Sunday, November 20, 2011
Ten months in
It's been ten months since I started my experiment in healthy living, and I am happy to report that I can now look at a photograph of myself without cringing. When I saw the photos from last year's family reunion, I cried. I hated the way I looked; and I hated the way I felt. I was unhealthy, uncomfortable, and scared. I knew I was in bad shape, but I didn't think there was anything I could do to change it. I was almost afraid to try; I'd heard so many people tell me that after 50 the body goes downhill and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.
So, back in late January of this year, I decided that even if losing weight was not possible, I could eat a healthy diet for four months and see if it made me feel better. Yes, I secretly - okay, not so secretly - hoped the weight would come off, and I would look better, but I wasn't counting on it. I decided to cut out refined sugars and processed foods, eat mostly fresh vegetables and fruit, and slowly decreased my portion sizes. I made sure that I ate a good breakfast first thing every morning - usually plain yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts - and, if I want to snack, I have a few nuts or some unsweetened dried fruit (check those labels!). I promised myself that I would stick to it for four months because my birthday was four months away, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I told myself that if I had lost enough weight to go down a size, then I would ask my husband to take me clothes shopping for my birthday. If I hadn't lost any weight, then I'd ask him to buy a dozen doughnuts for my birthday breakfast, and I'd do a face plant that evening in my own birthday cake. I had a plan, and I was sticking to it. I can do anything for four months; I figured that was enough time to see results, if it was going to work; if it wasn't, then I could rest assured that I'd given it a good try, and I could go back to eating all the things I loved. In excess, of course.
I can admit something now that I couldn't say back in January, 2011 - although I could squeeze myself into a pair of size 8, spandex enhanced, lowrider jeans, it wasn't a pretty sight. My "real size" was more like a 16, but I was clinging to the myth that I was a size 8. How bad could I be if I was a size 8? Well, I wasn't a size 8 then, but I was after four months of healthy eating. No more squeezing. The spandex didn't have to expand, and my cell phone fit into my pocket without bulging. In the fitting room, I managed to squeeze myself into a pair of size four, spandex enhanced lowrider jeans, but I didn't buy them. I liked the way I looked in the size 8 pants. I liked the way I felt in the size 8 pants. I bought some new tops, and a pair of loose-fitting, size 8 cargo pants, and decided to go for another four months of healthy eating.
I'm now halfway through my third set of four months, and I'm wearing size 6 jeans. Comfortably. Loosely, even. And I don't even know what size I could "squeeze myself into" because I haven't tried squeezing for 6 months. Although I still have horrible cravings for sweets, they don't taste the way I remember - when I do give in and take a bite of something sweet, I don't really enjoy it like I think I will. Truth be told, I miss dessert; I loved sweets, and it makes me sad that I've lost that enjoyment. On the other hand, though, fruit tastes really, really good to me now - so sweet! - and I get to eat it every day. Guilt-free. For breakfast, even.
The holidays are upon us. Will I be able to handle it? I will eat some pumpkin pie, but not the baklava. I think fudge is behind me; it doesn't even really sound good. But I might make some really, really dark chocolate truffles rolled in unsweetened cocoa. Eggnog? no, I don't think so. Half a cup of eggnog in my coffee was my favorite treat from Thanksgiving until the last carton was gone at the supermarket, but I think I'll give it a miss this year. I am thinking of treating myself to spoonful of a homemade alternative: heavy cream, vanilla and nutmeg. Just a spoonful, though. I've actually gotten rather used to taking my coffee black.
I'll make up a pan of shortbread, because I adore Christmas cookies, and I don't want to give them up. I know that the super-sweet ones most likely will not taste good to me anymore; but I still want to have something to nibble on in front of the fire after the tree has been trimmed.
I'll let you know next month how it goes; it will be nearly Christmas by then.