Saturday, August 8, 2015

Losing Weight Safely On Your Own

I didn't want to announce anything on the blog till I had a little success, but I'm here now to say I've lost twenty pounds since the last week of February.  This was my first goal and my second goal is twenty pounds more.  I plan to go in increments of 20, not looking any further than that, until I get to what is a healthy weight for me, which will be at least three 20-pound increments.  So celebrate with me!  One-third of the way there!  It has been a rough ride, these past few years, what with heel spur surgery, then an arthroscopy to repair a torn meniscus, then cataract removal and a vitrectomy to correct macular pucker, and now, soon, total knee surgery.  I just haven't been able to get around very well for quite awhile, but I guess, considering my age, things could be worse.  It was a colder and wetter spring than usual and now it's hot and humid and not good for me to be out in it.  I find myself captive in the house much more than is helpful to me--in more ways than one.  I tend to spend the time in front of my computer but I'm having to do less of that now that my back has reminded me it doesn't like to sit.  Another project would be in order if it wasn't for the fact that I'm going to be recovering from the knee surgery soon.  So I'm "hanging in and hanging on", doing what I can do, and I let what's left go to hell in a hand-basket.
Some of you will remember this photo from a couple years ago, when I had my chickens.

Losing weight is hardest at first, because you can't see much progress except for on the scales till after you've lost the first 20 pounds.  It's most common to lose momentum during this period of time.  Diets are sooooo restrictive.  You can't eat ANYTHING that you really like, and you have to choke down things that aren't enjoyable and aren't satisfying, to the point where you start counting the days till you can go back to the way you USED to eat, and you don't think about the fact that you can never, really, go back to the way you ate before, or the pounds will come packing right back on because, after all, that's how you got overweight in the first place.  As someone we knew earlier said, while she was trying to lose weight, "If it tastes good, SPIT IT OUT!"  This is the kind of diet that does more harm to your quality of life and your health than it does good, and when there is failure, it's such a blow to your sense of self worth.  Plus you lose the respect of people you know every time you gain back weight you struggled so hard to lose.  So I am saying to you, DO NOT DIET.  Just make sensible choices, accept that you will lose weight slowly, accept that no one will notice for a long time.  It's a little secret that you can keep, and smile, like Mona Lisa.  Most people don't look at other people very closely.  I mean, it's rude to stare, right?  So they kind of "lock in" what you look like to them and it takes not seeing you for awhile, or seeing you after an illness, or something like that, for them to notice anything's different about you.  It was that way with me and my parents.  They were "in their 50's" in my mind's eye for years and years.  And then Dad had a heart attack and suddenly they were both old.  Very old.

But anyway, eventually you won't be able to hide your weight loss.  Then they will be shocked, I say SHOCKED, at how "fast" you lost that weight right under their noses and they never had a clue.  Sometimes they will say, "Have YOU been SICK???"  Heh.  But truly, we don't need to care when nobody notices, though it always seems to give us a little boost when they do.  We're not doing it for THEM, are we?  My dear friends, we are not "on a diet".  We are Changing Our Lifestyle and Eating Sensibly.  

Please understand that you have a few obstacles in your way, and be mentally prepared.

I'll let you in on a secret:  There are many, many, mixed signals out there, the worst of which are all those businesses that thrive on people who need to lose weight.  They are the most insidious of all because your failure to lose weight, in such a way that you can keep it off, is their bread and butter.  And yes, I chose the word  insidious on purpose, knowing full well the meaning.   

The weight-loss industry NEEDS you to lose weight so you can walk around and tell everyone just HOW you lost it.  They hire well-known people -- sports figures, actresses, comedians, singers -- that need to lose weight.  "I've lost FIFTY pounds IN JUST FOUR MONTHS!" they have them say.  They put the women in swimsuits and show them how to stand, shoulders back and the butt as far away from the camera as it'll go, so the hips will look smaller.  And how to put the hands on the hips so the arm-flab won't show.  Or how to sit with legs crossed at the ankles.  Or in tight black clothes.  Or two-tone "optical illusion clothes".  If they just naturally have big hips and big legs, they put them in a gown with a tight waist and a full skirt.  There are lots of little "photography tricks" to make people look thinner, that if they'd used those in the "before" picture, they wouldn't have looked nearly so bad.  And they make it sound like those people are done now.  The dirty little secret is that they have just begun the struggle, because now they must keep this weight off, and it's harder because they weigh less and thus everything they do burns less calories than it did when they weighed more.  Most average people, when they lose weight in these programs, leave the program after that.  Because, well, it's expensive and somewhat time-consuming.  Know this: studies have shown that 80% of the people who leave their weight loss program after they have reached their goal gain their weight back.  So when people stand up there on television and announce to the world that they have reached their goal with whatever product they've been using, and how very happy they are, just be aware that those people have to be "on the maintenance program" for years and years.  They are closely monitored, and if they gain any weight back, they are dropped from the advertising campaign unless they get busy and lose it again before the next commercial is filmed.

