But today, June 7, 2017, is my 18 month anniversary of starting my journey to better health! In some ways a year and a half ago seems like just yesterday, but in many others it seems like a lifetime ago. The person I was 18 months ago is completely different from the person I am now. This hasn't just been a journey to lose weight, it's been a journey of finding out exactly how strong I am. You don't get 250+ pounds overweight without being an emotional eater and to successfully change my life I've had to find other ways to cope with emotions, and it's made me stronger in the process. I think a lot of people, after hitting a 5 month plateau, especially with over 100 lbs still to lose, probably would have said screw it. That has honestly never crossed my mind. I know I am going to be eating this way the rest of my life, and I feel a million times better than I used to so I don't ever want to go back. Before I get into an update, I want to share some pictures and measurements with you instead of saving them for the end like I typically do.
The person on the left was me, weighing 402 pounds. I was miserable. The day that photo was taken I was walking the Vegas strip with some friends and struggling to keep up. I didn't want to be THAT person, but I couldn't help it. My friends didn't make me feel bad at all, but I knew I was holding them up. Then we went to eat at Hard Rock Cafe, and I was just praying we didn't get seated at a booth. We did. Thankfully it was one of the booths where the table could move, which meant I could fit in it. Not so thankfully, that also led to me accidentally shoving the booth into my friend who was sitting across from me. Talk about being mortified. A year later I was back in Vegas with the same friends, I was down 90 lbs. at that point, and we were all exhausted from a long day of events. We went to In 'n Out afterwards and they were packed! The only table available was, you guessed it, a booth. And it wasn't a big booth. I had not tried to sit in one since losing weight. And the friend I had shoved the table into the year before just so happened to be sitting down already - across from where I would be. I was so nervous, but I tried to sit down and was shocked when I FIT! My best friend was there and knew how nervous I was and we both just looked at each other and started crying. I'm sure we looked totally weird in the middle of In 'n Out, but that's how we roll.
I am incredibly proud of how much those measurements have changed, despite the scale being stagnant lately! I mean, I've lost 27 inches off of my hips and 16 1/4" under my bust! That's amazing to me.
I have been tweaking things, trying to get my body to start losing fat again. And I think I am still losing fat, I know I'm gaining muscle too. But I don't think I'm gaining enough muscle that I shouldn't be losing any weight at all, especially given where I am in my journey. I cut sweeteners out for quite awhile and didn't notice a change, and thoroughly tested the ones I use when I did add them back in to know they weren't affecting me negatively. I cut out dairy almost completely (I was still eating butter) for a couple of weeks and saw a slight (1 lb) dip in the scale. It did come back, plus more, after I added dairy back in. I have since cut it out completely for the last week, and plan on doing so for at least another week. So far I haven't seen any change in the scale from it, but time will tell. If anyone had any doubts about me being determined to make my body the healthiest it can be, the fact that I'm going without dairy should prove it! Cheese has always been my favorite food and I miss it so, so much!
I have also been adding in more workouts lately. Ever since I hurt my ankle at the end of December it feels like it's been one thing after another that's been hindering me. I have severe plantar fasciitis that flares up when I walk a lot so I've been walking about 3-4 times a week and doing strength training the other days. It's not easy, but it's worth it. I'm also in the process of getting some new blood work done to see if anything is going on in my body that's preventing me from losing weight.
I have recently discovered Leanne Vogel from Healthful Pursuit. Her approach to keto is a little different than most in that she recommends carb ups for certain people, and that is mostly geared towards women who have hormonal issues or need thyroid healing. It's been a huge adjustment for me to accept that carb ups could even be a possibility. Anytime I heard anyone mention "needing more carbs" or suggesting I carb up I rolled my eyes. I'm REALLY good at rolling my eyes. But listening to someone talk about it who has done a ton of research on it, as well as had real life experience, made me listen. It got me thinking about my journey a little differently.
Thanks to Facebook memories, I realized this week that a year ago, which was just 6 months into my journey, I was down 76.2 lbs. That means since this time last year I've "only" lost between 56-62 lbs (depending on which end of my plateau weight range you go by). I realize 60ish more lbs is a good thing, but it's really not that great of a loss for an entire year when you still have as much to lose as I do - especially when you lost 76 lbs in the first 6 months!
So, combining that knowledge with all I am learning from Leanne (I'm currently reading her book The Keto Diet, highly recommend it), I remembered when I first started my journey I was eating more carbs than I am now. I was still low carb, but I kept it in a range of 40-60 carbs per day. I did hit a stall point after that initial 6 months, which is when I started doing more research on keto, which led to me lowering my carbs even more - below 20 net per day. This did work very well for awhile, but since then it seems like it's been a struggle. When I plateaued again I added in intermittent fasting, which did help for awhile, then it stopped. I've done extended day fasts, which I lose great on, but once I start eating again, the weight comes back. I tried a couple extended fasts in May and my body just wasn't cooperating. I decided to take that as a sign that maybe that's not what I need to be doing right now. I still think fasting is a great tool, but I don't believe it should be forced. So I am going to continue reading her book, and I am going to try her protocol of upping my carbs slightly. I plan on starting slowly and going by how I feel. I have already done two slight carb ups the last two nights and I have to say, I have felt a lot better overall the last couple of days. It was really hard for me to add in more carbs mentally, I was extremely nervous. It made me realize the way I had been looking at food had me villifying a whole food group, and I was literally afraid of carbs. While I still believe fat is where it's at when it comes to my main fuel source, I'm coming to realize that I don't need to be afraid of a small amount of carbs. I've been doing this a year and a half and I'm fully fat-adapted, which means I can easily switch between fuel sources. The amount of glucose I get from the amount of carbs I've been eating gets burned off quickly and my body switches right back to fat burning.
In addition to the weight loss plateau I've been feeling sort of "off" the last 3-4 weeks at times. I've been getting extremely tired at times, feeling like I need a nap in the afternoons - and especially early in the evenings. Not just a little nap - I've been super tired. This is a feeling I haven't had at all since before I started losing weight, so I knew there was something going on. My blood sugar was staying level, so I knew it wasn't related to that, but something has definitely been off. I have not had any tired spells like that the last two days since doing slight carb ups in the evenings. I'm not going crazy or eating cake and ice cream. I've been adding in more veggies during the day and then having some berries at night. I can't do berries whole (texture issues), so I've been throwing them in some cashew milk with a little coconut cream and making a shake. So good! Last night I added a little cacao powder and it made it even better. I'm also trying to make sure I'm getting more nutrient dense foods. If you know me, you know I am a very picky eater and not a fan of veggies, but I'm really making an effort to include more. It's either veggies or liver, and liver ain't happening.
So, now you know where my head and my journey are right now. If you see me posting about a carb-up, you will know why. No, I'm not giving up. Quite the opposite. I'm trying to find what works best for my body.
If you're not already following me on social media, check me out at the links below! I post almost every meal I eat and share a lot of other things as well.
Thanks for reading! <3