Yesterday I was watching the video we play in the waiting room at my work (I haven’t told you all, I got a part time job at a chiropractors office!) and I heard the narrator say that breast cancer could be greatly prevented by something as simple as losing weight. I laughed, immediately thinking “Oh yeah! Because losing weight is soooo simple!”
Has this guy ever lost weight? Have you? I have. Twice. I’d be happy to tell you how simple it was!
The first time I lost sixty pounds. It was super easy! First, I put myself on a
starvation, eh hem, I mean severely reduced calorie diet for three years. In order to maintain this severely reduced calorie diet without gnawing off a limb I smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day, sometimes almost two packs a day during my deployment. I also took a lot of over the counter diet pills (some of which have since been removed from the market for things like causing brain damage, heart attacks, and death). Not only did I subsist on the absolute minimum calories a person can take in and still hope (though it’s not likely they actually will succeed) to get adequate nutrition, but I also did at least one hour of cardio five days a week, and one hour of weights three days a week, and yoga and pilates either in a class or in videos at home one to three times a week, and other work out videos a few days a week, and in my free time I went hiking. For two years I did all of this and then I was having a really hard time maintaining it all and still had about 30 lbs I wanted to lose (I had lost 40 so far), so I got the help of a prescription amphetamine, phentermine. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s one of the phens in fen-phen. Then I lost twenty more pounds, bringing me to a grand total of sixty pounds lost, and at the very highest end of what’s considered to be a healthy BMI.
Shortly there after I got pregnant and had to quit smoking and taking pills, and stop starving myself. As you can imagine, the hunger was overwhelming, but I tried really hard to keep it in the 2000 calorie a day range or lower. It was probably pretty erratic. I remember logging all my calories every day (because that’s what I did, I obsessively measured and logged EVERYTHING that went in my mouth), and some days I’d take in under a thousand (those were days that caused me to be sick the next day, so I soon learned if I wanted to avoid nausea and fainting I needed to eat regularly). I gained 80 pounds, ending up after I had Elijah twenty pounds heavier than I was before I began my super simple weight loss journey.
So I had to begin a new weight loss journey. It was super easy too! Let me tell you about it!
First, I went on a diet specifically meant for breastfeeding moms (Weight Watchers for nursing moms). My milk supply dropped radically, and I suffered from what I now know was some pretty severe post partum depression. Two years of post partum depression. Just to clarify, I know that this was separate from my lack of satisfaction with my job and my life. This was an entirely different kind of sadness that exacerbated those issues, but were not caused by it. I couldn’t see the difference then, but now that I’ve had Freja and have seen how different it can be after having a baby, I know what I went through with Elijah was not normal. Anyway, I started looking for alternative diets that wouldn’t impact my milk supply so much, and I tried I don’t even know how many. High protein, high fat, low fat, low carb. All of them claimed to be the healthy and not miserable way to lose weight. I did the South Beach Diet, the Flat Belly Diet, the Eat Fat, Lose Fat Diet, Nourishing Traditions, veganism, juicing and green smoothies, the list goes on and on. Nothing worked. I also started training for a marathon in that time period, so I was doing a lot of running. Weight loss was really unimpressive. I was also seeing a personal trainer twice a week in the months leading up to the marathon. By the time I ran the marathon (just a month before Elijah’s third birthday), I was still just barely in the obese range according to my BMI. For almost three years I had been dieting the healthy way with no cigarettes and diet pills (but, oh, did I long for them, they made dieting so much more successful and less miserable because you didn’t feel as hungry ALL THE TIME). Because I was now a mother, I no longer had time for the 3-4 hours of exercising a day I used to do, but I still got a lot in, a lot more than the average American, that’s for sure. I can’t tell you how
frustrating eh hem, I mean simple it was to do this for three years and see only about 15 pounds of weight loss. I can’t tell you what it feels like to be working so hard for so long and still have it shoved down your throat that being overweight or obese is simply a self control issue. Clearly I was still fat because of a lack of will power, duh. But then my weight loss miracle came a few months after I ran the marathon! I was placed on prescription amphetamines for a totally unrelated health concern! Yay! I lost twenty five more pounds just in time for my wedding, for a grand total of 40 pounds of weight loss in almost four years of dieting and exercise. I was still 20 pounds heavier than I was right before I got pregnant with Elijah, and solidly in the overweight range according to my BMI, but I finally lost a significant chunk of the weight I gained with Elijah.
Then I got pregnant with Freja, went off the amphetamines, and gained 50 pounds. Despite the fact that I stayed very active in that pregnancy (I was biking regularly up through 41 weeks pregnancy, and did yoga regularly through most of it, and did tons of walking, and swimming, and even went hiking once around seven months), I still gained back everything I had just lost. Plus ten pounds.
I’d love to tell you the story of the super simple way my mom lost 100 pounds, but I’m not sure it’s my place. Let me just say, though, that it’s like, 100 times simpler than both of my stories combined, and like, 100 times healthier and safer in all of it’s places. Totally.
In fact, everyone I’ve ever known who’s tried to lose weight has found it to be totally simple. Never does it ever require YEARS of drastic dietary changes that make you miserable and alienate you from society. Never does it require exercise habits that border on meeting the definition of bulimia. Never does it require extreme and risky intervention like prescription meth and surgery. Nah. Losing weight is super simple! And the best possible thing you can do for your health! The proof is in the pudding.
Guess my baby stats!
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