And Happy Start To A New Adventure!
I had turned on the TV the other day and whatever channel happened to be on was showing an infomercial of The 21 Day Fix. Now normally, you skip right past, right? As quickly as possible. But this time, Tom Bergeron was the host, and I was curious as to what they had him doing now (America’s favourite TV personality). So – I watched for a few minutes.
And as I watched… something about this program stuck with me. No weighing. No crazy foods. Just portion control – that was their key.
And that’s what got me to thinking…
But First, A Little About Me.
I am a 37 year old woman living out West, but born and raised in the Maritimes. I come from a very long line of overweight and obese women who love their food and sedentary lifestyles. Being overweight was just a fact of life. In fact, my very first memory of being made aware of my ‘weight’ was at my 8th birthday party when my grandmother made a comment about me being fat. Now, I was anything but fat. In fact, I was beginning to develop breasts quite early, and I was filling out my new birthday dress a little more than I used to. But on that day, with that one single, hurtful, off-the-cuff comment, my fate was sealed. I never looked at myself in the mirror the same way again.
As my school years went on, I filled out quite a bit more, and was ridiculed by all of the girls in my classes, and gawked at by all of the boys. My best friends over the years were mostly older boys, who, to their credit, treated me as a pier and not as a potential ‘fun time’ (as teenagers often do).
But after years of living with, and adopting the habits of, a very obese mother (the last time we spoke, she was 5’2″ and 306 lbs), I finished high school at 5′ 9″ and 210 lbs. Because of my curves, I carried it well, but there was always the feeling of being the biggest/largest person in the room. I had just come to accept that that’s who I was.
Two pregnancies, a divorce, a second divorce, a new (and super awesome) husband, university and career changes later, I still feel like the largest person in any room. And while I am not the weight of my mother, and I have the blessing of height and good proportions, I still am quite over weight, which has plagued my self esteem for most all of my life.
Up until a couple of years ago. Having been diagnosed with PCOS, and having my lady-hood adjusted and manipulated over the years, I came to the acceptance that this is who I am. I no longer loathe myself when I look in the mirror. And in fact, I tend to look for the sexy in myself, and focus on all of the ‘assets’ (thanks in great part to selfies and filters!).
The Yoyo Effect
Over the years, I have tried every diet I could afford… Weight Watchers point plans, Atkins, Nutrisystem, Phen-Phen (before it was illegal), fitness classes, gym memberships… And for one year in my early twenties, I even had a personal trainer working with me. And, in fact, I have lost great deals of weight over the years. The most I ever lost was 80+ lbs over a 6 month period. That was the year with the trainer. He guided me on eating habits and types of food, and a strict work out regimen. An in my college years, with my pre-girlie-stuff-and-hormonal-changes, the weight just melted off.
But what happened each and every time was that I became complacent. Happy with where I was. Indulged in a little too many treat days. Then work got busy. Or stress at home. Or the wind blew in the wrong direction that day. Suddenly, I’m 30 lbs heavier, none of my new clothing fit, and I was avoiding mirrors again.
A few years ago, I spoke with a doctor about my health – now that I was in my thirties – and that I wanted to try to remain healthy and mobile as the years roll on. That would be the most important part for me. I didn’t want to end up like my mother, who walked with a cane by the time she was 42. Weight be damned, I wanted to maintain my health. I had been taking Glumetza/Metforman (not for diabetes, but for hormonal balance to offset my PCOS), but even that was not stopping the issues of the centre belly tire that arrived one morning (surprise!).
My doctor told me about gastric bypass surgery and that our province was now sponsoring a program for obese people to have the procedure done, at no personal financial cost. Awesome! What a great opportunity, right? Well, I thought so. So, I attended 6 months of mandatory classes on health, physical activity and psychological issues (multiple nights a week usually). I saw a nutritionist and even a psychologist. And after all of this, when it was time to do the consult with the surgeon, I still had so many unanswered questions.
You see, they are all about portion, but their MO was that you just need 1200 calories – could come from veggies, or McDonald’s – doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t go over the magic number. And ok, that MIGHT help you lose weight, but that’s not going to do anything for your health. What about nutrient loss? What about preservatives and their effects on long term health? What about learning the right oils for what types of physical needs? During pre-op, I spoke with the surgeon about these things, and he simply stated that after surgery, I could eat what I wanted, but any more than the ‘portion’ allowed by my smaller stomach, and I would simply throw it up. And I would have a lifetime of supplements to combat the nutrient loss. And there would be accelerated bone loss due to mal-absorption of the nutrients that I would be getting. And my stool would likely not be solid for the rest of my life.
What the hell was this?! They don’t include ANY of this in the sales pamphlet with the smiling happy woman on the front!
No. Thank. You.
It was then and there that I decided that I would take my health into my own hands. Learn about foods and nutrition. Learn about ingredients. Be creative with what I cooked. Move away from processed foods. Start limiting our treat days. I was going for quality of life, not volume of skinny girl clothes in my closet. I was not going to spend the rest of my days looking skinny, but wearing adult diapers for incontinence. Think of what that would do to your sex life?!
I’ve worked hard to surround myself with all of the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets a girl could ask for, and have tried (and sometimes failed miserably lol) with any number of new dishes. It’s been a fun adventure, and we are certainly healthier for it.
But nothing I’ve done has created a weight loss effect. And that’s been ok for me. I mean, it would be nice to wear something other than black all summer long (lol), but, I’m ok with it.
One of the issues for us – and this brings me back to the 21 Day Fix infomercial – has always been portion control. We start off on smaller plates, and then they somehow get larger. So we go back, but then we have a cheat night and we gorge ourselves. And as timing would have it, I recently visited the West Coast for a few days break, and just completely over indulged. Like, until I was, literally, writhing in pain all the first evening and into the next morning we were there. It was bad. I came away from that night vowing to really pay attention to the portions.
Enter The 21 Day Fix – all about portions.
The lady must have said the word portion 700 times in the first 3 minutes that I watched. I thought, clearly the gods of nutrition are speaking directly to me (I mean, who else watches this stuff?). So, I decided to order the package.
Yesterday – it arrived.
Keep reading my story in this blog category. Walk with me through the ups and downs. I’ll give it 21 days… and I’ll give you my honest feelings on just how tough, or easy it is, especially when preparing for a household versus just yourself. And who knows where we’ll end up!