Three Days, and Three Very Long Nights

In my last blog post I explained how I decided to change my habits, eat less, and become healthier. I was so ‘charged’ and excited to jump with both feet into this new way of life.

hungry

DAY ONE:

I had decided to use the My Fitness Pal app to track calories and weight. I used it as my accountability partner. It is an easy-to-use app and has several features to help someone like me monitor  the numbers. I had no desire to use all those features though; and I didn’t really want to join the community groups etc. I just wanted to start changing my life. I set the app at 1,200 per day.  That is sort of low but I only set it that low to start; I’d planned to up it to 1,500 if I made it through three days of detox.

For some reason I felt I had to go through a kind of detox in order to start. There are several detox plans online but I just decide a LOT of water, some with a bit of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) or lemon slices, and a few green vegetables and boiled eggs for the first three days.  I wanted to detox my mind and body.

Let me tell you, I thought I was experiencing the dying process by the end of the first day. I was so ‘hone-gree‘ (that’s a few stages past hungry and hangry) that inanimate objects in my house started to look tasty and delicious. I couldn’t believe how my body was screaming out in agony for foods I never even ate anyway: cheeseburgers, fries, nachos, fried apple pies.  I was having visions of food dancing through my head, and I was wide-awake.  I made it though, barely I felt.

I was thankful for bedtime because I thought being asleep would take my mind off my stomach.  WRONG! (* said in my best Trump voice).  I don’t think I slept at all!  I was so hungry I couldn’t fall asleep for a long while.  I must have dozed off eventually because around 2am I woke up with hunger pangs like I was being held as a hostage or something. I tried getting up and drinking water but I soon learned that filling the ravenous cavern in my body with fluid only  meant running to the restroom all night. ‘No bueno’.  Morning was welcomed with open arms and a tired body.

DAY TWO:
No lie, it was hard too.  OK, easier than Day One, but still hard. I was hone-gree. I was working at my company’s office location that day, sitting in my cube and thinking about lunch, which was more veggies, water, boiled egg, water, water, water; but when lunch time came that egg tasted like the best piece of grilled salmon, or steak, or hot dog, or whatever, it was just good! … and I actually made it to dinner time (more veggies, water, veggies and water) without too much agony. I even fell asleep right away that night, but sure enough around 2am I sprung awake as hungry as could be. So much so that I couldn’t fall back asleep.  I hated that, but I endured. I had my first realization: ‘I might be a food addict’.   Couldn’t have my fix and it was affecting my life…. just like an addict.

cukes and peppers

 

DAY THREE:
This day posed a new challenge. I was at a friend’s house and she was making breakfast and I had decided I was going to try to eat breakfast a bit later than what was my usual time.  I was still in the fasting/detox mode but she didn’t know it, and was trying to relearn how and when my body wanted to take in meals. I didn’t want to eat because it was morning, noon or evening.  I was trying to learn to ‘listen’ to my body and understand what authentic ‘hunger’ felt like, not just eating for the sake of eating.  I seriously couldn’t tell the difference between hunger and thirst sometimes.  I just ate for every twang that hit my gut.

So this particular morning, I was offered breakfast and declined.  That didn’t go over so well, and my little friend got on me about how not eating isn’t good for me but I didn’t take the time to explain the process I had just started because all of my mental energy was spent at the point. I just needed to focus on getting through the third day. I didn’t tell anyone about this process I’d begun because I felt it would be too much for me to explain, and I didn’t need or want any monitors initially.  In my mind, if I could get though three days of a sort of detox cleanse then I would be good to go!  It sort of helped to slow, then brake, and break the fast-moving train that was moving in the wrong direction.

I made it through Day Three!  … and lived to tell about it.  I was so happy! I knew I could do this now.  I still woke up that night though…. very hungry. Matter of fact, for the next two weeks, I woke up every night around 2am from hunger. Crazy huh?  Then gradually over the following days after that, it subsided, then stopped.  I never wake up in the night hungry now.

Weight? … Wait!
I once read somewhere about people who had lost significant amounts of weight and their challenge in keeping it off.  One of these people was a physician who has lost lots of weight too.  The one thing they all had in common was that they weighed themselves daily, even after years of keeping the weight off.  I thought once you had the weight off, the challenge would be more the food not the scales.

body scales (2)

I decided to weigh myself daily too.  Now, I see how it is beneficial.  When I was on my way up the scales, I played a lot of ‘weight mind-games’.  I made a lot of assumptions about how much I weigh, based on clothes that had stretched out, etc. Mind games … that’s why I said in the first blog that it’s really a change in your mind/thinking.

