Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Gaining 60 Pounds in 10 Years and Losing it in 7 Months

First off, don't worry. This blog is not becoming health and fitness focused. This is just one post about some changes in my life.

Let's go back 8 months ago before I started my diet. I was very overweight. I was a proven stress-eater and had multiple reasons to do such eating several times a year. There were times that I tried adding exercise into my routine as a way to help reduce my increasing waistline. Those exercise routines never lasted long. My medically complex daughter would end up getting sick, and I couldn't keep up with my healthy habits. When sickness occurs, I can barely take care of her and get the basic needs of the household completed. Exercise is on the back burner.

For years, I have worked through one health scare or diagnosis to another with only weeks or a few months between issues. Sometimes, I barely had time to catch my breath or really process what has happened before the next health issue arose. I've used caffeine to help me stay awake after doing round-the-clock medications. I used delicious food to give me something pleasant when my world was upsetting. I ordered take-out food when I didn't feel like cooking. I'm sure this may seem like a list of excuses, and they are, I suppose. However, I hope you can understand how I fell into poor patterns and had difficulty changing them.

In August 2018, I decided to start Keto. I am not a dietitian or Keto expert by any means. There are plenty of websites that can explain Keto much better than I, so check this out for more information. Basically, you teach your body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates by eating a low amount of carbs and increasing healthier fats such as butter or coconut oil. That means no bread, potatoes, rice, and sugar.

On Keto, I have tracked the fats, proteins, and carbs eaten daily using the Keto.app-Keto Diet Tracker on my phone. By scanning the bar code of a food or typing the food in manually, the app tracks everything. The app also helped me decide how much I should be eating based upon my height, weight, gender, and physical activity. When I started the diet, I tried to eat around 100 grams of protein and less than 25 net carbs a day. I never worried too much about my fat because I rarely used all my allowed fat grams in a day. As I have lost weight, my limits have been reduced. What I love about the app is that I can create a meal within it. I simply title the meal, scan the ingredients in as I make it, type in the number of servings, and the app gives me the macros for the meal. I would have been lost without this app! Here's a screenshot of the app before I have added food in for the day.

At first, the diet was extremely challenging. I discovered just how many foods had carbs in them. I could easily run out of carbs before my evening meal. Over time, I figured out what foods to eat and how to pace my carbs better.

I typically eat one egg and sausage or bacon for breakfast. For lunch, I eat almonds or macadamia nuts, an Atkins bar, and 2 ounces of low carb lunch meat. My lunches are usually eaten on the road while I am driving, so they are pretty boring. The evening meal is what I look forward to having. The main dish can be anything from a burger (no bread) or a pork chop to a special recipe I have gotten online such as chicken parmesan, pizza rolls, crack chicken, or keto lasagna (no noodles). Side dishes are usually green beans, broccoli, or zucchini, but I sometimes have a small amount of corn or peas. My favorite snacks have been Atkins bars, nuts, cheese, a few grapes, or a Keto dessert I have made.

Drinking water was hard for me. I hate plain water! I discovered Poweraid Zero, which I needed early on as I had the dreaded Keto flu and muscle cramps. I also found some low calorie, no carb crystal light packets which were quite tasty. During a hospital stay, I developed a taste for Pepsi zero and Coke zero. Prior to Keto, I was a soda and sweet tea addict, so these are healthier options.

I started this diet in August. I am a little embarrassed to tell you my weight and pant size before starting Keto. The picture above was taken a couple of months before I started the diet, so I'll let that give you an idea of the pre-Keto Evana. The one below is my current status.

By March, just 7 months into the diet, I met my goal weight. I lost 60 pounds. I cut my pant size in half. I reached a weight I had not been in 10 years. I did it with diet only. I have not exercised a day unless walking around Wal-Mart counts. I may decide to lose a few more pounds later, but I'm currently trying to maintain this weight. I thought it would take a couple of years to lose the weight, but I did it in 7 months! I am presently doing strict Keto during the week and having a few more carbs on the weekend.

Besides losing weight, I have had to re-train my mind during stressful events. Within the first month of the diet, my daughter got sick. While tending to her respiratory needs one day at home, I found myself craving Mexican food while stressed. I almost picked up the phone to place an order and have a complete cheat day. However, I recognized my brain was programmed to want food when stressed. I resisted. I had the same urges during Jaycee's 4 hospital admissions since starting this diet. To be honest, I did have a small food indulgence during some of the hospital admissions, but I stopped at a small indulgence and did not go full grease, fried, or sugar crazy. It's been challenging, and life hasn't always cooperated to make this super easy. 

I read a recent post by a fellow blogger Melanie Gomez called The Lie of Perfect Timing which discusses the myth of waiting to do something until the timing is perfect. It's true. There's never a perfect time to do major life changes, especially when you have a child with complex medical needs. I'm thankful I've found something that works and hope to keep this momentum going.  

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