Trying to Make it in the Real World


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I'm a W30 veteran, but haven't actually done a full 30 days in a very long time.  I have 6 complete rounds under my belt over the last 10-15 years, but I took about a 5 year hiatus and then started and stopped several times during lock-down.  Most recently, I started this past September, but didn't get beyond the two week mark.  

I ended up back on this forum today.  I'm not really sure why.  But I do know it helps me to journal.  So I'm going to journal here, while I contemplate whether or not I want to start an April W30.  Since last September, I've been inconsistent with my eating habits.  I'll do exceptionally well for days, even a few weeks, only to find myself sitting in the McDonald's drive-thru.  My weight has been stagnant.  I'm about 50 lbs overweight.  

Back in January, my doctor told me he wanted me to consider bariatric surgery.  This was a complete and utter shock to me.  Am I really that heavy?  Do I look that bad?  He pointed out that my weight had been fairly steady over the last 5 years.  This is true - I gained a bunch of weight (I'd like to blame it on my knees and not being able to workout, or on perimenopause, but the reality is my diet is crap) and I have failed to lose any of it for any length of time.  The other thing was he wanted me to take a statin as my cholesterol is a little elevated.  Uh-uh, no, not doing it.  And so the real lifestyle change began.  

I have a good base of healthy habits, know what works for me, but I'm just sometimes too lazy to do it.  But since January, this is what I've done:

-Joined Street Parking, an on-line exercise/lifestyle resource. Similar to Crossfit (which I'm also a veteran of) but even more accepting of people of all different abilities.  They preach consistency above all else.  Something is better than nothing.  This is really working well for me.  I'm getting in some type of workout at least 4-5 days a week.  And not suffering from excessive pain, achiness, or injury.  This is huge - I used to go all out, get hurt, and be laid up for a week or more.  Same cycle, all the time.  Now, I can do the actual or a modified version of the daily workout.  Or do an endurance workout.  Or pick something else.  Today for instance, my plan was to do the kettlebell swing/box jump (well, low jump for me) combo then work on my deadlifts.  The kb/jumps only took about 15 minutes to get through, but my lower back was feeling a little tight afterward.  So I scrapped the DLs for today.  I would have never done that before-I would have pushed through.  And probably be icing my back tonight.    

-Joined a CSA.  The winter vegetables were wonderful, and forced me to prepare and eat them.  The spring one starts April 1.  

-Keep track of stuff.  Steps, exercise, sleep, diet.  I'm not good about tracking foods every day, but I have a Fitbit that tracks everything else.  I can see the changes in my resting heart rate.  I can see how much better I'm doing with my activity level.  During lockdown, I was averaging a little over 2,000 steps/day (!!!!!)  I have made a concerted effort to get at least 8,000 a day.  I'm doing well with this.  I'm definitely not conserving steps like I used to.  Part of the issue is I have significant osteoarthritis in both knees, that I'm trying to ride out until I'm a little older to have surgery.  But, I've discovered that moving more I actually feel better, not worse.    

-Lost 10 pounds since January.  Not great, but not terrible.  Something is better than nothing.  

-Started limiting my carbs.  I decided about a week and a half ago that I don't have to go full-blown W30/paleo, I can work toward that awful word - "moderation".  I have since worked in tacos, cauliflower crust pizza, oatmeal, red wine, a York peppermint patty, a Reese's mini peanut butter cup, and a meal at a Mexican restaurant.  And stayed below my first week's goal of 125g of carbs per day.  This week, my goal is 120g.  This is very doable for me, and feels like true Food Freedom for once in my life.  At least so far.  I feel deprived of nothing.  I am tracking my foods in Myfitnesspal.  But I don't care about the calories, just the carbs.  I've lost 2 additional pounds since starting this, so I'll keep at it.  I do worry about what might happen...the one Reese's cup might not be satisfactory when the glamour of this "new" approach wears off.  We will see. 

-Practice yin yoga 4 or more days a week.  I started this during the pandemic, and have really gotten into a good routine with it, through YouTube videos.  Yin is a restorative, more meditative, practice, focused on holding poses for longer periods of time (usually 3-5 minutes) and concentrating on breath, presence, clear-mindedness.  

 

So  this is where I am.  I'm sleeping well, I feel good, my skin looks decent.  The true test will be when I go back to the doctor the end of April.  I'm hoping my cholesterol is back in the normal range and my weight is down enough he won't mention bariatric surgery again.  This is part of the reason that I'm not sure if I want to do an April W30....I'm making very positive progress with my lifestyle changes.  Will a W30 throw me into overdrive, such that when I get a good report from my doctor, I'm done?  Back to old habits?  I'm carefully contemplating....

 

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Continuing to work well within my parameters.  I had wings (traditional, with dry rub), a cheesesteak in a salad, and a hard cider this weekend.  All worked within my carb limit.  This is where I need to decide if I want to go for the full clean-up required for a W30, or hold where I am for a while.  The rest of my week, my diet is good.  I'm eating lots of vegetables, clean meats, and homemade sauces and dressings.  I use W30 compliant ingredients (including spices) because I have them.  It is nice to be thoughtful but not really restricted in what I eat on the weekends, though.  

