The last few months have been a bit of a blur. Emilia Kay Stoa was born on November 19th. Life is full as a family of 5. Tonight is a clear example as our 2 year old, Mae, continues to climb out of her crib for the first time. There has been some stress around here the last few months. In the past, I found butterfingers, laffy taffy, fiber bars, brownies and pop when the stress hit. Before I knew it, 10-15 lbs followed those rounds of stress. The last few months have been fabulous yet more stressful than I ever imagined, yet I weigh the same now as when Emilia was born 4 months ago. This time is different.
Backtrack with me almost 3 years ago to the birth of that energetic 2 year old Mae. She was born June 8th right after school ended. It was stressful because I had to be ready to end school if she came early, but then she didn’t so I finished out the school year. In the process, I ballooned to the heaviest I’ve been; 267lbs. Fast forward to the following Spring, 2015. My relationship with food wasn’t a relationship. I was controlled by fiber bars, afternoon sugar and soda withdrawal.
In the Spring, I started doing a wellness check through a wellness program at work. In 2015 as a 32 year old my numbers started to change. Blood Pressure: 120/86. Not an awful number, but it was moving up. LDL cholesterol: 97. Again, not an awful number, but it was moving up. HDL cholesterol: 40. I wasn’t concerned, although another number on the edge should have moved me to change. Triglycerides: 206. Wait, 206? At that point I didn’t really know what that meant.
In January of 2016, I was physically uncomfortable. I didn’t sleep well. I was always sore when I attempted stretches of working out. I kept thinking I would eat better if I could sleep more. The reality is I was wrong. My problem was that I had given the reins of my body over to food with which I had no relationship. There were days I had eaten a fiber one bar and brownie as a snack before 9 am. Most days I didn’t even really know what I was eating.
But I couldn’t do the 2 month yo-yo starve myself and workout routine again. Therefore, I made a really important decision that I didn’t realize was so important at the time. I made a New Year’s resolution to track what I eat for at least 3 months without an attempt at making change. I simply wanted to learn about what was going into my body. It was hard the 1st week or 2, but once I got over the initial fear of what I’d find, I couldn’t stop learning more. The data was horrendous.
I was eating 3,800 to 4,500 calories on the average day. I rarely consumed less than 200g of sugar a day. Many days I went over 400g of carbs. Some days, I consumed 2,000 calories in snacks. A whole extra day of food consumed in snacks. Then my blood work numbers started to move last Spring. Blood Pressure: 119/76. LDL cholesterol: 106. HDL cholesterol: 33. Triglycerides: 220. The Triglycerides number made me curious. What does that number mean? Even though I wasn’t sure, paired with my own food consumption data, my fear and disappointment with my relationship with food started to turn into a little bit of anger.
But I still didn’t know what to do next. We signed our 5 year old, Mara, up for a park and rec soccer program that encouraged parents to participate with players. After that 1st session of running around with Mara, my feet hurt, I was sore and it really hit me that I needed to learn how to change something. I ran across the Wild Diet by Abel James. The major concepts of his work resonated with me and in mid June I made a few dietary changes. I lost 10 lbs over the summer, but I felt a lot better. My feet were not as sore. At the end of the summer, about 2 months after I made a few changes, I went to the doctor to see where my numbers were. LDL cholesterol: 103. HDL cholesterol: 44. Triglycerides: 114. No, that’s not a typo: 114. In 2 months I almost cut that number in half!
Fast forward to the Spring and I’ve been floating between 244-246lbs, even after the added stress of a larger family. My recent wellness check numbers continue to show improvement. Blood Pressure: 117/79. LDL cholesterol: 102. HDL cholesterol: 39. Triglycerides: 100. I’ve hit a point where I need to refine the diet, but now most days I consume 2,400-2,600 calories and I rarely go over 2,800. When I do eat more in a day, I eat foods that I choose to eat. The changes below have changed my relationship with food. Next, I hope to review why those changes have worked for me and what I can do next to continue weight loss.
- I exchanged a squirt of chocolate sauce and milk in my morning coffee with a TB of heavy cream. Many days, I only have coffee and heavy cream before lunch.
- Removed Carbs from breakfast and morning snacks. When I eat breakfast I stick to protein or whole grains. Instead of fiber one bars before lunch I snack on a handful of nuts.
- Lunch is green based. I refrain from carbs and try to keep them plant based at this point.
- I keep dark chocolate bars around for afternoon snacks. Even on days I eat more than I want, I consume less than 1,000 calories before I get home. Last year many days I was at 2,500+ by the time I went home.
- I feast at dinner time. I don’t worry about carbs. I eat and enjoy it. Many days I find myself skipping snacks as I look forward to feasting at dinner.
- I’ve stopped drinking alcohol during the week. This one might have more to do with 3 children in the house, but for some reason that 1 drink a night to wind down just stopped happening.
- I’ve exchanged all vegetable oils, cooking sprays, canola oil and even butter with coconut oil and bacon. Yes that is right, I’ve consumed more bacon since last June than ever before. You might have noticed that my LDL cholesterol hasn’t gone done as fast as my Triglycerides. Bacon is probably an area I need to refine, but I needed the bacon to help get me here so I have no regrets.
- I’ve stopped trying to work out longer and have focused on intensity in workouts and incorporating more walking and movement into my day.
- I stopped lifting weights to isolate muscles and now only focus on exercises that engage my core in some way.
Thanks for checking in on my journey. Next up I will look at each of the changes above in search of places to refine my diet to take the next step with weight loss.