The really sad thing is that, in our society, if you're overweight you're somewhat less, socially, than people who are not.  When you lose weight and crow about it because you're so happy, all the people who knew you when you were fat just kind of groan.  They say, "Oh, give her three months, she'll be fat again."  And when that happens, they'll be smug and they'll snicker to each other, or they'll go "Tsk, tsk," and feel sorry for you.  Depends on whether they're decent people or not.  It's just not fair to ridicule someone because they've gained weight back that they lost.  At least they tried.  It's just that they lost it too fast, it threw the body into "survival mode", and as soon as they went off the program their appestat went into high gear and their metabolism was still stuck on "low".  There are worse things in the human element than being obese and one of them is hateful, because hateful people never recognize their own faults.

People can be so cruel.  They want to think that the obese person is weak and gluttonous.  They treat obese people with such disdain, contempt and derision that it's as if they don't even have any faults themselves. That really hacks me off.  How 'bout that big ol' honkin' nose that everybody's too polite to mention?  There was a boy that used to follow me around in grade school and call me names.  He thought he was so cute.  Nobody ever told him that he wasn't, because his parents were among our little town's "elite", and his father was on the school board.  How often I have wished I had pointed out to him what a big nose he had, or those Dumbo ears that were flappin' around on both sides of his head.  As long as I live, I will be able to see his idiotic stupid face stickin' into mine, with that big ol' wide smile across his face because he thinks he's made a big funny, and I always wish I'd just reached out and grabbed him by those big ol' ears and jerked him around some. 

Something else that hacks me off is when the news industry reports how high a percentage of people in our country are obese.  And they go around photographing obese people walking, with their hind-end galumping and their belly aprons hanging down nearly to their knees.  Since they're not showing the faces, you KNOW full well that they don't have permission to film them.  Just so everybody knows, I KNOW what my hind end looks like and if I ever see it on TV, I'm gonna be calling someone.  You can be recognized by your friends, co-workers and family when they see your body and your clothes, but not your face.  There's a lot of discussion now about how publicly embarrassing a person constitutes "bullying".  How is this any different?  I believe there's a lawsuit to be had in there somewhere.  I just hate to see them do that to people, like we're all de-personalized because we're obese.  We don't have feelings anymore.  If we get embarrassed by what they say and do to us, well, we deserve it, don't we.  (sarcasm)  News reporters do a lot of stupid things with the camera that they shouldn't do.  Ever notice how, when somebody gets hit by a car, they throw a pair of shoes out there on the road and take a picture of it?  Some reporters must carry shoes in their cars just for that purpose.  This stems from an accident that happened 'way back in the 60's when a car hit a boy so hard that the impact knocked off his shoes and the image of the shoes laying there was a very graphic one.  Now it's overdone.  And it's become almost obscene.

But I digress.

A lot of people don't think about this, but the fact that most Americans are overweight is a cash cow for almost all American industries and businesses. Anybody in the business of food preparation is dependent on people who are willing and able to consume large amounts regularly. The cost of the food is only a small percentage of what you are paying for in a restaurant. So it doesn't cost them much extra to pile the food on your plate. They know you love the carbs, and that's why you always get more fries than two people could eat. This trains you to “have a big appetite”, and you keep going back because you think you're “getting your money's worth”. What we refer to as food, those concoctions in boxes and bottles at the grocery store, contain additives that we can't pronounce, and almost everything contains corn syrup or some other ingredient that makes it taste sweet. Many of the artificial ingredients that are added to grocery-store food are unnecessary unless your business depends on people coming back to you with cravings and big appetites.