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It's generally been a good week, and I've hit my 120g or less of carbs goal every day.  Except for yesterday.  But I learned a lesson-vegetables have carbs, and when you eat a lot of them, they add up.  I figured out my plan for lunch, which involved carry-out.  I decided that I could have one piece of bread - it's really good and I felt that it was worth the carbs, I would have meat and vegetables for dinner.  When I put my dinner in the tracker, I was 10g over for the day.  Bell peppers, onion, tomato, mushrooms, greens...they added up to 27 g total!  I wasn't expecting that.  But now I know.  

I think I'm going to continue what I'm doing and not do a W30 in April.  I like eating oatmeal for breakfast and having the occasional glass of wine.  I've successfully managed these things for the last 2 weeks.  I like being able to have a taco, if it works with my day.  I don't really need a W30 as a way to check my reactions to foods - I know that I'm likely to bloat if I eat gluten (yesterday's 1 piece of bread = puffy ankles) and I get GI distress with most dairy products.  For the most part, I'm sticking with whole, unprocessed foods, lots of vegetables and grass-fed meats.   This is the first time ever that I've felt like I can really sustain this...with W30, I usually continued beyond 30 days but always thinking about what would happen if I messed up and then I would mess up.   

Exercise has been good - I've walked every day, done 2 HIIT workouts, 1 strength, 1 endurance.  I've done yoga each evening.  I have a little muscle soreness and a feeling of tiredness.  And I'm sleeping well.    

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The weekend was a little challenging, in the sense that there were lots of situations posed to me that I could have very easily said, "what the hell" and gone over the cliff.  But I didn't.  

Saturday:  I knew I was getting together with friends Saturday night and that we would be having a dinner of cauliflower crust pizza, salad, and a peach vinaigrette dressing that one of my friends found.  And we would be drinking wine.  I arranged my day carb-wise to account for these:  eggs and kale for breakfast, W30 compliant sausages and blistered green beans for lunch.  I felt confident and in control for dinner and wine.  We stuffed Easter eggs with all of the good candy...I was not tempted at all.  Afterward, one friend brought out dark chocolate covered pretzels.  I ate one, then lamented about having the taste in my mouth and wanting more.  Supportive friends and my second glass of wine got me over that 3 minute craving.  

Sunday:  I was more hungry than usual at breakfast and ended up eating complaint bacon and leftover cauliflower pizza, so my carbs were up a little.  While I was working through wanting something else to munch on, a friend called to make a lunch date.  We went to a local bbq place and I got brisket and coleslaw.  I ate about 3/4 of the cornbread that came with it.  I was satisfied all afternoon.  That night we had a family dinner, but I was making it.  My MIL offered to bring mac and cheese, which was great - I had planned to make risotto (which I love), but her dish replaced that.  And I don't like her mac and cheese!  Win-win for me.  I also made brownies for the kids, which I knew I could resist.  Chicken piccata with Paleo Powder coating, asparagus and green beans, a delicious, low-carb dinner.  I wasn't planning on dessert, but my MIL unexpectedly made the most beautiful lemon-blueberry bundt cake.  I hadn't paid any attention to it in the cake tin, until she brought it out.  I decided to have a slice since it's one of my favorites, and I knew my carbs had been low all day, so what if I went a little bit over?  I discovered later that the cake had nearly my entire carb allotment for the day.   I'm not going to beat myself up though - it was a delicious cake and a real treat.  Even though my carb count for the day was near 200, I had eaten lots of vegetables and was conscientious about my choices.  That's all I want to do, is be conscientious.  Not throw in the towel because of an imperfect breakfast, and imperfect lunch, and a piece of cake.  

Despite the extra carbs, I was able to recover well on Monday.  I'm thinking having a high-carb breakfast of oatmeal helped reset me.  

I feel successful...I was one pound up on the scale this morning (I did not weigh myself yesterday as I knew I would be up) but I feel in control and know that I'm on track for food freedom.  

 

 

 

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It's been an interesting week...I documented the weekend above, then on Tuesday my husband wanted to go out for dinner and drinks for his birthday.  I wasn't prepared for that, but I really feel like I did ok with it.  My first drink was a vodka with fresh squeezed orange juice-it seemed the best thing on the menu, but I had forgotten about carbs in juice for some reason.  Second drink was a vodka and soda.  Much better choice carb-wise.  We split Korean tacos as an appetizer.  After enjoying some time at that place, we went to a different restaurant for dinner.   There were so many high-carb choices on the menu.  I ended up ordering a charcuterie (we split that) and a chicken Caesar salad (and a glass of wine).  And was perfectly delighted and not overly full.  And able to easily not order dessert despite the birthday, and the drinks in my system (over several hours, but still no issues with inhibition-yay!)  Needless to say, my carb count was way over for the day. 

