Sunday, August 5, 2012

Never Ask a Woman Her Weight or Age

I've long neglected this blog because the methods I was hoping would help me get healthy didn't. I have a lot of health issues I want to blog about, but when you are having health issues & feeling icky, you don't feel like blogging, then when you have the energy to do it, you're catching up on life, so don't have time. Hopefully I can make this a regular habit so I can stay accountable.

For most of my life I was thin. No, I was skinny. My aunt said her 2nd husband used to say, "She's not skinny. She's poor." I am close to 5'8" tall. When I got pregnant with my 2nd child, I weighed about 120 lbs. Yes, really. I gained about 33 lbs. that pregnancy, like the first time. The difference was that I gained 5 lbs. around my 3rd month and 10 lbs. the next month. The doctor put me on a restricted fat diet! He didn't want me to end up with pre-eclampsia. He really didn't care when I told him I was underweight to start. So, I ended up over 150 lbs.

I was able to lose some of that, but I would never see the 120's again. Gradually, after losing some of the weight, I started hitting that "almost 40" age and gained some of my weight. Then, I found out I had Celiac Disease and I needed to stay on a gluten-free diet. Many people lose weight at that point because they don't know what to eat or things taste funny. Not I. I had been cooking gluten free for a couple of years on & off for my daughter. I bought several gluten free cookbooks and tried out every gluten free flour combo I could find. I made breads, cookies, and more. Some worked, some didn't. I consoled myself by eating foods I liked that I COULD eat. Additionally, as my villi (little fingerlike projections in the intestines) began to heal, I was no longer losing my nutrients. Nope. I was keeping them. And then some. In a 7 month period I had gained 35 lbs. It took less time than my full pregnancies and I gained a couple more pounds, but didn't get a baby at the end. Not long after that I developed a strange rash that required a heavy dose of steroids. Add 10 more lbs. to the body. I leveled out for about 5 years, then last year I inched up just a few more pounds. This year, I was sick on and off for several months so I was very sedate. I also was taking different medicines to try to get well. My normal routine involves medicines that are weight gaining types, so tucking on more didn't help. Somehow I gained about 8 lbs. in a 5 month period doing nothing different, but perhaps the lack of movement and different meds caused this.

My blood pressure had also gradually gone up with the weight. Before pregnancies, when I was young and beautiful skinny, my bp was around 90/70. This year it was as high as 145/90. Not good. Especially not when hypertension runs in my family, as does high cholesterol. My primary care doctor put me on a 2 week NO CAFFEINE diet, I began eliminating more salt from my already low salt diet, and started exercising daily. After 2 weeks I was allowed to try caffeine again, and I didn't see a spike in the bp, but the 2 weeks off was enough to let me know I didn't NEED a daily Coke. Okay, so I had Caffeine Free coke at home and the taste to me was the same. Still the caffeine wasn't needed. Each week I went to the doctor's office for a blood pressure check and each week it went down. I also started taking a supplement called Blood Pressure Factors. Whatever the reason, my blood pressure did decrease and at my last appointment it was 125/80 (I THINK that was the bottom number).

The doctor also wants me to lose weight, which I knew about and told her I WANTED to do but needed to feel well enough to do it. She had lost weight with Weight Watchers, as had my niece and other friends. One lady who is an "online" buddy lost nearly 100 lbs. on WW. I looked into it, but the cost is prohibitive. I decided I'd look at the recipes, points, and so forth and try to see how I could do it on my own. I also looked at calories more closely as Phil has a friend who's lost a lot just counting calories. I even went so far as to buy some "Slim Quick" caffeine free supplements. For more than 4 weeks I've eaten much lower calories (as in 1300 or so on most days). I took the Slim Quick for a couple of weeks. I've also used Wii Fit for 41 days! Wii Fit may be a beginner program, but to go from Couch Potato to 41 days of active exercise of any sort is amazing.

And, after all of that I have lost.......about 2 lbs. Maybe. It depends on the time of day. Today I was actually at the lowest I've been since I started, which was 3 lbs. higher than I was in January. Something has to give.

I have heard advice from so many people. Besides the WW loss, some lose weight on Jenny Craig (that's out for me: priced too high and isn't gluten free), Medi-Fast (which does have a GF program, but is cost prohibitive), South Beach Diet, and/or cutting out all sugars. One friend says eat all the protein you can and no sugars, as protein is what we need to most of. On Weight Watchers you can eat what you want if you stay within the points. Others say eat all natural and you will lose weight. My Gastroenterologist joked with me that I know how to lose the weight. I asked her what she meant & she said, "Just eat gluten!" She was NOT serious so DON'T call the doctor cops on her! I even told her, "Yeah, but I'd prefer not to get lymphoma."

