Five years ago I entered what is known as perimenopause and the shit basically hit the fan with regard to my body size (and sleeping – NOT). I was doing all my normal stuff, like big walks and ‘watching’ what I ate, for the most part, but the pounds were coming on anyway. I was beating myself up about weight gain, heading up to the 135 mark from my usual 130 was like never-never land to me back then. Well folks, you can then imagine what hitting the 180 mark felt like when I was weighed at a doctor’s appointment. Hell. I also felt completely bloated, toxic, hot flashes and, as stated, was not sleeping well. Many would attribute this to symptoms of perimenopause. This could go on for ten years, I was told. Holy sweet jesus.
Last summer, hubby and I went away for a week to the sweet little village of St Andrews By The Sea, New Brunswick. We had some free nights on points at the Algonquin. Dean and I, at that time, liked to raise a glass with a craft beer to quaff together. We would have a nice lunch somewhere and each have a beer. Then we would do a long, long walk and come supper time, we again would have a beer or even some wine as well. Basically, my clothes were getting tighter and needed replacing and I wasn’t sleeping. It was upon returning from this trip that I weighed 180 and I nearly died with that. I had gone from a size 4 to size 16.
I spent a lot of effort hiding my size. Certain t-shirts masked the belly rolls and were long enough to cover my bum. I thought of my new bras as ‘machinery’ and with a price tag in the triple digits in order to keep the girls supported. These pieces of fine engineering were extremely well made and were lacey and pretty but they were so uncomfortable it was unbearable. I would remove my bra as soon as possible upon getting home. Another thing that happened which is cringe-worthy and perhaps TMI, is my upper inner legs would rub together with the added weight. I can not state emphatically enough how much I hated this. I had to wear spandex shorts under dresses and skirts in order to avoid chaffing. While visiting Cuba just before the pandemic hit, I was perturbed by incessant chaffing due to the added ingredients of salt water and fine sand and had to buy diaper cream in order to combat this problem. Ok. This really spoke to me. Hellooooo. Diaper cream!!!!! Jysus!
Because of not sleeping and then feeling completely bloated and toxic while on our sweet little away trip, to New Brunswick, I shook up my routine enough and was uncomfortable enough to see that I had to make a change. I was not happy with how I looked nor how I felt.
The decision I made was to stop drinking alcohol of any sort. Almost immediately I peed out about ten pounds of water, folks. (I do have another complicating factor: I take lithium to stabilize bipolar disorder. So not only perimenopause but also lithium in the works.)
A few weeks later I had dropped another five to ten pounds and I was feeling better and better. Sleep was not nearly as elusive and I was actually having the odd night of sleeping right through to morning. What a gift.
Sometime in there I watched a TEDx talk about intermittent fasting. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6Dkt7zyImk
I had thought fasting was an extreme and nutty behaviour but, the way she explained it, it sounded perfect for me and had added health benefits. I learned that WHEN you eat is more important than WHAT you eat. I stopped eating after having a good supper meal and didn’t eat again until mid-morning the next day. Because I was having a morning coffee, I didn’t feel hungry and I was never a huge fan of breakfast anyhow.
This was key to dropping the remainder of the weight. Please understand: I DID NOT STARVE MYSELF. If ever I felt hungry, really hungry, I would eat something with high protein like a couple of eggs / a handful of nuts / peanuts / a piece of cheese / a pepperoni stick. In this way I reduced carbs. For me, reducing carbs, like bread, rice, pasta was key. Also, I would reach for an apple or a pear sometimes. Even at night I will sometimes have a crispy cold apple if I’m feeling a nagging hunger that just won’t stop.
I lost about five pounds per month, so a safe amount to lose, and am now back to 125. On me, 125 actually looks and feels good and I am happy.
Key things I did:
- eliminated alcohol;
- stopped eating at night after supper;
- when sitting for a show or movie I keep my hands busy with playing scrabble or a card game or something on my ipad. This helps me to not want snack foods while viewing;
- the majority of the time I ate only from mid-morning to mid-evening and therefore had 14 to 18 hours of fasting. That is, no food or beverages other than water after supper from 7 pm. And, black coffee in the morning. Although sometimes I would have an apple, some nuts or a small piece of cheese in the evening if my stomach was rumbling;
- walked 5 to 10 km per day;
- pretty much eliminated desserts and empty carb foods (I was not going to be that person who says no to a piece of birthday cake or to a piece of home-made pie. I just didn’t eat it often);
- cut back on carbs like bread, cereal, buns, potatoes, rice, pasta, nacho chips, wraps and would choose high-protein foods instead like sliced meats, nuts, fish;
- between meal snacks would be high protein or a piece of fruit;
- I weighed myself on the same day each week. I didn’t own a scale initially but was visiting family and they had one. Digital scales are now widely available even at your local pharmacy for under $30. Worth it. But, I recommend once per week weight measuring, same time each week wearing about the same outfit and write it down so that you can see your progress.
