365 Days

One year! It’s been one year since I gave up sugar and starches. I can’t believe it – I’ve done a whole year of weight loss.

The results are… well, fine. I wish it had gone smoother. I definitely wish I had been able to stay away from sugar for the last three months. I wish I had lost much more. But nevertheless, I now weigh 13,6 kilos (30 pounds) less than one year ago, and I think it’s something to be proud of. Something to celebrate.

And celebrate I did. I went to the gym again. That’s another thing – I can’t believe I had not gone to the gym that I loved so much since August! Once again I had to muster all my courage to get into the car and go there. On my way I considered the reason for my fears. I certainly don’t dread exercise – I know all too well how happy movement makes me feel. I don’t fear the exercise equipment, I don’t even worry that I won’t know what to do with it (though I still have no idea what goes on in the weight-lifting room of the gym). It’s the moment when I enter that door that makes me feel so self-conscious and insecure. It’s the moment when the guy by the door looks at me and pulls back in shock, seeing such an out-of-shape person in the sanctity of the gym.

Nothing of the kind happened, of course. There was a tiny little girl at the desk who smiled and was very kind. I thoroughly enjoyed myself there. I swear, this time it won’t take five months to return there.

So – what have I learned this year? This has been the “food year” of my life. I’ve learned to love simple foods. I’ve retrained my taste buds to love vegetables and unsweetened foods. I have also learned what foods make me crave sugar and what foods keep me full for hours. I have learned to listen to my body. It never fails to inform me about the validity of my choices.

I used to reproach myself for “being bad” and having a cheat meal, a cheat day or even a cheat week. No more. For it’s the occasional bingeing that has taught me more than a year of clean eating.

Now I know the psychological effect that bingeing brings with it. I know how fat and ugly I feel if I’ve gone down the road of candy and cake. The weight might not even change after a meal of ice-cream, but the sluggishness sets in that starts a whole new cycle of insecurity and shame. I don’t want that. And I have discovered the psychological triggers to unhealthy eating patterns and I’ve learned how to deal with these triggers.

Basically over the course of this whole year I’ve “mastered” intuitive eating. I don’t have to stick to Atkins, Ducan or any specific diet demanding to eat particular foods that might not even grow in this climate. I can trust my own body to tell me what it needs. It won’t scream “sugar, sugar, sugar” all the time. And when it does, I’ve learned to peel an orange or cut up an apple.

It’s been a marvellous year. I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve made great foundations for the rest of my life. I’ve learned to eat right.

It’s the perfect time to set a new goal for the next year, and it is this. To study the physical aspect of weight-loss. To learn to move more effectively. To incorporate movement in my daily life so that it becomes a habit so ingrained that I can’t even imagine my life without it. Just like I’ve learned to eat right, it’s time to learn to move right! And I hope that in 365 days I will be able to say – I’ve lost all the extra weight and am at my healthiest ever.

Here’s to a year of movement!

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A Need for Change

I feel so worn-out and weak I feel I must change something – either the diet or the exercise regime, and I really don’t want to limit my exercise having just begun to enjoy it.

I’ve been on some modified Atkins, or rather NSNG (no sugar, no grains) since January 30, but the weight loss has almost ground to a halt – I’ve lost just five pounds since May, even though I’ve upped the exercise immensely. The reasons, surely, must be at least in part psychological. Perhaps I feel during the summer that life has become more boring, I meet fewer people, I do less of what I really like. I see I’ve also increased the fruit intake, and that’s what prevents the weight loss. I feel like I’m lethargic most of the time, I don’t have as much energy as I used to have in spring, I feel tired when I go to bed and tired when I get up.

I see a lot of space for improvement in my diet, and one thing I have decided to introduce back in to my diet (VERY tentatively and warily) is oatmeal. I’m mortified that I might just fall off the bandwagon altogether, since I’ve worked so hard to get over cravings and sugar highs and lows. But it seems that it might be the right choice – to reduce the fats and to add some starches (just the oats for a while). Let’s see how it goes.

I’ve felt like a bit of a failure for some time now (basically throughout the summer), since the weight loss has slowed down and the energy levels are so low, but in fact, just writing this post helps. I’m taking stock for the first time since June, and I see that I have still lost some weight, albeit 5 pounds seem so little. I have gained some muscle mass and I have definitely increased stamina. So it’s not all bad, I’m not a failure, and there’s no reason for me to panic just because I’m about to add some rolled oats to my diet. I won’t let it get out of control and I won’t be stuffing myself with doughnuts and chocolate cake. It’s just oats.  There’s nothing to be scared of. They won’t kill your efforts, and if they do, you can always go back, you poor control freak.

(picture credit: http://www.healthybalancefitness.com.au/2014/10/grains-are-not-the-enemy/)

I need to look at what I eat to find the real culprit for the slow weight loss. Or, better even, I need to journal the food for a week and see what’s what. I need to monitor the energy levels so that I can find just the right balance of exercise and healthy nutrition. Can I trust myself to do that? For that is really what it boils down to, my friends.

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