Ok, peeps, the word on the street is that Moi is weight challenged and not in a good way. I need to take 75 pounds of me and put it someplace else. "Just stop eating" they say. "Move around more" they chide. Not. That. Easy.
I have been on a diet since I was about 14 years old. Ever since my Bobbi Brooks skirts went from an 8 to a 10. I was officially fat at that point and not fond of the concept. Plus, I had long hair and split ends. I was a hot mess.
Solution? The hair got cut into a cute little "bubble" style which I wish would come back INTO style because it really worked for me. Now it is considered an "old lady's" haircut. Blah. I digress. I bought a small little calorie counter at the grocery store and set about making things better. I was crazy. I wasn't fat. At 20 I weighed 129 pounds. I wasn't fat. But my brain was -- Hahah! Crazy body image disorder.
Fast forward through life, two kids, great stress, personal loss, illness, medications, etc. and here I am needing to do something with this 75 pounds. In my mind I can see this cute little blob of fat, on a skateboard, chained to me and I have to drag it everywhere I go. It has eyes and a sneaky little grin. It follows me everywhere, especially the fitting room. It is so annoying.
I am a champion calorie counter. I don't even have to measure anymore, I can eyeball a half cup of anything. I am not great at math but 3500 calories = 1 pound is ingrained in my brain. Calories in/calories out was my mantra FOREVER.
For whatever reason, it isn't working right now.
I read a book called "The Obesity Epidemic" by Zoe Harcombe. Well, I tried to read it, very technical and statistic laden, but the gist of it is that the calories in/calories out concept doesn't work. Not all calories are the same. 3500 calories out does not necessarily mean one pound lost. She talked about a low carb eating plan.
I am a carboholic. I never met a cookie I didn't like. I broke my cookie addiction a few months ago and didn't understand why I didn't just melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West. Hmmm......could it be because I just replaced the cookies with things like crackers and pretzels? I wonder. Sometimes I am so dense.
So, because I can't do anything in moderation, I decided to go very low carb -- as is no carb. The first day I ate no carbohydrate. Felt great. Second day, not feeling so great but did virtually the same. I had lost three pounds (all water, I am sure, who am I kidding!) Day three I woke up and thought surely I was bound for glory. I was shaking like I had the DT's. I could barely hold my head up. I was close to tears. I had Carbo Flu.
I have enough health "issues" that I don't need to complicate my life with that. So, after I ate some cereal and sugar laden yogurt I headed off to church to pray my way out of it. During coffee hour I had a conversation about it with a friend of mine who is pretty nutrition savvy because of her own health issues. As we talked a lightbulb started to slowly flicker. Calories aren't equal. You can't live without carbohydrate. Balance. All words bouncing around in my head.
My friend suggested two things -- a look at the American Medical Associations suggestions on macronutrients in our diet and to look back at the dietary requirements when we were children in the 1950's and follow that. I did both. Note: I won't be going back to jello salads of my youth, however.
The AMA has a list of how what percentage of each macronutrient is considered acceptable and balanced -- carbs (45-65), protein (10-35) and fat (29-35). I decided that instead of counting calories I would keep track of my macronutrients and keep it within their guidelines. I think I have figured out that 150 calories of cookies is not going to be the same as 150 calories of brocolli or 150 calories of steak. It just isn't. There is this thing called food value or nutrition going on and that is more important than calories.
I know I sound incredibly stupid but blame it on my generation. Growing up the idea was to eat less and move more if you want to lose weight. It is called The General Principal. You have to cut down 3500 calories to lose one pound. If you cut 500 calories a day at the end of the week you will be one pound lighter. There are a couple of reasons why it might not work -- if you cut down on food you also cut down on energy which makes moving around a little less probable and again, calories aren't equal. You can cut out 3500 calories in cookies or you can cut out that much in real, whole food and depending on which you choose, you possibly could be cutting out necessary nutrients leaving you with just the fast sugar rush of the cookies and the eventual sugar crash which is oh so amusing.
So, I fired up MyFitnessPal on my phone and started logging in my food paying attention to the percentage of macronutrients and keeping it within the AMA suggested amounts. I am pleased to tell you that it hasn't been difficult at all to do this, makes more sense to me actually and I haven't gained back the initial 3 pound loss but have gone on to lose 1.5 pounds more. And I haven't been shaky or feel like my blood sugar has tanked. All of this since last Friday. And a side note, my step count has doubled. Does that mean I have more energy or just more laundry requiring me to walk back and forth to the washer? It is something to think about.
So, have I finally discovered the Holy Grail of weight loss for me? Have I finally come upon an eating plan that will let me lose weight and keep it off. Have I figured out a way to eat that is healthy that I can actually stay on? I don't know. I will let you know. But, for now, I am celebrating my 4.5 weight loss like I have won the lottery!