So, it’s time to give an update on my recent lifestyle change…and I realized today that I never really gave the story behind it. So, here goes (you might want to grab a beverage of your choice for this — it’s a bit long).
I’ve been obese (not just the bogus BMI definition, but my own “I-feel-crappy-and-way-too-large” definition) for most of my adult life. Years ago, a similarly generously-proportioned friend and I would joke about our growing waistlines (“Don’t get between us fat chicks and the buffet!”).
It stopped being a joke when I started getting shaky between meals.
It got even less funny when I stopped being able to walk up a flight of stairs without huffing like a steam engine.
I tried Weight Watchers a couple of times, but never stuck to their plan. Sorry, but counting points is no less confusing or frustrating than counting calories. Of course, I blamed myself and my lack of willpower/laziness for falling off the wagon. I never blamed the fact that I just felt crappier on that diet — because that’s how you’re supposed to feel on diets, right? Right??
I did some farm work for a few years (if anyone ever needs a reason not to eat factory-farmed pork, I can give them an earful), and that at least kept me somewhat physically active. Nowhere near “in shape,” but I was at least doing a lot of walking.
Then I started freelance writing full-time, about five years ago. (Yes, I realize it’s an odd shift — farm hand to freelance writer. My work history has been…colorful.)
Anyway, that meant sitting at a desk all day. I was already, as I mentioned, too big before the desk work. Freelancing put even more inches around my middle, made me even more sedentary, and pretty soon I found myself so exhausted all the time that I couldn’t function without an hour-long (or two-hour-long) afternoon nap.
A couple of months ago, I was cruising the documentary section of Amazon’s streaming videos (I’m a docu-geek), and I ran across a film called Fat Head. When the description said it was a response to Super Size Me, I was sold — that film had always rubbed me the wrong way, though I couldn’t put my finger on why.
To make an already-too-long story a tiny bit shorter, Fat Head made some great points about how the body actually processes carbs — points that made a lot of sense to me. I watched it again, and then started buying ALL THE BOOKS and reading ALL THE WEBSITES I could find related to low carb.
After convincing myself that the science was as sound as it…er, sounded in Fat Head, I passed the movie on to my mom (I get my “fluffy” body type from her), and started throwing away every bit of bread, cereal, and other junk in my house. This is mildly amusing, since I used to make fun of the Atkins diet, or tsk-tsk sadly over the people who were skipping an entire food group.
I started out with just restricting carbs to less than 100 per day, but I apparently have one of those metabolisms that can’t handle carbs at all, so I went on Atkins induction a week and a half ago. The first three days, I’m not gonna lie, were torture — I’ve always loved veggies and fruit in mass quantities. Cutting fruit for two weeks turned out to be harder than cutting the bread and sweets I thought I’d miss.
And Easter Sunday wound up being the day after I started induction (planning is apparently not my greatest skill) — so I had to resist an absolutely gorgeous fruit salad and chocolate cake. I managed, but I think the fingernail marks will never leave my palms.
On Day 4, though, it was like a fog lifted. I woke up not feeling exhausted for the first time in…well, I can’t even say. I don’t remember a time when I ever woke up feeling refreshed and not like I needed to go right back to bed. And my mind felt sharper; it was easier to focus on work.
The cravings also seemed to just switch off. I know some people won’t believe me, but I haven’t craved anything sweet or starchy since those first few days.
Even bigger news: for the past two days I’ve felt downright wired. I’ve never had this much energy to burn — I have to go for a walk, or I’m going to climb the walls. For the past few years, I’ve barely been able to drag myself out of bed — “exercise” was a four-letter-word — and now I feel compelled to exercise.
I have a recumbent stationary bike, and DDP Yoga, so I’ll be burning off some of that energy every day from now on.
I don’t have any impressive weight numbers to give you — I’m trying not to be a slave to the scale. But I did take “before” measurements:
- Upper arm: 16.5 inches
- Belly (at navel): 47 inches
- Belly (above the navel – I’ve got an upper-belly bulge. Sexy, I know): 49 inches
- Thigh: 27.8 inches
- Bust: 53.4 inches
And yesterday almost all of them were smaller:
- Arm: 16.5; no change.
- Belly (at navel): 45.75 inches; -1.25 inches
- Belly (above the navel): 46.25 inches; -2.75 inches
- Thigh: 27.2 inches; -.6 inches
- Bust: 52 inches; -1.4 inches
So, that’s my backstory and update-til-now.
Still with me? You’re dedicated. 😉 Got a diet/exercise story to share? Just want to lend your support? It will be gratefully received in the comments.