Week 5: still going

Today is day one of my fifth week. I’ve done yoga three times each week and found a new studio that I’m in love with. I’m on day 20 of 21 of my elimination diet – that means I get to eat peanuts in two days! Excitement! I’ve done my bike three times each week, increasing my time by two minutes each week. I started with only 10 minutes each time due to keeping it attainable and cuz psoriatic arthritis. This morning I did my first 18 minute ride and that still feels good. Grateful.

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Payday Weighday: 205.6

It’s going down, y’all! The best part is that it’s going down even though I’ve been gaining muscle – yoga three times a week will do that! I wish I had taken pictures of my arms three weeks ago because they are noticeably more developed already. I’m on day 18 of my terrible elimination diet, three more days till I start the reintroduction phase. I’m grateful that I haven’t felt deprived at all, it’s just very time consuming. I planned on getting dinner from the Whole Foods salad bar last night after yoga, but didn’t get there till they were already packing it up. So I had to go home and cook after all and this bitch was hangry by the time my dinner was done. But it was healthy and pretty tasty. I’ve been grateful to even find foods to eat at restaurants with my friends twice. Well one food really: fruit. We met for brunch both times and I just had my regular breakfast smoothie beforehand and only ordered a fruit salad when I met up with them. If not for the elimination diet, I could get a green salad, but I’m avoiding tomatoes and peppers and a bunch of other things right now and that’s just too tricky. But I love fruit and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be social with my friends still. To be clear, though, I’m not gonna miss this elimination diet when it’s over!

My weight loss motivations

An ever-evolving list:

– To treat food as medicine and fuel.

– To take responsibility for my health.

– To lessen my pain.

– To drop the 7 bowling balls of extra weight I’ve been carrying around.

– To have more energy.

– To gain confidence.

– To be able to buy clothes at mainstream stores and shop with my friends. To be able to buy band t-shirts at concerts that fit better and do not cost $5 extra!

– To not make the kids embarrassed to be seen with me.

– To look awesome naked. Bedroom stuff. (‘Nuff said.)

– As a way of exhibiting gratitude for my food choices and ability to fund them. So many people do not have that luxury.

– To be able to more comfortably hike camp, kayak and bike.

– To be more comfortable in plane seats, to feel good traveling, to feel confident in a swimsuit.

– To prevent cancers that have obesity as a risk factor.

– To feel confident to tattoo areas of my body like my upper arms or back.

So far, so grateful

Well I made it through my first week back on track pretty damn well.

– I rode my bike on my trainer three times at 10 minutes each. Tomorrow I’ll increase to 12 minutes and see what my arthritis thinks of that.

– I went to yoga on Thursday. It was a teacher and class I had never checked out before and it was terrible. As in way too advanced for my current fitness level. I made it through the entire class, but my hamstrings and hips were terribly painful for more than 48 hours following. I’ll have to work up to that class. I was scheduled to go to yoga today, but just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house again after running around a bunch earlier in the day. So I did a YouTube routine in my living room. Still counts!

– My food has been super clean. The only trouble is that I sometimes go to bed realizing that I probably didn’t eat enough calories and/or fat that day. We’re not going for starvation here.

– I’m doing a lot of research and meal planning regarding eliminating soy, nighshades and peanuts from my diet for three weeks. My nutritionist recommended a trial elimination of these foods when my arthritis calmed so much after eliminating dairy. I went to every co-op in the area looking for soy-free tofu and tempeh. I found a black bean tempeh, but otherwise struck out. I bought nigari, hemp hearts and cheesecloth and will attempt making my own hemp tofu this week. I’m still researching homemade tempeh.

– I remembered my supplements six out of seven days this week. Not bad!

– I’ve decided that I will weigh myself only on paydays, every two weeks. I need boundaries or I’ll be on that damn scale constantly! My next weigh will be this Friday.

What I know about weight loss

Here are some things I learned about myself and weight loss when I lost 53 pounds in 2015:

– I am a sugar addict. Truly. If there is sugar near, I will eat it. In copious amounts. I will eat a piece of cake at a work function when everyone else has some, then I’ll sneak into the break room again and again for leftovers, hoping no one will notice. Switching to a vegan diet has helped with this immensely. While vegan sweets are still only a short drive away, I never feel tempted to eat dairy sweets that are offered to me. If I can look at a cupcake and think animal cruelty, that’s a win-win. And since a vegan diet has done so much to decrease my arthritis pain, that’s a win-win-win.

– Sugar is EVERYWHERE! I worked with a wellness coach in 2015 and one of the most valuable things she taught me is that there is sugar that looks like sugar and there’s sneaky sugar. We can all look at a candy bar and know that it’s laden with sugar. But if we dig a little, we find that smaller amounts of sugar are added to all kinds of everyday foods: peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, salsa, frozen foods… And for what? I get that sometimes a little bit of sugar helps to enhance different flavors of foods, but it mostly seems unnecessary to me. All this added sugar adds up. And I don’t miss it when I skip it.

– I will not count calories or macros. I have tried and it stresses me out. Hard. It makes me feel like I’m constantly doing math homework and getting rewarded for it with food. This method just isn’t sustainable for me.

– I thought that my pain would decrease as my weight decreased. It didn’t. And I really struggled with that. I felt betrayed by my body. But even if my pain does not lessen, losing weight can prevent all kinds of other health issues from cropping up. Let’s just try to deal with the one problem and not add any others to the mix, k?

– I hate exercise, but its gotta happen. I just have to figure out which exercises I hate least; right now those are yoga and biking.

– I’m most successful with a consistent schedule. Today is Thursday and I know that I need to cook and go to yoga on Thursdays. On Mondays I ride my bike before I go to work and eat leftovers for dinner cuz I work a later shift on Mondays. That kind of thing.

Haven’t quit yet!

Ok, so it’s only my first day of being back on track. But so far, so grateful! I did 10 minutes on my bike before work, easing in:

Biking is maybe the only cardio exercise that doesn’t make my joints too angry. When I was so successful with my weight loss in 2015, walking was my exercise. But walking upsets my feet way too much now. Since the winters are horrible here, I bought a fluid trainer for my bike so I can use it indoors in the winters. Bonus: I don’t have to break my butt in again in the spring!

After my 10 mins of biking, I prepped a few days’ worth of smoothies and supplements.

My breakfast smoothie typically consists of cannellini beans, banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, hemp hearts, pea protein, baby kale and almond milk – all unsweetened and organic. My current supplements are Ovega-3 (algae oil), probiotics, vitamin D3, methylfolate and zinc. The first three supplements are self-explanatory, the other two I take to manage methotrexate side effects.

I had a homemade veggie patty, green beans and grapes for lunch. Unfortunately, dinner consisted of an Amy’s frozen black bean enchilada meal. I had a lot of back pain today, then developed a headache and didn’t feel up to cooking. But this frozen meal is vegan and has no added sugar, so I coulda done worse. Now I’m on the couch with my TENS unit. Like all the cool kids.