So many people have asked me what exactly I did to lose the weight, especially during lockdown when most people were putting a few pounds ON. Simple things. Besides this, I would take time each day to mentally thank my strong healthy body for all it does for me. If extra weight doesn’t bother you, well, then don’t do anything different. For me, it DID bother me. I felt like carrying around an extra fifty pounds was quite torturous for me. I mean, this was over FIVE years. It took 4 years of dedication to put that much weight on and it took 9 months of dedication to take it off. I am back to size 4. Size 4 feels good.
Before I began my downward journey I was eating a treat (cookie, chips, ice-cream) almost every night. I was also, as stated, drinking an alcohol drink or two almost every day. That’s a lot of excess on a 5’5″ frame. I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen. Perhaps I was in complete denial. But, in hindsight I realize that the toxicity of daily alcohol was likely what was causing the cravings for junk food.
I will never again take my trimness for granted. As I cover ground during the day, usually with my furry friend, Jack, I really pay attention to how much easier it is to move. How much easier it is to climb a hill. How much more balance I have in the winter with the trail is slippery. How much easier it is to get down on my knee to pick something up or to sit on the floor to play with my little grand-niece and grand-nephew. I give myself a nod for finding the method that truly worked for me to lose the excess weight. For me, that fifty pounds was a real thing that made my life less sweet. I’m glad it is gone.
I welcome your questions folks. Bottom line: if you want to shed weight and you’re in good health – GO FOR IT. If you want to shed weight and you have a health issue – check in with your doc first to ensure you are doing things safely. Lose the weight slowly. A few pounds per month. Be patient. Walk. Be mindful. Take good care of your Earth Suit with healthful fresh foods. It will come off.
6 thoughts on “What’s 50 Pounds Between Friends?”
Reading this was the inspirational kick in the pants I needed. I’ve listening to Dr. Jason Fung’s “Life in the Fasting Lane” and thinking about this. It’s time for me to make the change and feel better in my earth suit, too!
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So good to hear from you my friend!
Yes, I rejoice in my strong healthy Earth Suit but there were just a few troubles with it when it was bigger (‘machinery’ bras, chaffing, lack of balance and getting up and down made more difficult). I found it harder in gen to get around and do all that I wanted to do. It’s just easier being small, to put it succinctly. I wish you the very best in your endeavours toward smallness. Do it safely and slowly and you will be better off. Hugs across the miles. M
I started my weight loss journey – or journey to better health – starting at 170 lb – in Sept 2019. I am five ft three inches with a small frame – so 115-120 is probably a good weight for me. I would not know what that looks like I have not weighed that since grade 7 or so. The pandemic has helped me eat better because there are fewer social situations at restaurants and at homes of famitly and friends. Also I had to work from home which is good too, since the junk food (free and for sale), and the cafeteria food were no longer tempting me. I did not do it all alone – i am part of a group of friends doing the same, and, being accountable to each other drives us. As for some of the things I did, see numbers above: 1 2 7 8 and 9. My current weight is 127. I have not bought clothes in a while. I think I am size 8, but I might be headed for 6 after a few more pounds loss. it is so much easier to eat whatever you want; but it feels so much better to not let bad food control you.
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Wow girl-friend. Such a great boost in over-all health. You must be feeling fantastic! You’re right about food at work. My office was situated right outside the canteen with the smell of really good pizza every day at 11:30 calling my name. It wasn’t long before I was having a pizza slice almost every lunch hour which I’m sure added up to just too much food for my frame. Of course I washed it down with a can of pop. It’s been a year since doing that. Now that habit seems so foreign to me. Funny how things change and we get new perspective of it. Thank you so much for your comment and for reading my posts. I just love comments!
You look great Marti! Good for you!
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Thanks Nancy. Another journey — ha ha! So glad to get back into my small jeans. When I actually start sleeping through the night, I’ll write another post about that and will rejoice. Never again to take sleeping for granted. Thanks again for your audience. Call me anytime. We are in lockdown again.