I got on the scale this morning expecting good news and I got it. You see, good news has been the norm lately. Since a couple of weeks before Christmas of 2016, about seven and a half months ago, I’ve lost 54 pounds. Weight loss hasn’t been super easy, it hasn’t been super quick. But it has been pretty smooth. It has been swifter than other times I’ve tried.
And I’ve tried so many times before. I’ve tried so many different things. I think I’ve been to at least 50 or 60 Weight Watchers meetings in person and have spent oh so many hours online logging points. I’ve tried Atkins (for about 60 seconds), I’ve tried crazy exercise kicks, gym memberships, South Beach, even something religion-based called Weigh Down (she said if I didn’t spank my children and obey my husband I wouldn’t succeed–dropped her like a hot potato!).
Craziest of all, I tried a barbaric surgical procedure that made my life a misery for over two years. More on that later, but suffice it to say, I don’t recommend surgery AT ALL.
For YEARS my doctor tried to get me to do one simple thing to lose weight. I resisted because I figured if I couldn’t count points, I couldn’t count calories. Yup, that’s all he wanted me to do. Count calories. I gave it a few half-hearted attempts, but it was hard. Whah!! I finally told him I just don’t want to ’cause it’s too much trouble! He was like, Girl, math was hard for you in high school, wasn’t it? But you got through it because you had to graduate, right? Well, you want your life diploma don’t you? Time to knuckle down and study for calculous because yes it’s hard but I’m out to save your joints and I’m out to save your life.
He told me all he was asking for was 90 days. 90 days to get it figured out. After that, portion control would be instinctual and I would automatically know how many calories I was getting with each mouthful.
Five days before my thirty-fourth birthday, I waited impatiently and excitedly in a cheerful surgical waiting room to be called back for a life-altering procedure. I was getting a Lap-Band, the latest technology in weight loss; cutting edge stuff that was going to finally give me the body and the health that I had craved all my adult life.
Since puberty I had been fat. Really fat. I had never known what it was like to wear a bikini. I had no clue what it was like to wear a slinky dress. I had always struggled to fit in. I had even walked down the aisle in a plus size wedding gown. But today…today was the day all that changed for good. What I didn’t know was that I was in for more than two years of hell. Two years of terrible health while my body struggled to adjust to this strange new device strangling my stomach and a nerve I hadn’t even known existed–the vegal nerve which runs from your brain to your heart to your stomach.
When things go wrong with this nerve, terrible, chemo-level nausea can set in, your appetite disappears, and dizziness, light-headedness, and heart palpitations become your constant companions.
To “fix” me, the surgeon (who never believed me) cut me back open the day before my youngest boy’s fourth birthday (what did he have against birthdays anyway?) and, instead of severing the nerve as my primary care doctor and I had requested, he twisted my stomach around the band and stapled it in place, further pinching the nerve. I woke up in hideous distress and had to be hospitalized for two more days just to control the pain and nausea, while being kept on a nourishment IV because I could not eat anything, not even Jell-O.
About a year and a half after that, after suffering from complication after complication, and losing 100 pounds only to gain it all back, I finally had another surgeon remove the satanic device.
This may sound like an isolated incident. And indeed my case is somewhat unique. But truth be told, I went though the surgery with several friends at approximately the same time. NOT ONE OF US SUCCEEDED. My primary care doctor, who had researched the subject inside and out and had even been to my surgeon’s home for dinner, recommended the procedure to a lot of his patients at the same time as he did to me. NOT ONE OF THEM SUCCEEDED. Now neither of us can or will recommend it to anyone for any reason. It does not work.
Think about it. If you are addicted to food and your stomach is surgically made smaller, you’ll just eat smaller portions but more often. You eat around the surgical changes, the surgical changes don’t fix the addiction.
Have you heard the phrase, “It’s not the east way, it’s the only way?” It’s a dirty lie! There IS another way. And you don’t have to spend a dime if you don’t want to. If you are hell bent on doing this, I suggest going full out bypass.
But consider this: Bypass is often NON REVERSIBLE. If something that bad happened to me with a little plastic noose, how much worse might it have been if my stomach had been dissected. PLEASE give my method a try for 90 days. It’s worth a shot isn’t it? You don’t have to buy a single thing I’m selling.You’re smart, you can figure out how to do it without gadgets or fancy proteins. I’m begging you to try this. What have you got to lose but 90 days?
