Reflections on Losing Weight

Recently a reader asked why I wasn’t trying to lose weight this time like I did the first time. I wanted to address that.

When I lost weight the first time, it was definitely “easier” (weight loss isn’t really easy, but looking back, it was definitely easier then than now). I was younger, I was living alone and in complete control of my diet. I cut out trigger foods entirely–no pizza or ice cream. I counted my calories and was somewhere between 1600-1800 calories during the duration of my weight loss journey.

I ate the same things every day. I had a fake egg McMuffin for breakfast (an English muffin, egg beaters microwaved and a slice of cheese) or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch was a turkey and cheese sandwich on low calorie bread with a serving of Wheat Thins. A snack was an apple. Dinner was a Lean Cuisine with a salad. And dessert was sometimes a rice krispie treat (90 calories) or a chocolate Fiber bar (150 calories) and a glass of milk.

I didn’t drink my calories. I drank a lot of diet soda. Then eventually I cut out diet soda and switched to sparkling flavored water.

That was pretty much my diet for 16-ish months. Small variations here and there. Sometimes for dinner I’d cook a chicken breast on my George Forman grill and have a salad and some cooked vegetables. Sometimes I’d splurge and have a cheat meal in a restaurant.

Once I reached my goal weight and maintained it for a little while, I changed my diet. Eating so much processed food was not great. Yes it helped me lose weight because I could accurately count my calories and I had built-in portion control, but really it wasn’t something that was a lifelong thing. Eating processed foods like that helped teach me portion control and realize how IΒ shouldΒ  be eating.

When I moved in with Michael (a million years ago), I started eating REAL FOOD. I’d have Lean Cuisines at work for lunch because they were easy and portion controlled. But other than that, I wasn’t eating a lot of processed foods. And that has pretty much been my life for the last 8 years–eating real food.

I maintained my weight loss for 10 years–give or take a 5-10 pounds.

Then I got pregnant.

I did really well when I was pregnant. I didn’t go nuts and say “I’m pregnant! I can eat anything!” I wasn’t “eating for two”. I gained 33 pounds while pregnant. I lost about 18 of that right away, I’m sure part of that was justΒ baby. LOL

But then I struggled. Breastfeeding became my focus and my goal and whenever I tried to lose weight my supply would tank. So I decided to just wait until I was done breastfeeding to actively try and lose the weight.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been trying a few different things in order to lose those last 15 pounds. The reason I haven’t done “what I did before” is because I don’t really want to do a highly processed food diet in order to lose the weight. Sure it worked last time, but I don’t necessarily feel like it would be the healthiest option for me now. I am not sure what to do or why what I’m currently doing isn’t working.

Part of me wants to just be ok with being 15 pounds overweight. I want to be one of those people that loves my body no matter what size. But I really struggle with that. It’s weird to feel like I did when I was 250+ pounds. I KNOW I am not back to where I was, but psychologically I feel stuck in a weird place in my head where I am overly critical of my body, I hate that none of my clothes really fit properly — even though I’m not really in a much bigger size — and I hate having my photo taken.

Then I think, is this the message I want to pass on to Logan? Do I want him to grow up and be critical of his body, self-conscious, or have food issues like I always had? No. I don’t. I don’t want to look at certain foods and thing “these are bad” and I don’t want Logan to feel that way.

I realized recently that my brain had changed into that “Bad food, Good food” frame of mind. Doing this diet recently that’s limiting carbs–I am now looking at foods that are high in carbs and thinking “I can’t eat that, there’s too many carbs in it.” It’s very weird–especially since 6 months ago I would have eaten that rice or English muffin and not even thought twice about it.

I’ve seen it creep into my brain in regards to everything. “Bad Food.” Logan is exploring eating “real food” and I’m trying different things. I caught myself the other day when I was making him breakfast of a frozen whole wheat waffle with peanut butter on it (one of his favorites) and I thought “carbs are bad.” Um, he’s 16 months! He doesn’t need to limit his carbs. Absolutely ridiculous. But that’s where my brain is these days–being critical of “Bad Food.” I don’t like it.

Since March I was doing the lower carb diet thing and lost about 7/8 pounds (gaining and losing the same 2 pounds since the initial loss) and lately I’ve kind of stopped for a few reasons. First, I stopped losing. Second, I was tired all the time. Third, I was feeling frustrated that I was restricting and not seeing results. Lastly, I didn’t like how much I was focusing on “Bad Foods.”

