Weight Watchers: Part 3

So. I made a big change this week. I took a leap of faith. I decided there was more than one way to skin a cat. (Isn’t that a creepy expression? So weird!) Remember how I tried Weight Watchers two separate times… and each time, I quit the program, frustrated and baffled at my lack of success? Some of you might even remember this post, “Weekly Weigh In #7, in which I want to bitchslap Weight Watchers in the face,” which is ironically, one of the top 10 most popular posts on this blog (Stay classy, Alyssa!). Those are some strong emotions. Some feelings I can’t deny I definitely had. Even recently, when people say they’ve had success with Weight Watchers, I feel a slight tug of “Well, I can’t lose weight with Weight Watchers, so that’s great for you and all, but I’m just gonna go eat peanut butter out of the jar while you track your points…”

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But! As I am learning over and over again, sometimes, you need to approach something old in a new way. Fail might actually mean “First Attempt In Learning.” Sometimes, you need your sister to join Weight Watchers and have great success. Sometimes, you need to keep reading about your friend Mel’s awesome progress on the plan. Sometimes, you need your friend, who’s a lifetime Weight Watchers member, to re-join and offer to go to meetings with you. Sometimes, you work from home, and you like to go places on your lunch to keep your social skills intact. Sometimes, you get a really good deal in the mail for three months at a great price. Sometimes, you think, it’s time for a change. So I joined. I swallowed my passive-aggressive “Boo Weight Watchers” pride, and decided to give it a fair shake. I’m trying the Simple Start plan for the first two weeks, and I’ll admit, there’s no tracking, counting, or measuring, and there’s definitely part of me that’s thinking I’ll weigh in on Sunday and see a gain on the scale. But, I need to try, try, again. If anything, I’m excited to have one reliable scale to be consistent with.

So here’s what’s going to be *slightly* different about my attempt with Weight Watchers. I already know that with my body’s loveable quirks with PCOS and hypothyroid, that I need to be avoiding gluten, corn and sugar. Weight Watchers definitely allows you to eat those things. I’ll eat them occasionally, but for the most part, those things don’t belong in my daily diet. They make my stomach hurt, they make me bloat, and then worse, even after all those crummy feelings, they make me crave more. So adios, corn, gluten, and sugar. You’re being replaced with Kefir and fresh fruits and fresh veggies with organic sour cream. I can eat fat, in moderation. Fat is not the enemy, which sounds so weird to say, but with my diet, has been proven true. My body works more like a kerosene lamp than a rabbit… I thrive on fat. (And fat makes food so, so delicious. One silver lining of having a weird, wacky metabolism.)

So there you have it. Trying something new. Seeing what sticks. Have you ever begrudgingly decided to give something a second, or even third try in regards to your health? Tell me about it in the comments below — and have an amazing day.

Love,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

Medically speaking, attitude is everything.

On Tuesday I had my long awaited follow up appointment about “Weight management” after starting my thyroid medications. I was nervous, not knowing what to expect, as while I’d been on my best behavior food and exercise wise, my body likes to go rogue. We don’t have a scale in the house anymore either, and after several crushing weigh ins, I was expecting to hop on the scale and be met with a gain, because that’s always what happened before. Why should doing everything right matter? I got on the scale. Down three more pounds. WHEW!!!!! Now, 3 more pounds in a month and a half is devastatingly slow progress. However? It’s progress. Three pounds in a month, after ten months, is 30 pounds. I was relieved, and to make it even better, my blood pressure was fantastic – 110 over 79. As I celebrated my small but valiant victory, the new doctor came in and said, “Aw, too bad you haven’t had much progress, have you?”

My happy mindset deflated like a cheap balloon. I recognize that medically three pounds in a month and a half sucks – – but for a patient who gained NINE POUNDS after a 12 day detox eating nothing but cauliflower and medical shakes, it’s nice to see my body actually reacting in the way it should. As I explained to the doctor that I was actually relieved and happy with the weigh in, I realized how important attitude is. No, it’s not ideal, but a solid, “hey, we’re on the right track” at least, is invaluable to someone who needs a little bit of cheerleading. Most people refer to their doctor’s demeanor as “Bedside Manner”, and while I don’t need information to be sugarcoated, I would like a little bit of optimism.  This applies to all things medically related; a lazy liver, ridiculous allergies to feathers, even scary-looking but benign ovarian cysts. When shit’s gone wrong, some positive encouragement from people who know what they’re talking about is hugely helpful. Otherwise, Dr. Google and I spend lots of late night hours together, my anxiety growing as I comb through horror stories of the very conditions that ail me.

