Boy has this post been hard to write.
Weight issues are so personal.
I was receiving a lot of emails asking if I had lost weight and so I decided to share this with you.
I know right off that a lot of you are going to say that I didn't need to lose weight.
but I thought I did...and so I did.
I emphasize that this is my story because I am not an expert on dieting, in fact this is the first time I have actually been on a restrictive diet.
Bbut what I did worked for me and maybe it can work for you.
Four years ago, when I turned 50, I was 5'6 and weighed 120 lbs. I was a confirmed vegan and pretty much ate what I pleased and was not bothered by the fact that I had gained a pound or two. Fast forward to six months ago at my most recent check up I measured 5'5 and was now 130 lbs. I was shrinking and growing at the same time. I hated how felt in my jeans. Skirts were hard to button and tight and I was looking to size up again. Despite my vegan diet, my energy level was dropping and the dreaded middle age spread that everyone says is inevitable was upon me. tabitha wrote a very interesting and funny post last month on the way women's waists have gotten larger over the last 60 years. and you know what? It was happening to me. You can read her post here.
I really didn't want the middle age spread and so I took this as a challenge, and you know how I feel about challenges.
The first thing i did was make up my mind to lose 5 lbs. For 3 days straight I wrote down every single thing I ate and figured out just how many calories I was eating in a day. This was a huge eye opener for me. I had no idea that I was consuming so many empty calories. Remember oreos and potato chips are vegan. I had slipped into a pattern of eating when I was anxious, bored, breathing and maybe even sleeping.
Next I educated myself about calories. You have to eat 3500 calories in order to gain 1 lb. So I figured that if I could cut out just 500 calories a day, I could start losing a pound a week and that sounded sensible to me. So I looked at my diet that I had written down and was able to see just what needed to be cut out. I will tell you that the first week was awful. I was starving! I started substituting some low calorie snacks for when I was hungry but that wasn't enough. I couldn't stop thinking about food, I was obsessed with it. I had to get out of my head and get busy to take my mind off eating. I started taking an afternoon walk and would even fabricate errands to run just to keep me busy.
I also wanted to keep my diet in alignment with my values of compassion and health. This little tool, sustainable table, is invaluable for that. All i have to do is enter the area of the country I'm in and bam...a whole list of vegetables and fruits that are in season in my area appear. This made menu planning much easier and it continues to inspire me to want to eat fresh everyday.
Another thing I needed to do was to slow down my eating. By the time meal time came around I was pretty much starving and the urge to wolf down my food was overwhelming. I started by concentrating on each bite and taking a drink of water between bites too. I think this is called mindfulness.
Oh and btw, I cut out all alcohol and switched to sparkling water at dinner. And i made sure that we used our small dinner plates that measure 8" across instead of the newer 11" dinner plates. This way the plates looked super full instead of skimpy, which believe it or not was comforting.
By the 4th week my system was adjusting and my energy was beginning to return. That's when I decided to really get crazy and ramp up my exercise routine that had served me pretty well in the past that was obviously inadequate now. So I threw in an extra mile in my morning walk, bringing that to 3, and added a strenuous 2 mile hike in the afternoon and I just generally became more active. I started becoming aware of just how much I was sitting, so I'd grab a rake and go rake up leaves or sweep down the driveway. I'd do anything to keep moving.
I learned a lot of these tips from my calorie counter. I signed up online and they send me all kinds of great tips and information.
So it's 6 months later and I'm still 5'5 but now I weigh 115 lbs instead of 130 lbs. I never, ever thought I'd weigh this again. It feels great and being lighter makes all the sports I play a lot more fun and a lot easier. We just got back from vacation and I skied 7 days straight. I couldn't even do that in my 20's. My clothes fit better and I feel younger. And with all the extra physical activity, i'm sleeping a lot better too, which is an amazing benefit.
So in a nutshell I...
1. found out exactly how much i was eating
2. figured out how to cut 500 calories a day
3. stepped up my exercise program and activities
4. ate fresh vegan foods
5. slowed down my eating