This week I picked up some books at the library on healthy/weight-loss eating. They vary as much as the advice I read and get from friends. One book stood out to me as I started reading, though. It's a diet that is really directed towards women, but includes some men who've lost weight. And, while it is a "diet" it is a diet in the sense of an eating plan, like the gluten free diet is. The initial "diet" is for 32 days. They don't promise anything, but they say you CAN lose up to 15 lbs. in 32 days. Then, the other folks they have in the book have lost anywhere from 6 to 11 lbs. in that time period. To me, that doesn't sound like a fad diet with extreme promises. Also, it looks like a healthy, balanced diet that I can adapt to gluten free. The first 4 days are a targeted "anit-bloating" diet that incorporates water you flavor yourself with ginger, lemon, and mint. The food you eat those 4 days is salt free (or VERY low salt), sugar free (or low sugar or natural sugar but they limit how much to stay within the calorie and sugar amounts), and low fat. Plus the foods are readily available and not highly processed. AND they are mostly foods my family will eat, too. I will salt their portions. They are used to me not salting things much and adding their own. I've heard that's better for everyone to do.

I'm purposely not telling you the name of the book yet. Can you tell? I have gone online and looked for "scam" reports about this plan. The only things I've found say it is a money scam because you pay $31.95 for the book, then if you buy the cookbook, too, it's more. They also have an online program that sounds a lot like WW Online. You get 1 month free, but then it's either $19 a month or $45 and some change for 3 months. I can see why folks thought it was gimmicky with those prices. Also, it is a form of a Mediterranean Diet, so some say they are just writing what's already out there. Others say it is just a calorie counting program. They don't talk a lot about fiber, but it is mentioned. However, the plan includes plenty of fiber and uses Omega 3 in the form of Flax Seed Oil. The main component, though not the highest amount of food you eat, is having some type of monounsaturated fat at each meal. Those are the healthy fats. They also caution to ONLY use the amount they say because, as some folks have said, fat is fat. And they are high in calories.
Because there are cookbooks you can get to go along with this and because I can make it adaptable to my family's needs, it really sounds like a good direction to try for me. Oh, the cover says you can lose weight without doing a single crunch, but inside they do suggest you exercise. They are just saying that changing your diet is going to be the main component, not doing more sit-ups.

The book is called The Flat Belly Diet and is by the people who write Prevention magazine. Remember how I said I didn't want to do WW or some others because of the price? And how I mentioned the book lists (somewhere) for over $30 plus the extra cookbooks and, if you want, some other supplemental books? This is where we have a little friend called the Public Library to start. I pay my taxes whether I use the books or not, so why not use them? I found not only the initial book, but 2 of the cookbooks at my library branch. Now that I really think I want to try this, guess what other friend I have? It starts with an "E" and ends with a "bay." $4 for the book. I meant to order the cookbook, too (there are recipes in the original book), but clicked on the "buy it now" button for a quick reference guide. So, I will be getting those 2 to start. I can keep the books for 3 weeks (or up to 9 if they aren't placed on hold). I can see this as being a good kick start to eating more natural foods (where their suggestions aren't all natural or gluten free I can amend, but they say not to eat highly processed foods and even pre-made items they list are not highly processed). It's a STEP in the right direction. I like that all the ingredients are easily available. I like that I can adapt it to my family's needs by adding some extra sides or a little salt. From what I've read if an underweight person eats this plan they will gain weight. For one of my kids that would be GREAT! I also calculated what my calorie input needs to be to maintain weight. Let's just say that even the full 1600 calories they want you to eat is way less than what my body needs to maintain my current weight!

I don't know if it will work. I do know that the foods are heart healthy and that is good for me. No, I'm not going to tell you my weight right now. However, I'm not too ladylike to tell you my age. It's a number between one and 100. : ) Okay, I'm 47. When I lose weight & am at a healthy level I might share my weight. But don't ask me. You know, it's never polite to ask a woman her age or weight!

1 comment:

  1. You know my opinion on 'diets'...... however, I will say - that if it's based on a Mediterranean diet, then it should, at least, be healthy!