What Did You Do To Lose The Weight?

That is what someone asked me this morning. An acquaintance.  Someone who is on a New Year’s Kick.

Well, I’m eating fruits and veggies. Lots of veggies. And I exercise. A lot. (OK, not this month, but go with it). And she says “So I just need to eat veggies and exercise? I can do that.”

Huh?!? You’re kidding right?

Then she asks me how I get the willpower to do it.

I didn’t have an answer. I would have asked the same question a year ago.  I honestly woke up one day (actually – one afternoon after watching “Forks Over Knives”) and said “I need to feel better.”  I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to feel like I could accomplish things. I wanted to BE better.

I already knew that having gluten affected my mood. I have celiac, which I found because one day my body was having an allergic reaction to…well….everything.  Way before anyone had talked of celiac – per the doc’s orders I cut out gluten.  If I had gluten for more than a few days I felt like a slug. Cranky, tired. I would find that I could have it a little, and not feel much effect except for a little poo problem. But after a while I started to notice my shitty moods (like beyond PMS shitty) would happen after I had something with gluten.I thought that eating gluten was a result of the bad mood (usually it was a comfort food)…but when I found gluten-free replacement comfort foods (amazing GF grilled cheese and soup) – I found the comfort food made me feel better…instead of worse.

Now, I watched this movie back in June. I had ideas on what to do, and I just did it.  Cold turkey, that day.  Nothing processed, nothing dairy, nothing meat, a shitload of veggies.  I felt GREAT.  For a few weeks. But then I drove across the country for a month.  Do you know how hard it is to get veggies for breakfast in a diner?  Anything that resembles vegan and/or healthy at a baseball game?  It’s hard.   But I did the best I could, and I noticed something new. It didn’t make me as cranky as gluten did, but it did make me an angry driver the next day.  Ice cream. It was the only dairy that I ate…and it made me a bitch.  This broke my heart, as I love ice cream (and sprinkles, but I digress).  So when I got back…I did it.

Vegan. Straight up, whole food, nothing processed, vegan. The most processed thing I eat is my organic corn tortilla and store made hummus in the AM.  And exercise. I started running every day.  I was just recovering from knee surgery and pneumonia right before my trip.  I did 5K a day, 5 days a week.  I walked most of it. I would run until my gait was off (from trying to limp), then I would walk. I would try to run as many times as I could.  My time went from 58 minutes for a 5K to 40. I’m slow-running 2 minutes with 1 minute of walking in between.it’s amazing.  I dropped 20 lbs in a month. TWENTY POUNDS.  And I felt like a million bucks.

Then something happened. August ended and I had to go back to work.  I started with a trainer 3 times a week (that’s kept me going for workouts). My food has been mostly good (save for days that I forget to take it to school). I got sick, my running flailed. It got cold.

Each time I slowed down for a few days, I felt crappier. I would push myself, eat right, exercise a little more…I felt better. Slowed down…I felt worse.  I can SEE the difference between a couple days of healthy and a couple days of crappy. I have NO URGE to feel crappy. I WANT to feel better.

I dropped another 10 lbs in the first couple month (Sept/Oct). I dropped only 2-5 in the next couple months (Nov/Dec). I can feel the laziness coming back.  I’m not going to let it.  I’m feeling that start of the year thing where everyone wants to suddenly get into shape.  But, guess what? I’m already half way there:

  • Eating: I’ve got this down. I eat fairly healthy 75% of the time. I’ve had some holiday slip ups. Too much to drink, a gluten and dairy accident or two. But, the first thing I reach for in the morning are my veggie tacos, not fruity pebbles.  I grab a fruit and nut bar before I touch a candy bar. I actually tried a reeces peanut butter cup sometime mid-december I couldn’t even finish one cup. It takeds like….processed sugar crap.
  • Exercise: I’ve been to the trainer 2-3 times a week. Is this enough to lose weight? No. Is it enough to be sore almost all the time and feel significantly stronger over the past few months? HELL TO THE YEAH!
  • Running: I’ve been out for a month, and I feel like crap…but one short jog chasing the dog the other day made me want to run MORE instead of stop.

So, I guess somewhere in this long rant, there is the answer.  I know how being healthier makes me feel. I am seeing how not being healthy is making me feel.  I’m choosing the former.  Not because I think I have to, or I want to be skinnier, or I want to impress someone. It had nothing to do with willpower, it just makes sense.  It would be stupid to do something that doesn’t make sense and feel that icky about it.  Wouldn’t it?

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