Even so, I was easily back on track yesterday.  

Three out of five days were challenging.  And yet I don't feel like I'm struggling.  That's unusual for me.  I'm usually fighting myself and my cravings.  I think it's because I'm approaching with a slightly different mindset.  Not an all-or-nothing mentality.  

I do crave getting back to routine, though.  I have missed my yoga due to activities each evening since Friday.  Hopefully, tonight I can get back to it.  

 

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I ended up making banana muffins and banana bread on Sunday due to an overabundance of bananas.  The muffins were gluten and sugar free, made with oatmeal.  The bread was a regular recipe bread.  I gave away the vast majority of the muffins (all but 4), kept the bread.  I kind of gorged on the baked goods on Sunday...then had a slice of bread after dinner on Monday night.  Since then, though, I've been back on track.  

The other thing about Sunday was that my husband wanted to order Italian subs for dinner, I agreed.  Hell, I'd already thrown in the towel for the day (old, unproductive mindset!!!).  I had the worst heartburn of my life that night - I had to sleep sitting up.  A well-deserved punishment!

The rest of this week has gone well.  I've actually packed my lunch all week, which is a challenge for me.  I've kept up with my workouts and yoga.  

Next week, I go to get bloodwork done in preparation for my doctor's appointment the following week.  I really think I've made the positive changes that I've needed to lower my cholesterol.  My weight has not changed as drastically as I had hoped, though.  I still have two weeks, and I need to lose 5 pounds to be where I wanted to be at my next appointment.  I keep waiting for the boom, when the diet and exercise effects finally come together and I get a big whoosh of weight loss.  Maybe it won't happen at this stage of my life?  Maybe it won't happen because I take a diuretic now, and so there isn't a loss of water weight?  Regardless, I feel and look so much better now than I did 3 months ago.  Plus it feels pretty easy most days.  Maybe I need to make it a little harder for myself, at least over the next two weeks.  Something to think about.  

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been doing a pretty good job of living Food Freedom.  Most of my days are spot on, just where I want to be.  It's helping to keep a food log.  I'm sticking with the exercise and yoga.  I feel really good.   I'm now 15 lbs down since January, though there's been some fluctuation within that number.  One morning, I was 20 lbs down, but since I haven't seen that number again in over a week, I think I may have been standing on the scale wrong.  Otherwise, I'm eating LOTS of vegetables, an occasional taco, a glass of wine here and there.  I have had a few "off the deep end" days, but I've recovered from them, back on track.  

My great disappointment this week was getting back my cholesterol numbers.  I was down only 4 points in total cholesterol.  My triglycerides and VLDL are good, but my total and VDL are still high.  All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing.  

 

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Hello! I really related to your posts. Being married for 36 years...it is easy for me to just hang out with the hubby and eat easy foods. For avoiding McDonalds...I have resorted to putting my wallet in the trunk of my car. It makes it a real hassle to stop for the junk now. I am just not willing to pull over, pop the trunk, then head to the drive through. Also, we are grocery shopping more often and panning meals. I am going to buy the cook books because I am getting bored with my creations. Good luck for the rest of this week. You are definitely not alone on this journey ;)

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@Neanerzzz, what a great idea!  I know this will work for me (if I do it!!)  Thank you!  

 

I'm struggling a bit today...long weekend mini getaway with my mom and daughter, which involved eating out nearly every meal for four and 1/2 days.  And missing workout sessions, though I did walk alot.  I worked out when I got home last night, so at least there's that.  This is a good opportunity to prove to myself that I can be off-track for special occasions, then get myself back together when life returns to normal.  I have found that I just don't do well when I'm not home on the weekend to do laundry, etc.  And I also don't do any better if I take an extra day off to get things back in order.  I think it's just that I embrace vacation mode so very easily and resist the return back to reality.  

Anyway, I'm going to incentivize myself to get back on track.  On Friday,

I will purchase the Fiesta ware plate I've been eyeing if:

-Tomorrow I'm on track for breakfast, dinner, and snacks

-Thursday I'm on track for all meals and snacks

-I do 3 more Street Parking workouts

-I do 3 yoga sessions

 

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I wrote the above a week ago, and spent the rest of the week floundering.  I had a couple of good restarts, but just didn't make it through a day.  I ended up doing only 2 workouts all week (Monday and Tuesday) and no yoga at all.  

I was fully back on track with eating yesterday.  I didn't get to workout or do yoga, but the work day was too busy for a mid-day workout and I had an after work task I had to do, so it's fine.  

I've gained back 5 of the official 15 I had lost...but it's better than gaining back 10.  Or all of it.  

I'm sooo tired right now...I think it's because I was really high carb all last week and then yesterday I was below 100g.  I slept well, I just really want to close my eyes now at mid-morning.  I want coffee.  Or food.  I can't get in to retrieve what I need to work on for at least another 20 minutes.  I played a game of scrabble on my phone.  I'm journaling.  I think I'll research for my next vacation.  Or shop for plates.    

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