Are You Ready for a Healthier You?
The beginning of the new year is always filled with ways to improve on our lives. So we always look at how we can save more, eat better, lose weight, exercise, and so forth. We often start off strong but then life gets in the way, we slowly but surely lose our drive with those new found goals.
A few years back I was over 100 lbs overweight but thought I was healthy as a horse. I ate what I wanted, which included many carbs for me, sweets were not my problem, carbs were. I could eat a potato mashed, fried, run over with a car; I didn’t care. I just wanted them! Then one day I had to chase my dog as she flew out the front door in pursuit of another dog. In the next few weeks I felt like something wasn’t right with my foot and I began to notice it had a small protrusion on one side. So I finally went to a Dr. who told me I had torn my Achilles tendon almost completely in half and would need surgery to repair it. Great! That’s what I wanted to hear! (Insert sarcasm here.)
I was sent to get my pre-surgery blood work done, and that’s when it all came crashing down. All of the carbs, extra weight and no exercise came to a head when a few days later the phone rang and the nurse told me I couldn’t have the surgery because I had Type II Diabetes. I was in shock. You see I had lost a husband to this disease years before and I know how devastating the disease can be and what it can do to your body.
I went back to the Dr. to see if they made a mistake. Here’s a dramatic recreation of the conversation:
Doc: “No mistake, you have it.”
Me: “No, I don’t”
Doc: “Yes, you do.”
Me: “Well, I am not keeping it!”
Doc: “OK, let’s do that.”
My determination was more than just a “New Year’s Resolution” type determination. This was a “Oh my goodness, I have let it go too far!” determination.
The first thing I did was read everything I could get my hands on and began to use all of that knowledge to try and formulate a plan that worked for me. Something I could essentially do for the rest of my life without feeling like I was losing out or not normal. I wanted to be able to hang out with friends and family and not feel like I couldn’t have something or couldn’t enjoy myself because of restrictions.
With dietary changes and diabetic medicine the Dr. gave me, I was able to get my blood sugar under enough control I could have the surgery. After the surgery I had to be in bed for quite some time, AND lose weight. I knew the weight loss was key to allowing my body to function the way it was meant to in the first place.
I knew it had to be a lifestyle change to get rid of the diabetes and weight and keep them both at bay. I also knew if I chose to lose it with exercise I wouldn’t keep it up for the rest of my life. That meant an exercise routine was out. I know I NEED to exercise, I just don’t, and I know I wouldn’t do it with any regularity, so again that was out as part of the solution for me.
Portion sizes were a big thing for me, I chose to eat correct portion sizes. So I bought a food scale and weighed the protein for my meals and made sure I didn’t overeat or snack between meals. One thing I read was that when your brain tells you you’re hungry, be sure to check with your stomach and make sure your brain is telling you the truth! When you pass a bakery you may have just filled up on lunch earlier, but the smell from the bakery makes you say, “Ohhhh… I am sooo hungry…” when in fact you are quite satisfied. You smelled the fresh bread and your brain told your stomach you were hungry, but if you stop and think and listen to your body you would find that while you could probably eat more, were you actually hungry? No.
Here are a few things I learned that helped me lose over 100 lbs:
- Your waist should be no more than 1/2 your height in inches. So, if you are 5’5”, that would make you 65” tall, so your waist should be no larger than 32.5”.
- Don’t be fooled by your sense of smell into thinking you are hungry when you’re not.
- It takes 2 weeks to make a new habit, you can teach the brain anything new in 2 weeks.
- Belly fat is called Omentum and it squeezes your kidneys and that causes high blood pressure. It poisons your liver and causes high cholesterol. It also blocks insulin, causing diabetes. All of that is caused by belly fat.
- A growling stomach isn’t a hungry stomach, it’s just your stomach acid digesting what’s in there! So, truly – don’t laugh – so many times in my life I heard my stomach growling and said, “I MUST be hungry!” I wasn’t hungry, but if my stomach was “talking”, well then I MUST be hungry and just don’t know it! What a joke!
- Watch a thin, healthy person eat. They don’t eat it if it doesn’t look good – What?! That one helped me a ton!
Side note: One day after my surgery, my sons got some fast food and came over to visit me. I watched one of them (they are both thin, but, one is really thin) bite a piece off of a french fry and throw the other half in the trash bag. I demanded to know why he would throw away a perfectly good fry. He said because the other side was brown…WHAT?!! I saw it, it was brown, but it wasn’t moldy or dirty (I’m not sure, in the past, that any of those situations would have kept me from eating it!). I was shocked! Basically if it doesn’t look good, he won’t eat it. If it doesn’t taste good he won’t eat it. And… if he isn’t hungry, he won’t eat it. All of this was foreign to me – I was used to cleaning my plate. Bad, good, or ugly, the job had to get finished and I was your girl.
Using what I had learned in 6 months with a good portion of that time spent in bed recovering from my surgery and unable to exercise, I lost 60 lbs and was able to stop taking medicine for the diabetes. It’s been 5 years and I lost of over 100 lbs, have maintained my weight and I don’t have diabetes anymore (my Dr.’s words), and I don’t feel deprived of anything!
Whatever your health goals are for the new year, make realistic changes to your lifestyle, ones you can maintain without feeling deprived. You’’ll be less likely to give it up!