I’m still having an issue with emotional eating. I am also dealing with the bone numbing fatigue that comes with a RA flare-which means I eat mindlessly for “energy”. I just want to maintain the progress that I’ve worked so hard to achieve. I’ve decided to try intermittent fasting (IF) to control my desire to shove food in my face 24/7.
Since my goal is to prevent over eating rather than rapid weight loss I’ve chosen to place my eating window from 9 am to 5 pm. I will still walk in the morning for about 35 minuets to get my fasting “workout”. Hopefully next week I will see 0 weight gain-which will be a victory for me.
I’m not completely out of control but if I don’t rein it in I will be. As of Saturday I had lost 22 lbs since the beginning of my journey. I haven’t been this “small” in about 3 years. It’s a great feeling to be at a 3 year low but the bad habits and circumstances that caused my weight to balloon out of control threaten to derail me once again.
This blog isn’t about my chronic illness but the chronic illness is apart of my weight gain and weight loss journey. Before rheumatoid arthritis I was barely a size 6-I could probably have fit into some size 5 clothing at that point. I was working out for 1-2 hours every day. I was healthy.
Then one day my hands felt stiff. Then my wrist and elbows. My toes were swollen. My knees didn’t bend quite right. I woke up in pain. I broke down in the bathroom at work because of the pain. And then I had a diagnosis. Enter medications that didn’t work, sort of worked, caused weight gain, caused horrible side effects, and then finally remission.
When remission came I had developed a bad habit of letting food be my comfort. I refused to deny myself any tasty treat that I might want in the moment despite the fact the that my clothes didn’t fit and the scale reached heights I wasn’t comfortable with. As I tried to climb out of the whole I had dug for myself. I found (still find) it hard to regain the self-control and self-denial necessary to become healthy again. But I did. I began exercising again. My fast food diet was replaced by green smoothies and vegetables. And 3 years ago I was in the same place health wise as I am today.
But just as I was getting my stride 3 years I got a rude wake up call. Chronic means something never goes away. The unrelenting fatigue returned. Once again my joints began to swell. And I once again found myself struggling to make it through everyday life. And once again food was there to comfort me.
My medications were once again changed. I had more energy, less swelling, and less pain. I went to see a nutritionist. I began making health choices that would help me regain my health. But about 3 weeks ago something changed. Random swelling is back. I am stiff again. When I sit for prolonged periods of time I limp when I walk. As I type this my hands hurt. And today I went over my calorie count. Not because I was hungry but because I feel bad. My meds aren’t working. And I used food to cope.
I’ve worked too hard to let this tumble-down around me. But my options far as a medicine for a flare-prednisone- causes weight gain. I’m not at a point where I can’t function. It’s just harder than I want it to be. Harder than it should be. But that’s just life. Everyone is struggling with something that is harder than it should be. It’s just my cross to carry-but this time I will not buckle under its weight.
There was a time when being active and achieving my fitness goals was an important priority in my life. I was still pretty new to the fit bit life. My friends and family were eager to participate in the Workweek Hustle challenges and being on the bottom of the leader board was unthinkable to me. I spent time marching around my apartment before work to gain steps. During my lunch time I would grab a protein bar and then do laps in the hallways of my job to sneak in a few thousand steps. After work I would anxiously and obsessively check everyone’s stats and determine how long of a walk I would need in the evening to safely secure my place at the top of the leader board until the next morning. I was getting at about 20K steps a day -twice the amount of steps recommended.
All of the walking/marching in place (yes I would march in front of my tv during my shows if I wasn’t at least in the number 2 position on the leader board) began to slowly change my body. My jeans fit better, I had more energy, and I ate less. A green smoothie replaced fast food in the evening. I didn’t want to get too full and not be able to exercise. But what really happened is that I unintentionally cut calories out of my diet and added at least one healthy meal to my diet every day.
I began to reason if just walking was changing my body adding some push-ups and sit-ups could only improve my situation. And it did. I hit the lowest weight I had seen in years. And then my priorities shifted.
