Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Losing It! - A Weight Loss Journey

Part I

This post has been on the tips of my fingers for months. Up until now, I wasn't going to post about it for the following reason:

Everyone who knows me, knows I've never been obese. A tad bit heavy, maybe. Obese, no. So, you're asking yourself, "How can she dare share her weight loss story? She doesn't know a thing about being fat."

I was afraid of offending people who have had life-long weight loss struggles and didn't want to come off as preachy. However, weight loss stories can be inspiring and you know what, it's fricken hard to do. So, I decided to post about it.

What you may not know is that I am an over-eater. I'm passionate about food and I love to cook and bake. However, I do not have portion control and I tend to be lazy when it comes to exercise. I can make any excuse to eat and eat a lot of it. Brownies? I'll make a whole batch, my family will each have one. I'll eat the rest in a day or two. It doesn't even help if I freeze them. I'll dig in the freezer and eat them frozen.

Last year, during a routine physical, I found out my cholesterol was hoovering near the high range. As a 30-year-old, premenopausal woman, this was alarming. My father, not yet 60, has struggled with high cholesterol for over two decades. My doctor warned me that I, most likely, had inherited his genetic factor. He didn't mention that I should lose weight, however, if I had really listened to what he was saying, I would have have heard what I didn't want to hear.

Then, one night this summer, I stepped on the scale and noticed that I was tipping the scales at a weight I had never been (aside from being pregnant). I walked downstairs, got on the computer and Googled for an obesity calculator. I held my breath as I entered my height and weight in the BMI calculator. One click of the mouse and there it was: I was in the overweight range. I walked upstairs, my head spinning with the truth, crawled into bed and had a good cry. Up until college, I was nagged each year by my family doctor to gain weight. Each year, he was alarmed at how thin I was and encouraged me to eat more. As I stared at the ceiling that night, I thought, "How did I let myself get this way?" Lila was nearly two. Baby-making was no longer a valid excuse.

I then contemplated the facts:

  • I was low on energy and tired all the time. Even after a good night's sleep.
  • I had a double chin and my largest-fitting jeans were getting snug.
  • While I had cut out trans fats, HFCS and other additives out of my diet, I was still eating too much food. A low-fat, whole-grain muffin isn't healthy after you've ate five of them in one sitting.

  • I had obesity, high cholesterol and Type II Diabetes in my immediate family.

  • While my BMI didn't fall into the obese category, it did fall into the overweight range. I knew how easily it could spiral out of control and knew, without a doubt, that I was at a very high risk for disease.

My journey began in August and it started with this book (see Amazon sidebar for link):

This is not a fad diet book (I do NOT believe in fad diets - Atkins, Southbeach, etc. - more on that later). It's a book about sensible eating. What fats to eat, which fats to avoid. How to calculate your BMI and disease risks, make a few simple changes to decrease your waistline, maintain your weight and live a longer, healthier life. The recipes in the book are easy, delicious and portion controlled. Part One of the book outlines a "Healthy Heart Lifestyle Plan." Lifestyle is the key word. Part Two has recipes. Including easy make-overs of comfort foods (lasagna, for example).

My weight loss did not start and end with this book. Anyone who has lost weight knows reading a book and making a few recipes is only the tip of the iceberg. It's a constant, often depressing, sometimes empowering, battle. I'll call it a journey.

I've lost 20-pounds and shaved 13-points off my cholesterol. It's now down in a very normal, healthy range. It has not been easy and throughout future posts, I'll share with you small pieces of my journey. If I happen to get a lot of response, I may start up a separate blog about it. I would love to hear weight-loss stories from anyone who has one. If you want to share it, but, don't want everyone knowing who you are, feel free to email (narsenau at hotmail dot com) me or post an anonymous comment entry.


Angie said...

I so need to get back to exercising. I have been doing NOTHING, and I can really tell the difference. I have also been eating a lot of CRAP lately. And, Allen is all super healthy and thinner than ever, plus gripes at me about what I put in my mouth.

Jay and Amie said...

Great job Nat! I look forward to following your posts about this subject. If you have any favorite recipes, make sure to share them too!!

The Dunns said...

Good post! I'm excited to hear more. Thanks for the motivation.

Kristin & Jeff said...

OHhh when Jeff is home I am good. Last summer I really got into running. I ran 5K's and got upto running 6 miles. Its taken me 10+ years to enjoy running. THen the cold hit in, deployment upon us and what did I do - put back on the 15 pounds that I Had despartley worked so hard to get rid of. So here I am doing portion control - trying not to over eat and eat when I am lonely.... hard to do!