With a deep, put-upon sigh, I went home and signed up for Spark People, a free web site that helps you count calories. I started entering every bite of food that went into my mouth. And I have a secret for you. SSSSHHHHH! Don’t tell my doctor!! I only did it for a month!! After that, I had a really good idea of how many calories I was consuming and how big my portion sizes should be.
It WAS hard at first. I was pretty hungry for the first few days. Eating 1600 calories a day seems like depravation at first. In fact, if I had it to do over again, I would have started at 2000, gone down to 1800 a week later, THEN gone down to 1600 a week later after that. It would have been much easier.
1600 is a little low and you don’t have to stick to that. There are plenty of days when I go up to 1800. On celebratory days and holidays (and movie days and days when I’m feeling a little Luke Skywalkerish–long live the Rebellion!), I’m happy to go up to 2000–I just know I won’t be losing anything those days. And that’s perfectly ok. 1 or 2 pounds a week is a perfectly healthy loss. Losing 3 or 4 pounds in a week sure is fun though!
Be sure to get plenty of protein. You want to make sure about half of your calories are coming from this important building block of health. A healthy adult needs at least 60 grams of protein a day. 80-100 is even better. Lean, dense protein such as meat, beans, nuts, eggs, and cheese (in moderation) are good choices. Next up of course are fruits and veggies. I get mostly fruit, though I do sneak spinach and strawberry tops into my smoothie. And, this may surprise you, the next important food group is treats. Yes, treats. It’s important to get a cup of popcorn here, a fancy gourmet bottle of root beer there, and the occasional Halloween-sized Snickers bar. Why? So you don’t feel deprived. I’d take a Toblerone over white rice any day.
Note: This post contains affiliate links which means that f you click on one and make a purchase, I make a small commission. You are under no obligation to do so. This article is written to be helpful and you can use this method without gadgetry or expensive anythings. However, if you do make a purchase, know that you are supporting a stay at home mom and her hard working family. Thank you!!
To supplement the protein factor, I love to make a smoothy for my family every night with yogurt, milk and a heaping scoop of whey protein. My absolute, all time favorite whey is Banana flavored Syntha-6. O.M.Garsh. It is so freaking good whipped together with a fresh banana, milk, yogurt, frozen strawberries and other frozen fruit, frozen spinach (not too much or your kids will catch you!!), and a little sweetener of your choice. I use the Ninja Master Prep Blender, which is by far the easiest blender I’ve ever used (once you’ve read the directions!). It’s also easy to clean IF you rinse it right after you’ve whipped up your fancy schmancy creation. If not, there are a few crags and crannies that goo can get trapped in and you’ll have to soak the lid particularly in some hot water and bleach if that happens. Otherwise, just pop it in the dishwasher with your dinner dishes and you’re ready to go for the next evening! (Click on any of the pictures to be taken to the products!
Crazy Good Banananana Yummyness
Best Blender Ev-Er
I’m a big fan of protein bars IF you can find a bar you like. There are precious few out there that taste like anything other than the cardboard they come it. But I’ve found a few I like:
Cookie Ice Cream Anyone?
Glazed Donuts You Say???
Another tool in your toolbox of course is exercise, though it isn’t the be all, end of of weight loss. Exercise is more about strength–in your joints, your core, your back, and all your muscles. Strong muscles lead to a stronger metabolism, which, in truth, leads to faster weight loss. Though you can lose weight without exercising (I didn’t exercise at all while I was losing that 100 pounds and at the moment all I’m doing is walking a bit), it really is a win win for you and your body if you do. My husband swears by his FitBit and I will be asking for one for Christmas. Here’s the one I want plus a couple of other pretty choices:
It will be mine!
Blingy Blue Band
Pretty in Purple
The weight loss journey should be a slow and steady one. There isn’t a magic pill. There isn’t a quick fix. Even surgery is a brutal and difficult row to hoe and is a decision that should never be taken lightly. There is another way though. I hope you’ll consider it. I have lots more pounds to shed. You are not alone. Let’s do this together. It’s hard enough to lose weight. The journey should be a shared one.
What have you found success with? Is there an app or book out there we should know about? Have you been having fun with a FitBit or a snazzy new piece of equipment? Or do you enjoy a morning walk around the neighborhood? Let’s bolster each other up! Encourage each other in the comments below!