Work demanded 13 hour shifts rather than the 8. At the time I had an hour commute making a 13 hour day a 15 hour day. That left precious little time to be competitive. It was work, fast food on the way home, and then falling in to bed only to do it again the next day. It was mere months before I had erased the headway with my health and my weight.
Walking has always been the easiest way for me to get in shape. I love a good walk! I can spend an hour on a treadmill but I prefer to be outside soaking in nature. There is something about a walk outdoors that invigorates both the body and soul. And so with this in mind all this week before work I have gone for a walk. No I haven’t reached my previous levels of activity yet-but I’m working my way back up to that. Walking works for me. So do mornings. First thing in the morning there are not any unexpected demands on my time yet. And because of this, I will continue to walk before work, in the cool of the morning, when I can be a prioritize my health.
Believe it or not losing weight is not my main goal. I want to be as healthy as I possibly can. That involves eating right, exercising, drinking enough water and getting enough rest. I want to be energetic and engaged with life. I want to be fit-meaning in the best possible health that I can be. Right now I need to commit to a lifestyle change that will help me meet these goods. First things first-what should I be eating nutrition wise?
My nutritionist’s goals for me are pretty simple:
· 1600 calories total
· 160 g carbohydrates (I’m pescatarian so she allows more carbs per day)
· 120 g protein (I never meet that goal-I’m trying to do better)
· 53 g of fat
· <230 mg sodium
· 64 oz water (This one is EASY)
The calorie count and water intake is the only thing I can say that I stick to most days. I know I routinely go over my carb goal and I don’t think I’ve ever met my protein goals. Fat? I don’t even bother with trying to keep that to a minimum. I also haven’t been tracking my sodium intake but since I’ve cut out a lot of fast food I know it is lower than it used to be.
I am going to focus on getting in more protein for now. My main issue is that even though I eat seafood I am not in love with it (like pizza) and do not care to eat it in the quantities she suggested to meet my protein goals. I eat fish maybe 2 or 3 times a month instead of the 2-3 days a week that was suggested. I’m seriously considering giving up fish all together and becoming a vegetarian so I’m not looking to increase my seafood consumption. I’m not how to get the amount of protein she says I for this stage of my health journey.
Protein shakes and my stomach don’t get along at all. I’ve tried many varieties but I can only tolerate a vegan pea protein shake once or twice a week. Anything more than that and my body goes into revolt. I’m thinking of trying tofu but I haven’t yet. I don’t know. I don’t feel that the pre-packaged faux meat products that I get the majority of my protein from are healthy in the long run. I’m also sure that their sodium content isn’t within my nutrition goals. I need to do more research. I know that it is possible to eat a well balanced and health diet without including meat. I just need to branch out and try new foods and think outside the box.
My health is important. I am reaffirming my commitment put my health and well being into its proper place in my life!
I wish I could narrow it down to the exact date, time, meal that sent me over the edge into a point of seemingly no return. I’d like to figure out what switch got flipped in my brain in which food became the solution for all of life’s ups, downs, bumps, highs, and lows. At some point I entered an unhealthy relationship with food. It became my comfort. I lost all sense of reason when it came to portion control and calorie count. All I knew was that it made me feel better-it was my medicine when I felt bad, a friend when I felt lonely, and it soothed my frayed nerves after a long day. However the relief was short-lived. After every unhealthy choice or calorie laden snack I was very aware that I was harming my body. But I couldn’t figure out how to stop the downward slope. I began my weight gain journey a US size 6 and ended that journey when a size 16 fit better than the 14s hanging in my closet. I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t like the fact that my doctor wanted to talk about getting my blood pressure under control or the nurses surprise when she realized that my blood sugar was normal even though I was now classified as obese. So I am doing something about it. I’ve lost 18 lbs so far and my size 14 clothes are getting too big. But I bad habits are trying to creep in. I miss my old meals. I miss grabbing a bag of chips and dip and sitting back after work and watching a movie and eating entire bag of potato chips. For so long I had associated these types of toxic behaviors as fun, relaxing, or what I deserved for surviving the bumpy road we call life.
I want to change all of that and want this blog to help keep me on track. I want to remember where I came from and where I am going. I want to be the best me and right now I am working toward that. Slowly but surely I will find my healthy self again.