Over the years, while navigating life with fibromyalgia, I’ve put in a fair amount of time and effort learning what it takes for me to achieve optimal health. After much trial and error, I know that the following elements need to be consistently in place: whole foods, hydration, moderate exercise, sleep, massage, and a few nutritional supplements. This may seem like an obvious and simple list, and on paper (or on screen) it is. Still, I’ve found it challenging to sustain this lifestyle indefinitely. While I’ve been able to achieve perfection for a few months at a time, I inevitably let go of at least one of the elements because of time, or money, or babies waking in the night, or stress, or pizza. I am human, after all.
I have a long history of trying every “diet” under the sun, so I’m no stranger to the recommitting to personal health song and dance (you can read more about that here). I have an intellectual understanding that for real and lasting change to occur, I need to treat my quest for better health as a permanent lifestyle change (rather than a temporary fix). I know that most weight loss plans work if I stick with them, and I know that reverting back to habits that put the extra weight on will do just that. Both Jason and I have gone through this process of recommitting several times since we’ve been together, and while we haven’t stuck to one specific “plan” over those years, I would argue that we’re both far healthier and make far better choices now than we did when we got married. Success? I think so!
Of the eating plans Jason and I have tried, we’ve had the best success with Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 Hour Body“. We followed the rules outlined in the book (six days each week of no grains/sugar/dairy/fruit) for several months after LB was born, and for a short time after LG was born. I was drawn to the no grains and no sugar elements of Ferriss’ plan, because I know that to be healthiest for my body. We stopped following the plan because, as parents to a newborn and a toddler, it became too difficult to find time for food prep, and both Jason and I found it way too easy to go off the rails on the once weekly “cheat day”. So we went in search of a new program that would be a little more flexible, and that’s where Weight Watchers (WW) came in.
In late September, WW was offering a 50% off the first four months promotional price that we couldn’t pass up. I knew WW to be an effective way to drop some pounds, because I’ve had previous success on their plan and I’ve seen it work wonders for a few of my friends. Jason and I were drawn to the flexibility of the “Points Plus” plan, which still allowed for things like pizza and desserts in moderation (thereby reducing the time-consuming element of whole food preparation). This was a big win for saving time, but was a slight loss for my overall pain level (even though I lost weight). I was already steering myself back toward whole foods when WW overhauled their plan from “Points Plus” to “Smart Points”, which essentially recalculated all foods into new “points” values and made things like pizza and desserts less viable options. After the plan changed, we continued following WW by using the “Simply Filling” option, which is a no-count list of approved whole foods.
As with any weight loss program, we’ve had our ups and downs. Overall, I believe Weight Watchers to be a great company. They know their stuff when it comes to weight loss, and they offer some amazing tools to help you stay on track. However, since we’re back to doing what we’ve done many times before (eating an approved list of whole foods), we’re going to continue on the whole foods path without continuing to pay for the Weight Watchers tools (online and meetings). In fact, I’m already gearing up to try The Whole 30 beginning February 1st.
Over the last four months since recommitting to my personal health, I’ve done some things very well (while others could use improvement). I’ve learned new things about myself, and I’ve overcome obstacles. In the end, my hard work has paid off with great results!
Starting Weight – 224 pounds
Current Weight – 203.8 pounds
Weight Lost – 20.2 pounds!
Inches Lost – 13.75 inches!
Size Lost – I’m down one full size (or more). I no longer have to shop in the Women’s Plus department!
Refined Sugar & Other Junk Food – It’s clearer now than ever how very sensitive I am to processed foods. Over the holidays, we went on a month long hiatus from following our WW plan. I saw changes in my physical health (pain, fatigue, poor complexion, digestive issues) and mental health (depression, anxiety, irritability). I was also able to recognize my own “junkie” behavior when I started eating processed foods again. If I had a little of something (ice cream, for instance), I would be craving more within hours. I know that if I completely stay away from these things, I don’t miss them at all.
Stress eating – I’m more likely to make poor food choices when I’m stressed, and poor choices lead to more poor choices. I’m still working on different ways of managing stress.
Nursing – I’m still nursing LG, which has allowed me additional calories (my WW daily points increase from 30 to 52 when exclusively nursing). Now that she is eating more solids and weaning is just around the corner, I’ll need to reign in the quantity I’ve become accustomed to.