Everyone in the line from the food producer, through the manufacturer, the container maker, the storage facility, the shipper, the advertiser, the retail supplier, and the garbage collector have a stake in the state of our gluttonous habits. Then come the doctors who say to you that you need to lose weight, as if it's easy and all, yet you can tell they don't really expect that you will do it.  It's an easy out, though.  Got back pain?  Well, they say, it's because you're lugging around that big stomach.  And they don't even bother to take it further because, well, if you want to feel better, JUST LOSE WEIGHT.  And then they just treat you like you deserve whatever it is you're having to deal with.  You waddle away in shame and they collect their office visit fee and don't give a rat's a$$ what happens to you.  Maybe you've got cancer and it's chewing on your insides.  But they won't be diagnosing that because, well, you're too fat, THAT's your problem.  It's almost like an obese person's life is not worth saving.

Then there are the doctors who perform surgery on your joints, your back, your feet. The ones who treat you for diabetes, GERD, hernias and pain. The sellers of shoe inserts and the developers, producers, advertisers and marketers of drugs, which is a multi-gazillion-dollar business of it's own. You experience side-effects and there are more doctors ready to treat you for that, and attorneys to sue someone if that doesn't work, and so many times, it hasn't been adequately tested because, well, they're going to let US do that for them. Then there are the workout centers, the developers, manufacturers, transporters, advertisers and retailers of diet products. There are books and DVD's and all sorts of equipment, all promising results in a new, breakthrough way. So you find something, and it doesn't always work, but let's just say you keep spending your money till you find something that does. The clothing industry, designers, manufacturers, transporters, advertisers, and retailers, benefit every time you can get into a smaller size, and you are so glad to not be in that size you just vacated that you donate or sell, for pennies on the dollar, all of them, because of course you're never going to be that size again, right?  The non-profit organizations, or people who will sell on commission for you, benefit from receiving your “fat clothing”. They all want you to reach your goal weight, because the fatter you are, the more sizes you will wear, and therefore the longer this can go on.  Then once you reach your goal and stop concentrating all your money and effort to the maintenance of your new size, you gain weight back because of course you are without a crutch to lean on.   And now all your fat clothes are gone.  People tend not to donate clothing that is too small, unless they've had them for a long time and have given up on ever being able to be that size again. So you invest in storage for your skinny clothes.  The designers, manufacturers, transporters, advertisers and retailers of such products depend on the fact that you are going to accumulate maybe as many as six complete wardrobes in different sizes. Then, if you don't get back into the routine that helped you to lose weight before, and, who knows, maybe the second time around it won't work so well, you're buying all new clothing in progressively bigger sizes, and those 2X and 3X outfits are more expensive than the “average” sizes.

And let me just say that those TV programs like "Recipe Rehab" are interesting, but they are right there in the chain, getting you to buy all those special ingredients they use and to go to all that work just for one meal, which they know you probably won't do routinely, but they've gotten you to go to the store, right?  They do seem to be a little behind the times in throwing away the egg yolk, as the egg yolk has GOOD fats and not BAD.  But you'll use more eggs that way because you're throwing away the yolks.  And hey.  They've earned a paycheck for doing what they did.  So I guess all is not lost, except it didn't benefit the people it was supposedly aimed at, if you know what I mean.  I guess it lets them go to bed happy, thinking they have made somebody's life better by showing them how to make fattening foods less so by using more expensive ingredients.  In truth, most people aren't going to do this on an ongoing basis.  Maybe you can pick up an idea or two from some of these programs.  But it's kinda like finding one M&M in a bowlful of pebbles, if you'll pardon the analogy.  After this show is over you better change the channel fast, because it's Guy Fiero with Diners, Dives and whatever, and those folks are trying to cram as much fat, salt and sugar into everything as they can.  So there ya go.

It's just so much better to zero in on simple things you like that are not bad for you.   Eventually you find things that are quick to put together and satisfying.  I like yogurt.  Just enough honey or some homemade fruit jam to make it a little sweet, and about a tablespoon of chopped walnuts or almonds.  I like baked sweet potato french fries.  Sometimes I make popcorn in coconut oil.  No butter, just a little salt.

But did you ever think that maybe the reason why our back, feet and joints hurt is not so much that we're carrying our own weight around as it is because we're carrying around all these other folks who depend on our obesity for the health of their economic status?

And does that knowledge hack you off at all?

