Today, I weighed in at 160.7 lbs. This is 5.7 lbs. above my goal line, which does not make me happy. However, it doesn't really upset me that much either. Why? Because I KNEW it was coming. I willingly let go of the reigns and allowed myself to be Golden Corraled Sunday. I willingly enjoyed homemade cookies and various other evils at a family barbecue last week. I willingly ate Taco Bell and KFC on Saturday. I did not go into these caloric adventures blindly; I KNEW they would result in some gains, so I'm okay with it. In fact, I'm almost pleasantly surprised (and feeling very lucky and blessed) that this is really only a 1.2-lb. gain since my weigh-in last week. I am back on the wagon now, back to my 1,200-calorie neighborhood, though I did venture off a bit yesterday, and I KNOW I will get back down to my goal soon. That knowing is exactly why I know that this time, the weight will not become part of my life again. Somehow, someway, along the way, I've developed a positive, can-do sort of attitude I never had before. I used to have such a giving-up sort of fattitude, but that has changed, and I'm okay with occasional bounces above goal because I KNOW I CAN get back down to where I need to be with a little focused dedication and the tools and knowledge I've gleaned. I say this to those who are still losing, as well as to those who are navigating the tricky waters of maintenance. Because you KNOW, you CAN, and because you CAN, you WILL, and because you know you can and will, you can always try again! I have found great freedom in this, and for the first time in my life, my "diet" feels more like a "live-it." I have to thank God and all my encouragers for that, because it is something that must start in the head, heart, and spirit long before it shows up on the waist, thighs, and cankles!
My brilliant kiddo said something to me yesterday when I was brainstorming to her about how I am going to go about writing this layman's weight-loss guide I've been threatening to write for over a year. (Yes, long before I started blogging regularly on Spark, it was already a book-in-process, and these blogs are, in many ways, a practice run and a culmination of some of the notes I've scribbled on everything from Subway napkins to Rice-a-Roni boxes to church bulletins.) Cissy said to me, "Mom, you have a lot of people who comment on your Spark wall and stuff, and you said some ask you questions. Why don't you use your blog to answer some?" Out of the mouths of babes, right?
So, here you go. Every Wednesday, with some exceptions, as mandated by life in general, I will post a few Q and A's here, pending that anyone sends me any Q's. I am by no means an expert. I am NOT that doctor on MY 600-LB LIFE. I am NOT Jillian Michaels. I am NOT Slim Goodbody. I am NOT my high school health teacher. I'm NOT Gordon Ramsay. I know very little about anatomy, biology, gourmet cooking, exercising, nutrition specifics, medicine, metabolism, and all that scientific and kitchen jargon people use. I am just a normal woman with a boring job and tons of typical everyday stress, a single mama of one human and three fur babies, living in Ohio and entertaining myself with reality shows and looking for tiny pieces of paper hidden in prescription bottles under light posts. But I am also someone who has lost 174 lbs. in that normal realm of life, and I've learned a few things along the weigh-ins. I am happy to share what I've learned and to answer questions based on my opinions and experiences, but, as the legalese disclaimers always say, DO NOT TAKE THIS AS MEDICAL ADVICE. What works for the goose does not always work for the gander, so bear that in mind as you take a gander at my Q and A's!
(TEMPLE15): Hi AutieJ, just wondering if you had any health issues during your weight loss journey.
(AUTIEJ): I really had no issues during my weight-loss journey, with the exception of frozen shoulder that set in sometime around the 18th month. I don't believe this was at all related to my diet, as arthritic and similar problems run in my family, and I have my arm all cramped up at my laptop many hours a day and I'm in my forties now. I did have a few temporary bouts of unpleasant bathroom issues, but usually only when I overate. I also had a bit off dizziness sometimes when I skipped any meals and still had dates with my boyfriend. Do NOT skimp out on your calorie allowances, especially if you're going to be having trysts with Coffee.
(AMORALES60): I'm eating at night the hunger is real strong. I eat well during the day. I even have veggies and fruits at night but the hunger is super strong, please help me. Maybe it's hormones?
(AUTIEJ): I am convinced that our hor-rible-mones can be blamed for many things, and this does not only apply to women. There are stress hormones as well. When the adrenals are taxed with stress, we want to eat, and that sort of eating can lead to belly fat. This has something to do with cortisol levels, but I'm no Bill Nye and can't really explain it. If you are actually feeling hungry at night, you are likely not eating enough during the day, or you are eating dinner too early. I realize most diet gurus say not to eat after 6 p.m., but we purposely eat dinner between 6:30 and 7 p.m., as this tends to help prevent evening snacking. We also take the alternative route and make our dinner our highest-calorie meal, at 400 calories (as opposed to our 300 breakfast or lunch). If you know you cannot resist evening snacking, leave a small window of calories for it. I personally try to leave between 60 and 100 calories free at night, and I purposely fill it in with something like air-popped corn, a Happy Farms cheese wedge and a few pretzels, celery with cream cheese, or a 90-calorie pack of Carl Buddig. I have been known to go to bed early when cravings are too strong, and I also try to drink a glass of water or a cup of Sleepytime tea before bed, which tends to help me feel full enough to doze off.
(GSMKYKA): Autumn, are there any suggestions thou have for when thou feel that physical almost painful feeling on some days when you want to just easy junk food and sugar?
(AUTIEJ): I am no stranger to cravings, especially because I love salty things like fast food, chips, cheese, pretzels...well, you get the point. Sometimes, the cravings get so strong that I almost feel like I want to cry because I have to deny myself. What I try to do is stock my snack cupboard with "acceptable" things. This means things that are 100 calories or less, so that if I do eat them, they aren't all that bad. Of course this requires restraint not to eat the whole box or bag, but knowing that I can have "just a little" is a whole lot easier than telling my battling, stubborn head that I can never, ever have that thing again. Compromise is important, but it is a learning process to develop restraint, and the more times you successfully get past those catastrophic cravings, the stronger you will get in fighting them. A helpful hint is to Google "100 calorie snacks," because there are many lists of them.
And there you have it, folks! If you'd like to send me questions, you can do so via Spark messaging, blog comments, page comments or directly at autiej at gmail dot com and I will do my best to answer them unless they are repeats of other questions.