I’m not going crazy eating carbs now, but I am eating more of them on occasion. I’m still trying to keep it to a minimum but I’m not being super restrictive. I’m staying the same in weight. Several of my pants are loose and baggy, but I’m not seeing results on the scale.

I emailed my doctor and spelled out exactly what I eat in a day and what my exercise looks like in a week. I was honest and told her exactly what I was doing and said it wasn’t working. Her response? “Wow, you’re already doing everything I would suggest.” GREAT. πŸ™ Except she said eat whole foods, drink more water, and reduce my calories to 1400 a day (instead of the 1500-1600 I was eating). Okey dokey! Reducing my calories it is.

So that is where I am at currently. I’m considering tracking my macros on CronometerΒ instead of tracking calories (a friend suggested tracking macros instead of calories because it is working well for her). I am also considering turning off the calories I burn exercising in MyFitnessPal so that I am not eating back those calories I burn. I will keep you posted on what I decide.

 

14 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! So much of this post resonates with me which is refreshing since it’s not something easily discussed with family and friends. Just wanted you to know since I’m a new subscriber but hadn’t commented yet. I enjoy your blog thanks to your sincerity and transparency and am thankful for your experiences shared!

  2. As the parent of older kids (19,23,27) it is important in today’s processed world to teach kids to moderate carbs.

    Long ago carbs were a lot of work (grind grain to make flour and making noodles, crackers, bread by hand) and therefore sort of self moderated. Now they are just way too easy and plentiful and cheap.

    Fruit was seasonal. And now it is year round.

    Freezers and refrigeration making everything available all the time. So ice cream used to be a very occasional thing that involved a lot of effort. Now it could be every day or several times a day. And that is not beneficial.

    So it is important to think about what kind of carbs. And how often. And balance. For us. For our kids.

    Because it does not happen automatically any more.

    I use waffles because that was your example. What does the label say? Ratio of protein to carbs? Fiber? Additives? Added sugar? (Just because it says ‘”whole wheat” or “whole grain” or “organic” does not mean it is good for him). I used a protein waffle mix that has good numbers and then I add a scoop of protein powder to it, for my kids. Can also add egg whites to things to change the numbers.

    Cannot think “kid food” when feeding kids or teaching kids what foods to eat. You are setting his life long eating habits.

    A taste for green veggies is so important. And I disagree with almost every starting babies on solid food chart that I have ever seen. My opinion is start with green veggies. Go to meats. Do fruit absolutely last. Starting kids out by attaching them to sugar, even though it is natural fruit, is a big mistake, in my opinion.

    It matters.

    Teach him to eat whole foods. Teach him to eat mostly veggies. Teach him to cook, not bake. Teach him to moderate. Teach him to not eat a lot of the stuff that is out there are making the population very obese and diabetic.

    Seven of us kayaked a few weeks ago. 13.5 miles. Ages 8, 19, 22, 23, 27, 57, 57. All afternoon. We took peanuts and water for on the water. Dry roasted. Unsalted and salted mixed to reduce the overall salt. But some salt because it was hot.

    I packed a major cooler because I knew they would be starving as soon as we were done. We left it in the car and picnic at end. Carrots, cauliflower, peapods, green beans, broccoli, turkey, peanuts, cheese sticks, cherries, grapes. Water. (One tree nut allergy kid with us or I would have taken raw nuts).

    I used to feed the kids dinner right after school. Because they were starving and would have filled up on snacks.

    I keep very few traditional carb things in the house because they are just too easy to eat in disproportion. Because they are too readily available. So I think you are right to be questioning. And thinking what you want to do long term for everyone.

    1. The waffles I gave Logan were whole wheat, flaxseed, something from the organic section of my store. I can’t remember what the ingredients are because I threw the box away. But I agree that starting them young eating healthy foods is really important. But at the same time, I also don’t want Logan to grow up in a house that is very restrictive because I *know* from experience that leads to food issues.

      When I was growing up my parents were part of the sugar-free/fat-free/flavor-free diet food craze. That was all that was in our house and I grew up being restricted in my foods. So when I went to a friend’s house I went NUTS with sugar, junk food, soda, everything I was NOT allowed to eat, I binged on away from parents. I do not believe that lead to a healthy relationship with food! I still have issues because of that.

      So Michael and I are doing something different with Logan. He eats vegetables and fruit, he loves hummus, he eats scrambled eggs for breakfast. I do give him processed foods (like the waffles or crackers) because honestly some mornings it’s easiest when I have 30 minutes to shower, get him ready, eat breakfast, feed him and get him to daycare before I have to get to work. It’s not the norm, but yeah, sometimes convenience wins out! (This morning he had scrambled eggs and my homemade no sugar added applesauce for breakfast.) My point is, I don’t want Logan to grow up like I did, with severe restriction.

