Ch-ch-ch-ch-changing

I have been a terrible blogger. I can’t make excuses, except…Life, with a capital L. I love writing and I love the blogging community, yet I feel it slipping away from me. There is nothing to do about it but sit myself down and start writing.

So. I have been on a journey since December. I’ve been on a spiritual journey for much longer, of course, but this is something new for me and it’s time to come clean and tell the world what’s happening to me. I need the accountability, for starters, and my friends can only listen to my rambling for so long before their eyes start to glaze over. This is a subject that is a frequent topic of conversation all over social media and everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to go about it.

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Yes, people, we are going to talk about weight loss. Now, don’t get worried – I’m not a “coach” of any kind and I’m not going to try to sell you a program or a system, or powdered drink mix. I just need to talk about what’s going on with me without making my poor husband want to plug his ears.

Back in December I saw my doctor for my semi-annual checkup. I am a Type 2 diabetic and although my medication keeps my blood sugar in check, I tend to eat like I don’t even know what diabetes is. I do this despite the fact that my paternal grandmother lost toes and legs to this dreadful disease. In December the doctor ran my A1C, which if you are a diabetic, is a measure of your averqage blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. They usually like it to be under 7. Mine was 8.1. I have never, ever had an A1C that high in my life. Granted, it was right after Christmas, so I may have had more than my share of sugary treats (that I shouldn’t be eating anyway) which might have affected it. But still, I was shook.  It turns out that I am fairly fond of my toes, feet, and legs, and I do not want to part ways with them. It became crystal clear to me that I needed to change something.

Now, I am going to get public about something that most ladies don’t discuss. My weight has hovered around the 195-205 range for most of my adult life, with a few notable exceptions. I have dieted off and on for much of my life, including a dehydration diet in my teens that promised to pare off 10 pounds in 10 days. It worked, but then again, limiting your fluid intake drastically and keeping to 500 calories a day tends to drain off a lot of water weight. As soon as you start eating and drinking normally again it all comes back. I used to wrap myself in plastic wrap in hopes of sweating off some weight. Nope. I was a size 16-18 all through high school, I hated physical activity of any kind because I wasn’t coordinated and my weight made it difficult, and I loved (still do) sweets and carbs, like any good Southern girl.

I took various weight loss “aids” over the years, most of which you can’t buy over the counter any more, and for good reason. I used to buy Ayds – remember those? They were chocolate candies that were supposed to decrease your appetite. Of course, eating the whole box at once defeats the purpose. I tried laxatives (ew) but never for long. And I hated puking so I wasn’t going down that particular eating disorder path.

One of those notable exceptions that I mentioned was the time I took Phen/Fen. If you are a particular age, you may remember that phenomenon. It was the late 1990’s and people discovered that if you took these two medications together, it caused rapid weight loss.  Why? Because you had ZERO appetite, that’s why. Most medical professionals and some state governments did not look kindly on Phen/Fen but the clinics popped up like dandelions anyway. I had to travel across state lines to have my monthly checkups and get my meds. This one worked, but I felt like a zombie. Some nights I would only have a glass of milk for dinner because I was not the least bit hungry. Eventually it was discovered that Phen/Fen caused heart issues and the fad went away, just like my weight loss did once I began eating normally again.

For awhile I just accepted that this must be my body’s “happy weight” and maybe I’m meant to be this size. I gave away all my “small” clothing and started using real butter because, hey, life’s too short for fake butter, right? I ate what I wanted and counted on the Metformin to keep my diabetes at bay, never mind that I was on the maximum dosage. After all, I couldn’t see myself as one of those people who constantly watched their weight, ate salads without dressing, and used artificial sweeteners. And honestly, I hate depriving myself of anything. I’m a little spoiled, I admit, and maybe even childish that way.

But 8.1. Yikes.

Girl, do you want to live it up, or do you genuinely want to live?

So right afterward I was scrolling through the Book of Face and kept seeing ads for an app called Noom. (I am not compensated by Noom for this in any way, by the way. Just a believer.) The ads touted their psychology angle, which was new for me. It wasn’t free, but you could try it free for two weeks. So I signed up, fully intending to drop it after two weeks.

Except I didn’t, because it was working. Still is. This morning I weighed in at the lowest weight I have seen since my Phen/Fen days.

So I’m not going to bore you with long explanations of how/why it works except to say that no food is off limits, they send you articles and tasks every day, and the psychology was the key for me. My tastes are actually changing! I know, I know – I used to roll my eyes at people who said they’d rather have an apple than a cupcake but it’s true. (I’m sorry to all those people at whom I rolled my eyes) My husband has noticed and so have my kids.

I have goals, people. I want to get off or reduce some of my medications, which right now include Metformin, blood pressure meds, and a cholesterol med. I want to be able to climb the stairs at my office without panting for breath. And I want to be able to do the ropes course at the Adventure Park in Virginia Beach. That’s right – I said it. My goal weight is not that low (150) but I will reassess when I get there. Meanwhile I feel better, I have more energy, and I’m having a clothing crisis because nothing fits but I don’t want to buy new stuff until I’m finished losing. To be honest, I sort of resent how good I feel. Why couldn’t I feel this good when I was eating cornbread dripping with real butter? (yum, cornbread!) I’m learning which foods are my friends and which are not, and I’ve discovered that Greek yogurt is delicious and filling. Who am I?? What is happening to me?? I’m learning new things about myself and my relationship to food every single day.

The main thing I have found is that whatever I do to lose weight MUST be something I can live with for the rest of my life. As soon as I feel deprived, I have a tendency to quit, but so far I haven’t felt deprived. Any time I have been on a “diet” I knew it was short term, until I could lose the weight, then I could go back to “real” life. Well, this IS real life, and I can do this for the rest of mine.

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