The hard fact is, people who make their living off obese people don't really want them to succeed because that would affect their income or their status.  Even people who are your friends and family seem to have a hard time with you losing weight and changing your looks.  Somehow it seems to change the pecking order.  Your family has gotten used to you being at the bottom of their totem pole, which is sad to begin with, because this has nothing to do with how intelligent you are, what a good person you are, how great your personality is, or even that you have such a nice face.  Size DOES seem to matter, even though they'll all deny it.  The proof is there.  If you move up on the totem pole, then that means somebody's gotta move down.  If you run around with a bunch of friends, there's maybe one person that's the leader of the posse.  When you start getting more attention, your perceived status changes.  You might end up getting more attention than the leader of the posse, and we can't have that.  So they'll say something like, "You've changed...."  or, "You were more fun when you were fat".  And then, whether they mean to or not, whether they're aware they're doing it or not, if you continue to hang around with them, they start trying to feed you.  And face it, MOST social activities do that, anyway.  They say to you, "Oh, come on.  ONE won't hurt you."  or "Aw, you look great.  You can just eat less tomorrow."  or "Geeeze, now that you've lost weight, does this mean you can NEVER enjoy yourself AGAIN??"  Hell yes, you can enjoy yourself!  You can enjoy yourself EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR LIFE.  You just won't be using food as your crutch.

Everything is in the brain.  If you feel like you're being deprived, then it doesn't matter what happens.  Even if a person who has offered you cookies smiles at you lovingly and says, "I understand completely and it's entirely up to you," if you feel deprived because you can't have a cookie, then go ahead and have one.  Because I guarantee you, you will think about those cookies all day, and after you get back home, you will HAVE cookies, and cake, and ice-cream, and only God knows what all, trying to comfort yourself because you feel so deprived.  But if your brain is on board, then you can dismiss it.  It's like somebody offered you something repulsive, like, I don't know....  an old dirty cigarette butt on a piece of shoe leather maybe.  Feel kind of sorry for all of them because, OMG, just think of all the damage ALL THAT SUGAR is doing to them!  Bless their hearts.  Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

It's not, "I can't have cookies....".  It's "Oh, my goodness no, I don't eat cookies."

And then there's your wife or girlfriend, husband or boyfriend.  This can get complicated because sometimes they're truly overjoyed that you've lost weight but they just don't understand the mechanics of it.  They may want you to go with them to more dress-up functions because they want to show you off.  They don't want everybody to be too busy "doing stuff" to notice how great you look.  And almost all those do-nothing dress-up functions are centered around food and/or alcohol. 

Other times, your love-interest might be secretly feeling insecure because you look so much more attractive than you used to and they might not be prepared to accept the fact that now you're getting more attention from everyone than they are.  Maybe someone will flirt with you and they've never felt like they had to "trust" you before.  Now, they don't know for sure where they stand.  They may have always thought that they were the prize YOU had to work to keep, not the other way around, and they might not be very comfortable in that.

Your mother might even start preparing your favorite foods and who knows why she does that.  You'd think a mother would be happy that her child is healthier and happier.  But noooooo, she whips out that cream cheese and twenty pounds of sugar and starts baking.  She's dangerous because she knows what your favorite foods are.  She gives you dire warnings about "losing too much", "getting sick", or "becoming anorexic".  Here you are standing in front of her and you still have thunder thighs and that badonkadonk butt and she's worried about you getting too skinny.  Sheeeeeesh.

No, this stuff didn't just pop in to my imagination.  I've lived all this.


My daughter had Gastric Bypass several years ago.  And let me tell you, that really opened my eyes.  She had to go through all kinds of medical screening and trying other ways to lose weight to be able to be approved to have this surgery.  So, after about a year of that she had the surgery, which is not for weenies.  And then there were so many things she just couldn't eat anymore.  Sugar made her physically ill.  Bread would get stuck halfway down.  Did you know people who've had gastric bypass surgery cannot vomit?  She bought all those test-tube shaped plastic bottles of liquid protein which has so many artificial ingredients in it, that alone would just gag me out the door.  She bought whey powder, like the body-builders use, and I've tried that, it's not TOO bad.  But the bottom line is that she was forced to change her entire way of eating.  She has to wear a Medic bracelet that says she can't be intubated, for the rest of her life.  If she ever gets herself in a situation where she cannot get all these special things she has to eat in order to get enough protein to keep her alive, or if there's a First Responder that's not paying attention, she's in trouble.  And she drinks.  When you enjoy alcohol, having this surgery is a problem in two ways.  One is that the alcohol goes through a lot less processing in your system before it hits your intestinal tract, where it is absorbed rapidly, giving you a fast high and then a quick low.  There are many who say this doubles a person's risk of becoming addicted to alcohol.  And the other is that there is some evidence that overeating is an addictive trait that many times will be replaced with another addiction once the ability to overeat is removed.

