The non-diet.

I would have to say it’s been about 10 years since I have been at what I consider a good weight. It was about that time that I started having serious issues with my thyroid. When I say “serious” I do mean that. I was incredibly sick for about a year as they figured out what was happening and how to fix it. Then, thanks to a young doctor who didn’t know what she was doing with a thyroid, I gained about 40 pounds in a school year. According to every single doctor I’ve seen since then, that was completely avoidable. But whatever. Eight years ago, I saw a doctor who told me in no uncertain terms that I would “never lose that weight again” and should “just deal with it.”

I determined in my mind that he was wrong and decided to do something about it. I read up on how to eat with an underactive thyroid and lose weight and the biggest thing was to build up your metabolism by building up muscle. I joined Curves and eventually became an employee. We offered the “weight management” program during the winter one year and all of us staff decided to do it as well. I followed that plan to the letter and in six weeks, I lost 17 pounds. I had been at my absolute heaviest and was finally down to something more manageable.

However, I hated dieting. OH my word I HATED it. I remember counting grapes, eating 1/4 cup of raw onion, and being almost constantly at least slightly hungry. Brian remembers having to cook for himself and being grossed out by my “diet food.” He also remembers that our food budget was exceeded as I bought expensive vegetables and hard-to-find ingredients. I swore I would (probably) never do it again.

Lately, though, I have detested how I look. I delete pictures, refuse to look at pictures of myself, hate the mirror, hate my clothes… yuck yuck yuck. The scale has been my worst enemy as I’ve watched the numbers creep up since arriving back in the States in December. So, I decided about five weeks ago to do something about it. I read an article about how you need to have your picture taken, especially with your children, or you will eventually regret not having documented stuff with YOU in it, regardless of how you look. I realized then that I have very few pictures with my children over the past couple of years (which is… their entire lives…) because I hate how I look. That’s selfish of me. I want my children to have record of their mom should something ever happen to me and right now, they really don’t. Selfish.

I wanted to do something about it, but my dilemma is: I love food. I hate dieting. I am poor. How can I diet?? 

Here is what I have done lately:

  • I have taken the concepts of the Curves manual I have and tailored them to our financial budget and the rest of my family’s needs.
  • I informed my husband what would be happening so he would understand if I didn’t eat the exact same meal as them or if food looked a little different than usual. Of course, he was on board.
  • The first week, I really tried to stick to the plan in order to jump-start my metabolism. This meant cooking very different for me than for the rest of the family, but I had planned it out ahead of time and it worked out fine. One evening I tailored their meal to more fit my meal plan and they didn’t even notice that it was a “diet meal.”
  • Each week, I look at the meal plan for the week and adapt it to something the whole family can eat that will still fit in our budget. This means that I’m not following it exactly, but fairly close.
  • I am not doing two separate meals. We don’t have the budget for it nor do I have the time to do it. So, I adapt. For example, last night I thought we’d do a family favorite: spaghetti. Instead of regular spaghetti, I did the following:

I sauteed up onion, as usual, and then added in the ground beef, as usual. To that, I shredded in about 8 baby carrots and when the meat was just about done, I added in half a can of rinsed-off black beans. The sauce was two cans of just plain, no salt added, tomato sauce that I added salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and a bit of sugar to. The pasta was “veggie pasta” – the kind that’s made out of like tomatoes and spinach. At the end of their cook time, I added frozen broccoli and blanched it. My family ate the whole meal; I ate mostly sauce with just a handful of pasta. 

  • I have tried to cut out lots of carbs and sugar and am drinking mostly water.
  • I exercise every day, as much as possible, and I do things like park really far away from the mall instead of close and walking to all the homes here on the property instead of using the 4-wheeler.
  • I weigh myself every Monday and at least once or twice during the week and I write down my weight every Monday.
  • Brian, one other friend, and now blog world are the only ones who know about this. The last thing I want or need is my mom going, “Aren’t you supposed to be dieting?” if she sees me eat a cookie or to hear people ask, “So, when should you start seeing results from this diet you’re on?”
  • The goal is to change my lifestyle, not “diet indefinitely.” I do enjoy my iced coffees once or twice a week, but I try to make sure they’re sugar-free if possible. If I eat out, it’s normally a fancy salad and I try to only eat half of what’s put in front of me.

So far, I’m down 8 pounds in 5 weeks. To me, that’s a miracle. I’m into numbers I haven’t seen for more than ten years! Lower than the last time I finished a diet. I doubt anybody but myself notices yet, but frankly, I don’t really care. I thought I would be super happy if I lost 10lbs; now I’m thinking I could lose 15 or even 20 at this rate, which would be even better.

I guess what I’m basically saying is that it’s true what “they” say: you don’t need to “diet” to lose weight. You need to change your lifestyle. Eat less junk, move around more, slim down your portions, add in more fresh fruits and vegetables. For me, it’s just about a pound per week, but I figure, you know, at least it’s a pound DOWN instead of a pound UP. I don’t feel deprived – I had one and a half sugar cookies yesterday and a handful of Brian’s french fries. I feel miles better about myself, though. It’s nice to see clothes fit and not feel like all you see when you look at me is my leftover baby pooch.

I’ll try to post here some of my updates on this weight-loss journey and adapted recipes as I do this. Maybe you can join me on this journey so I won’t feel so alone!

August 2013
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