving me kisses as we waited in the parking lot for 4pm.)

blood3

It was a simple blood test and I had asked the doctor if I needed to fast for it or anything and he said no. Easy peasy.

blood2

I guess part of me was hoping there was something up with my levels just so I would have an answer as to why it’s so hard this time around to lose weight. And despite the pat answer from my doctor “you’re getting older” I don’t think that’s the full story. Sure I understand metabolism changes as you age and it might get harder to lose weight but I don’t think that’s it.

Here are the standards for cortisol:

Cortisol 
Adult/Child Morning

5–23 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or 138–635 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)

Afternoon

3–16 mcg/dL or 83–441 nmol/L

     

I got the results pretty quickly (same day). The test results for the morning blood draw:

Component Standard Range Your Value Flag
Cortisol 7.0 – 23.0 mcg/dL 20.0

It seemed a little high to me but it fell in the normal range so I guess it was okay. The test results for the afternoon draw:

Component Standard Range Your Value Flag
Cortisol 7.0 – 23.0 mcg/dL 8.2

Again, normal range. Again, no definitive answers. Aw well, I tried. At least it’s something to cross off the list of “what can it be”? The next step was my doctor putting in a referral for the nutrition department/health coach. It’s free with my insurance and they have a bunch of different programs, including a medically supervised diet.

I spoke to a health coach and explained my history and the problem. I already kind of felt like none of the programs were REALLY going to be helpful for me. I know how to lose weight. I did it. And kept it off for 6+ years. I don’t feel like I need the online or in-person support group (like Weight Watchers) and I don’t need motivation. I have motivation. It’s just not working the same way it used to.

The health coach did say that sleep deprivation and stress can effect weight gain and loss. Which I agree with. In times of stress I tend to stress eat. While that hasn’t been out of control lately, it’s still an occasional issue I struggle with. And I told the coach that when I “stress eat” it’s not a binge. It may be an extra 500-1000 calories for the day but it’s not like a full-out binge. I choose poorly for food. I also told him what my exercise regiment was and that there was no way I could add MORE exercise and he agreed.

One recommendation was that I talk to the sleep specialists about trying to fix my insomnia issues naturally (I don’t want Ambien). I agreed to that. And he’s going to hook me up with the nutritionist health coach who will take a look at what I’m doing with food and see if there’s anything I can change up. We’ll see!

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