She felt like gastric bypass was her only option.  She felt like, at 5'2" and 360 pounds, she would die if she didn't do something drastic.   I can't second-guess someone else.  Maybe it was the only thing she could do.  But I knew that was not an option for me.

Several things about this process were not lost on me, though.  One was that it had to be accepted that there were some things that just could no longer be consumed.  Another was that, what made this process work was that it was no longer possible to eat large amounts of anything, so that made it imperative that everything you ate was packed with nutrition.  If you could even find junk food that didn't make you physically sick, it would fill you up and make it impossible for you to be able to hold anything else.  Some people actually had all their hair fall out.  Tooth decay increased.  And their skin dried out.  But I looked at this process and I said to myself, "Hell, I don't need gastric bypass to make me do some of these things...."  Plus I could keep my hair and my oily skin.

I did a lot of thinking about obesity along about then, and how it is that people get there, and just keep getting bigger and bigger until it is a monumental task to come back out of it.  They start having health issues that make it imperative that they lose weight FAST.  And that's where the trouble comes in.

You don't gain weight FAST.  It comes on, maybe five or ten pounds a year.  Doesn't seem like that much, does it?  But that's 50 to 100 pounds that you could gain in only ten years.  I was fat as a child, and then, at the age of 12, I put myself on a diet.  I yo-yo'd for many years and then finally I said, "I'm going to be happy with the me that I am", and then that's how I gained my weight -- 5 or 10 pounds a year.  Till I found myself 100 pounds over my healthy ideal weight. 

So I decided I would make changes in my habits.  I stopped eating sugar and processed foods with sugar (or corn syrup or fructose) in it.  Which is, by the way, almost ALL processed food.  I discovered, after "walking the floor" dealing with cravings for the first three days, that on the fourth day I no longer craved.  I wasn't preoccupied with food.  I could tell when I was hungry and I could tell when I'd had enough.  I felt satisfied and not deprived.  Gradually, I lost fifty-five pounds.  That didn't put me "at goal", and I wasn't planning on going back to the way I had been eating before, but I "fell off the wagon".  I went to someone's house and they insisted that I try some cookies that they had made, and I do love cookies.  From there I started back eating unlimited amounts of sugar again.  That was about 2010, and that was the year we moved where I could have a bigger garden, and probably thanks to that and the stairs I have to climb in the house, over the five years since, all I gained back was seventeen pounds.  Of course that means that I kept thirty-eight of those pounds off for five years without even trying.  In fact, mostly while eating like a horse.  That's the first time that ever happened to me.  I mean, I KNOW how to lose weight.  I've just never been able to KEEP IT OFF.

Always before, I lost weight because I wanted to look better.  I'm 68 now, that's ONLY TWO YEARS AWAY from The Big Seven-O, well, less than that, really, and now it's not so much that I care about how I look as it is that I care about how I FEEL.  The quality of my daily life hangs in the balance.  I want to maintain enough health and vigor to be able to take having surgery in my stride.  And, though this is not quite as important, I want to give my skin time to catch up.  I don't want to be dragging a belly-apron around.

Last winter I sat and thought how, if I had been watching what I ate and staying out of the sugar-laden junk during these past five years, I would've easily gotten to my healthy weight goal.  Because I work pretty hard around here sometimes and apparently that is really doing a good job of burning the calories.  And then I started thinking about all the things I've shared with you in the preceding paragraphs.  And it just made me mad, you know?  Here I've been the recipient of a God-given metabolic blessing, that will allow me to be one of the survivors if we ever have a famine, and everyone around me has been exploiting it out the Wahoo!  There might be something to be said for hanging onto my fat stores, since so many people believe something bad is going to happen soon.  But then again, we don't know what the bad thing is for sure.  So if it happens and it involves needing good health and mobility, I and everyone else who's packing around a lot of extra weight are at a distinct disadvantage. 

