Monday, March 21, 2011

Weighty Issues...How I Lost It....

I feel like this post needs to have about a billion disclaimers at the top. A number of you (as well as friends at home) have asked how I lost the weight.

So let me please be very very VERY clear - this is what worked for me. And only for me. I don't pretend to know everything about health, diet, nutrition, wellness. There are lots of people who are far more expert than I am.

But this is what happened.... Back in August, there were some stressful things that happened and I had a night where it was so bad, that I literally didn't sleep. Lay awake all night with my mind a-whirring. After that, I had almost no appetite for several days. Which is SO not like me at all.

I do love my food. I think I have been blessed with a metabolism that is better than it should be, and I guess I've been spoiled by that. I've always loved my food. And have the unhealthy habit of eating fast - my mom had 2 brothers and my dad grew up in boarding schools. That's the only way to you can eat in either of those situations.

So after a couple days on not eating much, I snapped out of it. But when I did, I just wasn't as hungry anymore. Very hard to explain. Maybe my body reset itself? But all of a sudden, I stopped eating just because I could and instead ate when I was hungry. Maybe I needed to be able to stop and listen to what my body was telling me. We all get so used to eating whenever it’s easy, convenient, etc. Oh look, yummy food, I think I’ll have some. (again with the disclaimers, I don’t claim this is anyone else’s issue – it’s mine)

So the bottom line is that I waited to be hungry. Food became a means to an end, not the end itself. I remember reading an article in one of the billions of magazines I get where the writer very closely observed the uber-thin editors, etc during Fashion Week.  Her conclusion?  Yes, they ate, they just ate less.  It wasn't magic for them, it was conscious effort.

So there are lots of platitudes here I could spout, but it really all comes down to being in tune with my body and really listening to it. And when I did, the weight started just falling off. I lost about 15 lbs from August to October. I even resorted to some minor self-sabotage by eating random junk food when I was worried that I was losing it too quickly. We all know that losing weight too quickly is not good or healthy.

Does this work forever? No, absolutely not. In fact, a few pounds started to creep back while I had the whole cast/splint on thumb thing going on with my thumb…because I was eating when bored. So for Lent, to get back on track, I gave up sweets and snacking while the kids were at school or asleep. It’s actually a modification of my Lenten diet when the year after I had E – no eating when they were asleep. Since I had an almost-1-year-old and an almost-3-year-old, there were lots of naps and early bed times. Again, you don’t realize (or at least I didn’t) how much unconscious eating we all do.

Is it exercise?  No.  I do try to stay active, except when I'm being lazy (see note above on cast/splint).  I do have this to help keep me active:

But I honestly don't do enough activity for that to shed lots of pounds.  I'm not running 10 miles a day or swimming a billion laps. 

I will say, and I speak as one with the experience of having a parent who had a heart attack and needed heart surgery, exercise and activity is important.  **It's essential.**  Quite frankly, it's the reason my dad is still with us - if he hadn't been as active, I doubt he would have survived. Nothing like waiting in the cardiac cath lab for a supposed minor stent surgery after a minor heart attack that was only detectable from the blood chemical levels - and then finding out 4 major arteries are almost totally blocked and require a quadruple bypass.  But exercise is not what's going to take the weight off me.  And this is a weight conversation. Or at least it's my weight conversation.

I guess this all sounds very simplistic, but it really worked. For me, it’s about focusing on what my body is telling me. It’s ok to be a little hungry. Please don’t take this as an endorsement for eating disorders. But with our self-gratifying society, it’s so easy to do with food. (Speaking from personal experience.)

And it’s still ok to enjoy your food. You should enjoy your food.  I still enjoy my food. That’s for sure!! But I just don’t need to eat as much.

So I’m getting back on track and in tune. Not that I want to lose more weight – just be healthier and more conscious. And start to tone up more. Next step for me…yoga…so important as we age (flexibility!!!) but also should help with my neck/shoulder/stress issues.

Again...with my disclaimers...this is what worked for me.  I don't presume to know what works for everyone.  But if you want to shoot me a note, you can always use my blog email on my profile, which is


Pamela said...

Thanks for sharing this information, Heidi! I know I have a habit of mindless eating. I try and make a rule for myself that I am not allowed to eat the kitchen island, standing up, while checking email, blogs, or reading magazines! I can seriously eat half a bag of chips that way!!! I also try and not to buy a lot snacky foods that are not healthy because if I don't have them, I can't eat them! You look great and you definately sound like you know what you are doing and are on top of your health. I love hearing that!

Pamela said...

um, that was suppose to say, "eat AT the kitchen island", not eat the island! THAT would be a problem!!

gigiofca said...

So svelte! You're looking fantastic. You always looked great, but a little lean has never been mean in my book ;-). Corniferous. What can I say, I'm a knee slapper.

I think you make some important points about your 'tactic,' as it were. I've subscribed to the 5 small meals/day and that can create fixation. What will I eat. Is it balanced w/proteins & carbs. And so on. It creates more stress & press at times because I'm eating to squeeze meals in. Lately I've just been eating when I feel hungry. This includes a bowl of cereal at 11p. Small bowl, but still. It's what my body wants. I wake up feeling good and I've been maintaining the same weight for awhile. Usually we want to go down, but at least I'm not going up unnecessarily. I think my body may do better w/less food and/or just food when I really want it.

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. :-)

NantucketDaffodil said...

You look wonderful and have inspired me!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for sharing your story, you made some great points. Too often when a person goes on a diet you crave what you can't have all the time, by eating when you are only hungry you do not feel deprived.

Exercise is important, I have recently been diagnosed with high cholestrol even though Ihave lost and maintained 35 lbs. It has scared me to me more mindful of my eating, even though I am typing this after eating a piece of cake lol. at least I try to be good at least 80% of the time.

Kathy said...

You really look great! Happy and healthy! My Dad also had some heart problems a few years ago and his healthy lifestyle is what saves him too.

Cleo said...

You look great, Heidi

It's happened to me that having forgotten to eat, I ceased mindless eating because I lost the cravings. For me it's a matter of staying away from white carbs and sugar for a stint and then "magically" I only have a desire to eat when I'm hungry. I still have to work out though in order not to gain. My metabolism is not high, unfortunately.

RosaLovesDC said...

You look great lady!

HeidiG said...

Pamela - you made my day...every morning I will now come downstairs and contemplate actually eating the kitchen island, lol!!! But yes, that nimdless eating is a bugger. Have you read French Women Don't Get Fat? She makes a big point about intentional eating a really enjoying it! Plus, it's just a fun read. :)

gigiofca - corniferous, hehe. Good point on the stress of certain eating plans - I could never be that disciplined!

Nantucket Daffodil - thank you!

Anon - you are so right about the important of exercise!! (I had Fritos with dip for lunch yesterday.)

Kathy - Thank you!

Cleo - so true - they're all such addictions aren't they?

Rosa - thank you!