If you weigh daily, there is no lying to yourself. The numbers are right there.  For me, it really wasn’t about what the numbers said, it was more about my learning how the numbers on the scales and my emotions/attitude about myself and even life were intimately intertwined… a definite revelation right there.

In my next blog I will talk about the dance with the scales, the mind games I played with myself and I’ll start to share  some of the foods I started to incorporate into my days.

Thanks for reading!  Hope you come back!

Why, Oh Why, Can’t I Eat That?

Lots of people have asked, so here I am answering how I started losing weight.

On July 6, 2016, I was sitting around munching on some goody or another, just pacifying myself with some deliciousness, and watching a video about the current state of Venezuela that popped up on YouTube; people starving, eating their pets, standing in long line all day long just to end up with nothing to eat. Honestly, I felt a bit gluttonous watching the video.

At the same time, I started to think, ‘what if I was the one who couldn’t get food to eat?’  What if things were like that here in the United States?  People in the States like food, lots of it, all kinds of it, we like it all the time, we have food shrines everywhere.  Yes, we have people who have less access than others for sure, but we are by no means in a 3rd world situation with people by the droves who are starving. We have been, indeed, a blessed nation overall.  So blessed that the obesity rate is extremely high… and I’ve always been obese according to those little charts doctors use (… we all know those charts are wrong though).

Anyway, after a few pensive moments I wondered how much food do I really need; how much could I survive on and maintain good health?  I figured if a Venezuela situation happened in the States, there will be a lot of anger and rioting going on simply because people will be HUNGRY!  Imaging going from a daily diet of 3000+ calories of processed, chemically-laden, fast foods, mixed in periodically with an occasional vegetable cooked in butter or fat back, then suddenly (or even gradually) having to live on about 1000 – 1500 calories (or less, God forbid).  People are going to be MAD!!! I’m talking food fight kind of mad…. without the food. It certainly won’t be a pretty scene.

My curiosity took over and almost instantly I decided to retrain myself to eat less.  I had no real weight goals.  At the time I was not on any medications for anything so that wasn’t a real motivation.  I just wanted to find out the minimum number of  calories I needed to live and be healthy. ‘Healthy’ by my standard was hair and nails staying healthy, not feeling tired all the time, and mostly not feeling hungry all the time, because hunger was always a deal-breaker. Like I said, I didn’t have any high blood pressure or diabetes issues so that wasn’t a goal.

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Initially, I thought about all the ways I could accomplish this: Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Boiled Egg Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Cheez-it Diet ( I did that in college once, yep, Cheezits and grapes – lost a lot of weight… lol) … I even thought about accomplishing this with some sort of surgical procedure.  Surgery was not an option however because although I was overweight (or obese according to some uninformed medical people) I was not overweight enough to have Bypass or stomach bands. I was too cheap to spend money on Weight Watchers (and didn’t want to fit group meetings into my schedule), and somehow having little processed boxes of food delivered to my house seemed to be the opposite of my new goal of healthy eating.

So, I had to stick with one of the old-fashion weight loss methods:  eating less and moving more.

Honestly, the change started in my mind.  I wanted to be healthy, and able to sustain myself on a normal amount of calories, which after some Googling, I learned should be around 1500 calories per day.  I also learned that 1500 calories would mean cutting my calories to more than half what it was.  Dang!  I was munching back to ton more than I realized. I had to do it though.

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What I didn’t do was toss all the food in my pantry, or go out and buy diet food.  To this day I still NEVER eat low-fat or substitute sugars.  I decided to eat real foods… i.e. real sugar, real butter, real milk, just less of it.  My 1,500 calories today had to be a good mix of fresh veggies, fruit, good grains, and a tad of any of the sugary things I liked (still got a  Sweet Tart stash).  I wasn’t about deprivation and denial, just using good sense in making choices and deciding to used my calories wisely.  I always think of calories like money.  I am a decent money manager (OK, some would say frugal) so to me calories became money.  I have 1,500 per day, use them wisely or you’ll have to wait til the next day to get your bank filled again.  That worked for me … I’m a good ‘saver’, so I started saving calories and using them when I really wanted or needed them.

Now, all of what I just wrote about was way easier said than done.

In my next blog I will tell you about the drama and trauma of the first couple of weeks of doing this…. food really is a drug people.