It strikes me as funny, this thing about how the makers of bait traps for rodents and ants (and other critters, too, I imagine) advertise that when one critter finds the poisoned bait, it carries it back to its nest to feed the family, and in that way, the population is controlled.  And then I think of the obese shopper in the grocery store with sugar, processed fats, addictive umami additives, and all those processed foods that contain them, in the shopping basket.  Well, maybe "funny" is not the right word, because it makes me sad to think that whole businesses are kept prosperous at the cost of every consumer's good health, and that of their family.  If you think eating healthy is too expensive, think again.  Eating healthy is not addictive, and you will find yourself eating less.  You will save money because you are not buying all that junk food.  And I'll let you in on a little secret.  Why do you think it is that most of what you can save big money on with coupons is processed food?  If you like couponing and you're good at it, don't stop.  Just don't buy something because you can get it free or nearly so, if it's "poison bait".  You know, the "food" industry doesn't pay grocery stores to give this stuff to you for nothing.  They're "growing their business".  Since they're also marking up their prices so that folks who DON'T have a coupon will pay the price of theirs and the one you got for free, they aren't losing money even if they can't get you addicted to it this way.

Do you think Americans are not addicted to sugar and stuff like fructose, dextrose, maltose, in fact, ANYTHING ending in "-ose"?  Forbes magazine says Americans consume, on average, 130 pounds of sugar a year.  That's almost eleven pounds of sugar a month, 3/4 cup of sugar each and every day.  One 12-oz carbonated soda contains 45g, or about 1/8 cup, of sugar.  In 1822, the average American consumed 9g of sugar a day.  TOTAL FOR THE WHOLE DAY.  It would take them five days to consume the equivalent of ONE 12-oz carbonated soda.  By 2012, the amount of sugar consumed by Americans had increased seventeen-foldHERE is that article, if you want to see.  And HERE is an article on the LiveStrong website about why carbonated ANYTHING is not good for your bones and teeth because of the addition of phosphoric acid.  So, having a carbonated soda when you really want something to eat is just a bad choice.   I must admit, it's been really hard for me to give up my diet pop, and I have found it's the carbonation that I miss.  I can taste the chemicals in nearly every diet soda except maybe A&W Root Beer.  Oh, it makes me so sad to remember how thrilled I was, back in the late 50's, early 60's, when Coca-Cola Bottling Company came out with the first diet pop that they called "Tab".  OMG.  Talk about that chemical taste!  But back then, we thought it was harmless.  How naive we were......  I and my friends and family drank so much of it.  Over the years they've come out with Aspartame and then Sucralose and most recently, Stevia, each product improving some on the status quo, but even at it's best, still kind of a chemical taste that I have found more and more distasteful as the years pass.  And who knows what damage those do to us?  Remember that we're unpaid guinea pigs here, so our descendants will know.  But it will be too late for us. Now I drink coffee and on hot days I keep a pitcher of unsweetened tea in the refrigerator.  And then of course there's plain ol' water, which it turns out isn't really plain, anywhere, anymore, unless you buy or make your own filtered water.  REAL water, full of minerals that it picked up by running through unsullied earth and rocks, doesn't exist anymore for the average consumer.  We thought that's what we were getting in those little clear bottles and then found out that it's just tap water like you could get from your tap at home.  Maybe without the chlorination and the fluoride, I don't know.  It's so hard to tell, since they're always lying to us about what's in our food and drink till someone comes along and tests it, and then they fess up, like, well, they were going to, anyway....  Now and then I think a nice Sonic cherry-limeade would taste really good but I'm just not willing to start gulping down that much extra sugar when I'm not getting any real nutrition out of it except maybe the lime juice.  Back in the old days, people drank beer, because the water wasn't safe to drink.

So, my dears, if you need to lose weight, I promise you it doesn't have to be that hard.  Just don't be in such a hurry.  Choose healthy foods that you like.  Find out what is your "trigger", and I bet it'll be sugar and/or corn syrup.  But I think there are other things.  Fats, for instance.