      1. I am saying look at the numbers on things like the waffles the same way you would for yourself. If they are all carbs/very low protein, then add protein to balance it.

        It sounds like your parents set you up to feel like you were on opposite sides of the fence from them on the topic of food – ? They were not on your side teaching you – ? When you rebelled you were actually rebelling against them – ?

        I think that is a key point in parenting, stay on the same side of the fence and teach. If everyone is working together so they have the best life possible and prepare for adulthood and taking care of themselves and a family, everything goes a lot better.

        This is a topic that interests me greatly. Looking back at families with adult knowledge. What could families have done differently so there were no over weight issues .

        1. I think it’s normal to want to try and do things differently when you have your own kids. You look back on your life and the things that made my life harder (like food restrictions leading to binges) make me look at food differently in regards to my son. I don’t want him to have any food issues and I think a big part of that is not making food “bad” but teaching him how to make better choices.

      2. I would agree with this. We never really had junk food in our house growing up…not on a regular basis. We did have boxed and canned stuff (like spaghetti noodles, soups, etc…). So we certainly weren’t super-healthy, but chips, pop, cookies weren’t in the house very often. So what would happen when they would be? The entire family would sit down in one sitting and inhale it all. Zero moderation. When I would go to birthday parties or friends’ houses who had chips and junk regularly, I would want to eat ALL THINGS. It created a really distorted view with that kind of food. I felt that I had to eat it all because who knew who how long it’d be until I had it again. ANd I still carry that mentality with me…even though I’m 37 years old. I think showing Logan that those foods can be part of your life..even somewhat regularly (like crackers, waffles, a cookie, maybe salty snacks etc…) and they can learn portion control and that just because it’s in the house doesn’t mean it needs to be consumed like it’s your last meal ever. I work on my kids seeing food as a means of nutrition, but also enjoyment. This one life. I don’t want them stressing about carbs, fat, protein. If they grow up having a fairly nutritionally balanced lifestyle and still fit in some of the tasty-junky stuff…hopefully they just see food as food. Not good. Not bad. Not better. Not worse. Just food to be healthy and strong. But not to avoid and over-think about (like I have done my whole life).

        1. I love everything you wrote! I can’t agree more. It sounds like we had a similar experience growing up and like you, I STILL have those issues when it comes to junk food. I agree that it’s better to just have moderation, and teach kids the difference between sometimes treats and bingeing on junk food.

  3. Amen Sister – that last bit of weight. So hard to get off and keep off (and I haven’t had a baby). You have done amazing keeping so much of your weight off. Life is really too short to have to restrict food all.the.time.

    Your best weight is whatever weight you reach while you are living the healthiest life you can actually enjoy. (I’m paraphrasing Yani Freedhoff there)
    Lori recently posted..Saratoga Cupcake Ride!

    1. Thank you Lori! It’s nice to hear support and understanding from someone who “gets it” and has been there! Now that I think about it, it was this stage where I struggled last time, too. It took for-ever to lose that last 10-15 pounds when I was losing the weight in my 20’s. It was SO slow. But I kept at it. And I just realized that I met Michael when I was at my current weight, 10 years ago. πŸ˜‰

      I love your second comment. There have been several times where I was way skinnier (143 was the lowest) and I was NOT at my healthiest. That was when I was eating a ton of processed foods, I never lifted weights, all I did was cardio. I would not call that my best self, even though I was size 6 and “skinny.” And in that same vein, when I was going to the Warrior Room all the time, I was about 8 pounds over my goal weight, rarely lost any weight but I was at my strongest and healthiest. I was more toned, I was super strong…It just goes to show how much the number on the scale doesn’t mean everything. And it’s so hard to remember that!

  4. Would you ever consider working with a dietitian? The group at Be Nourished in Portland is amazing and may be a good resource for you.

    1. I’ve talked to Dietitians several times over the years. Unfortunately it was never helpful. They looked at my food diaries and said I was doing “everything right” and their only suggestion was to add brown rice to my dinners. Very disappointing.

  5. You are beautiful by the way! So happy that Logan is healthy and you and your husband are now a family of three. It’s funny, because while your extra time from being single to being married with a child, mine is the complete opposite, I have all the time in the world!

    But I realized I haven’t been utilizing my time to the best of my advantage, and am trying to figure that out. And I am happy to say I haven’t binge eaten in over a month. πŸ˜€

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