Almost every day, I have an egg for breakfast.  I fry it on a hot, ungreased griddle.  I make "sandwich rolls" from wheat berries I grind myself.  I cut a sandwich roll in half and put a thin slice of cheese on the bottom half.  Then I put my egg, which has had the yolk broken during the frying process, on top of that.  No butter.  I figure the cheese has fat in it, and so does the egg yolk, so butter is not needed.  With it I have about 2 cups of tomato juice, which was processed at home, without added sugar.  I get up really early, so about mid-morning, my stomach starts talking to me.  Then I have a cup of unflavored yogurt with enough homemade fruit jam in it to make it slightly sweet, and about a tablespoon of slivered almonds or chopped walnuts for extra protein.  And yes, there's sugar in the jam, but I find I can tolerate sugar in small amounts.  Then I'm good to go till a late lunch, when I may have a sandwich with Hubs, mine is made on the other half of the bun I cut for breakfast.  Hubs buys turkey breast coldcuts, usually, sometimes made to taste like ham, sometimes not.  I'll have two slices of that, if I have mayo I won't have a slice of cheese and vice-versa.  Lettuce and tomato if we have it.  Or maybe I'll just skip all that and do peanut butter.  I like the crunchy style.  Sometimes I'll mix up tuna salad.  Sometimes I just eat leftovers.  I'll usually have a glass of milk, too.  I try to watch my portion size.  I'm wanting to be satisfied but not full.  Mid-afternoon might be an orange and a cup of black coffee.  Then we have supper around 4:30 or 5:00, which is just what I normally make for supper.  Just like at lunch, I watch my portion size.  If I want seconds, I do really small amounts, or I might double-up on the vegetable.  When I cook, I try to use less fat and I never salt anything.  After supper, I'm done eating till breakfast.  Evening snacks have been a big problem for me in the past.  Usually I don't even miss them, but sometimes I do.  Sometimes there are a lot of food commercials between the TV programs Hubs tunes into.  That's when I go downstairs and read, or I go upstairs and have a long, relaxing bath.

Sometimes I'll have a day when I just feel hungry all day.  If that happens, first I tell myself, "I must be losing weight today..."  I'll just try to get busy doing something and I might forget I want to eat and be able to last easily till mealtime.  If that doesn't work, I'll make a big green salad and eat it all.  Or cucumbers with a little Ranch dressing, which I make with a mix I buy at Sam's, but I replace half the mayonnaise with unflavored yogurt.  Or Seven Day Cabbage Slaw, with less oil than called for in the recipe.  When I have a green salad, I top it with salted sunflower seeds, a chopped hard-boiled egg, a small handful of grated cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice or cider vinegar.  Then stir it all in as I eat.  This takes the place of salad dressing and it's quite satisfying.

I do allow myself fast food about once a week.  If we are out and we stop for a burger, I get a Junior Burger and small fries, and it feels like plenty to me.  If Hubs feels like stopping for biscuits and gravy while we're out garaging, we get one order of two biscuits with gravy.  Two forks.  We could each get a one-biscuit order but that costs an extra couple of dollars and it's just the same thing.  Saves money and only one container to put in the landfill.

So this is what works for me.  And I would suggest to you, if you're tired of being on the weight-loss roller-coaster, just sit down and figure out a game plan.  Use what you know about yourself, your weaknesses, your strengths, your preferences.  Go gently with yourself because this is something you will need to do for the rest of your life.  You are your own best friend and you must treat yourself as such.  Don't be a bully.  Oh, and I'm so sorry if people that work at some of those industries that make money by keeping people fat have to go look for some other way to make their living.  It's US, or THEM.  And it's been US all our lives.  It's THEIR turn.

Make a list of foods that are good for you and that you like.  Don't let anyone tell you, "Oh, you can't eat bread, or any part of the egg but the white, or peanut butter, or cheese, or full-fat milk, or nuts, or jam," and so on.  Or they'll tell you, "You can't lose weight if you don't start working out".  I don't know why it's so important for some people to make losing weight such a dang ordeal and so much harder than it has to be!  You need to get up and do stuff, but working in the yard, cleaning house, walking to the mailbox, taking the laundry upstairs, that is ALL exercise.  If you LIKE to lift weights and bicycle or climb stairs to nowhere, do it.  But if you hate it, find other things you like to do.  Turn on the radio and dance, if you want.  We're not trying to be muscle-bound or develop 6-pack abs.  For the average person, there is nothing more wasteful of precious resources than doing extra exercise solely for the purpose of being able to eat more, unless it's anorexia, and when you think about it, the two are a lot closer than some people think.  Eat less, but make wise choices, and your body will thank you when it doesn't have to struggle to metabolize all that junk food.  Think of your body as a fine car.  Fill the gas tank with premium fuel, but don't overflow it, and you won't go down the highway spitting out smoke and gas fumes.  Heh.  You also don't need to make extra trips just so you can fill up more often at the gas station, do you get me?  You'll wear out your tires and your fancy upholstery faster if you do.  Plus waste your time.

And don't be swayed by those commercials that say, "Lose FIVE pounds in the FIRST WEEK!!"  Most of that is water weight, and the rest is because you've been eating less and your stomach and intestinal tract is dang near empty, which is not healthy.  ANY loss of more than two pounds a week is unhealthy, every doctor you ask will tell you so.  It's also unnatural and unrealistic.  A loss of about a half pound to a pound per week is better and stands a much better chance of staying off.

So, how often should you weigh?  Some say once a week, some say every day.  I weigh every Monday, but somehow that seems to be the day of the week I always weigh the most.  So if, when I weigh on Monday, I feel like I'm coming along well enough, I might not weigh again till the next Monday.  If I'm consistent it all comes out in the wash, anyway.  But if, on Monday, I haven't lost anything or have gained a little, usually I'll weigh every day after that or at least on Wednesday and Friday, just to make sure I'm back on track.  If I truly have gained, I won't try to "make up for it", but I will try to figure out what I did that didn't let me lose anything that week, and not do that again.  Lots of times I easily know why I've gained.  For instance, I can't eat potato chips with my noon sandwich very often.  But I just continue on.  As Lorraine says, "Put one foot in front of the other".  I wasn't in a hurry to gain this weight, not during any of the gazillion times I did it.  I'm not going to be in a hurry to lose it.  Weigh in your underwear because your day's clothing might weigh more than what you might wear on other days.  I even considered not weighing myself at all, but I felt like if I didn't, I'd backslide and I'd waste all that time not knowing that I wasn't losing anything.  

And this part's important.  Don't let yourself become fixated or obsessed about losing weight.  Just go on with your life.  Don't make it a part of every conversation you have with people.  Don't keep a weight loss journal.  Both will make you feel the need to lose weight faster.  When you gained this weight, you didn't keep a journal, right?  You didn't call your friends and say, "Oh, darn, I didn't gain a pound this week."  Don't start cooking up a storm and living vicariously through your family members.  Hear this:  FOOD IS JUST FUEL.  Just eat when you're hungry, eat real food and don't overdo it.  And then get on with your life.

Remember.  We're not on a diet.  We're eating sensibly, thoughtfully, intelligently.  We're not saying "no" to the marketers of all that is simply "Rat Poison For Humans", we are saying, "Oh, HELL no!"  We will not be baited again.  And we will not take that bait home to our families. 

Rock on, Peeps.  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. It is interesting to lose weight after being about 60 pounds overweight for many years. I still have about 20 pounds to go to reach that goal. I sure do feel better, have more energy and hurt less. I have no doubt I am healthier. Good for you, Ilene. Keep it up. We haven't eaten sugar for over 10 months. I know there is some in bacon and sausage, so we're not totally free of it, but no processed anything and don't plan on going back to it. When we're both where we want to be we'll add a few more carbs back in in the form of beans, peas, potatoes and such. I was surprised to learn how many carbohydrates some fruits and vegetables contain, so we have eliminated many of them for the time being. Those are the things we will add back in, not processed foods. Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Fern, thanks for your comments. Congrats on your weight loss and improved health, sounds like your start place was about where mine was but you're about twice as successful as I have been so far! I just don't think I could go without carbs completely, as you have, and stay with it. I was raised on carbs and starches, and seems like most people are, these days. I was shocked when I first learned how much sugar and starch they put in baby food, so I don't guess babies today are any healthier now than I was, being fed mashed potatoes and gravy sitting on Mom's lap at the dinner table. Either way, it's not very good training for good food choices later on....

  2. This post is a wonder, I have always worked hard and I do not eat a lot...however I am obese and it has been a battle all my life. I have been working hard at changing the way I eat [and Ralph too] and it has helped, High fructose corn syrup should be against the law! We find this process of moving has been bad for us in the food department. I also find that it takes 4 days for High fructose to clear my system and 1 drink to renew the addiction to it. It make my appetite all screwy and I feel way hungrier when I have a drink with High fructose. Artificial sweeteners are even worse. Thank you for your story and it is a huge encouragement to eat healthier and loose weight more normally!

    1. Hi, Fiona, and thank you for your comment. I do believe high fructose corn syrup is addictive. I always read the label before I buy something at the grocery store and when I first learned about HFCS, I just couldn't believe how many products contain it. Even spaghetti sauce and tomato juice. I haven't read a baby food label lately, but I think the last time I did, even THAT contained HFCS, and it seems like baby formula did, too.

      Good luck to you in your quest for healthier alternatives, it is a maze of trickery out there in the grocery aisles, we must be careful and not bring home the "rat poison for humans".

  3. I am so glad I backtracked and read this! You have given me a new direction and I needed it.

    I have taken notes............................


I appreciate your comments! Comment Moderation is back on. Spam comments, and those containing links to advertising will be deleted.