There’s part of me that thinks I need to just “man up” and look past a need for rainbows and sunshine in a medical environment. After all, medically, obesity sucks. It’s dangerous, it’s a huge risk factor, and for most people, it should be simple to treat. However, I’m not most people, and I’m also not the type of person who can easily man up. I’m sensitive. I’m artistic. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. But; attitude is everything — and a positive one can make a big difference.

Have you had trouble with doctors having a more direct bedside manner? Does it bother you or not? Why or why not?

Banned Words: I’ll Start Tomorrow

It starts out innocently enough. In my case, a movie. The husband and I had been wanting to see Gravity for a few weeks, but overlapping schedules prevented us from the two-hour luxury. We finally made it yesterday night. As we planned our day, I thought about what we’d make for dinner. I had previously said on Saturday that I’d “start low-carb tomorrow.” I’ve been kind of “off” the past few days in terms of exercise, overwhelmed by life and feeling lazy. (House-hunting and being a business owner will do that to ya.) I knew I needed a fresh start. I decided that I’d have movie theater popcorn as my dinner. Yes, yes, that sounded lovely. There’s nothing like hot, buttered popcorn and a suspenseful flick to end the week. Wait! A little voice popped up in my head. “Popcorn isn’t low carb.”

“Oh, who cares,” the other voice in my head reasoned. “If you don’t eat dinner, and have popcorn instead, it cancels itself out. Sure, it’s high in calories, but you ate light today.”

The other voice responds, “Movie popcorn is the worst thing you could eat. The salt alone will make you bloat ten pounds. Add the butter oil and you’re asking for it. I thought you wanted to lose weight. Don’t do it. Losing weight means saying NO. It means discomfort. It means sacrifice. How bad do you want this? You have to make the change.”

The other voice, growing panicked, grasps for straws. “You deserve it! You’ve had a hard week, with lots of important, adult decisions. Movie popcorn is your FAVORITE. AND, you’ve eaten low-carb all day. You’ve already done so well! You can have a little splurge.”

The other voice, sounding sad, tells you to stop and think. “Remember trying on jeans at TJ Maxx? How the cold, metal button on almost every pair gouged into your tummy, made you cringe? How you’re avoiding the scale, knowing that your body isn’t “normal”, and that your small mistakes with food and exercise WILL ALWAYS show? Your hormones are wacky. It’s not just bad habits that make you gain weight, but it doesn’t help. Your body is actively going rogue. You have to work hard to prevent it from defeating you. It is what it is. Popcorn won’t help, on any level. You know that, Alyssa.”

The other voice, feeling defensive now, says “Just start tomorrow, Alyssa. You deserve this. It will make you feel good.”

The other voice says, firmly now, “No. I’m not starting tomorrow. I’m starting today.”

I’ve learned something about myself the past few years. I can’t just decide one day to lose weight and just do it. I have to decide almost every minute of every day. At least once an hour. I need to decide to drink water, to get moving, to not eat bread, or cookies, or candy. To refuse the movie popcorn. I need to recommit. I’m fiercely loyal to the things I love. Clearly, weight loss is not a thing I love.

So I saw Gravity. And for a riveting two hours, I sat, consumed with emotion and angst, completely lost in the story. The movie was phenomenal, and my husband and I left shaky and tense, rocked by the amazing visual effects and captivating storyline. We’re still talking about the movie today. I didn’t even miss the popcorn. Sure, the smell always seduces me when I walk in, but I didn’t need the crunch, the salt, the butter, the motions, the kernels in my teeth. I didn’t need popcorn. I didn’t need snacks. I didn’t need to start tomorrow. I needed to start today.

Monthly Weigh In Results

Hi everybody, sorry it’s been kind of quiet around here! September is for some reason ALWAYS nutty for me with work and life stuff and I end up choosing sleep over the DCD. (BLASPHEMY! But you know, there’s all that research that sleep helps with obesity so really, I’m just being proactive about weight loss… riiiight.)

This Friday was a pretty big deal for me, because it was a four week check in after starting the low dose of Synthroid to jumpstart my thyroid, and going back on Metformin, to help with the insulin-resistance from PCOS. I had MAJOR anxiety about stepping on the scale. It was a stressful week at work, and the night before the appointment, I found myself hedging to my husband, rationalizing that I should cancel because my blood pressure would be high from stress. As if that’s a good reason, right? Thankfully, he helped me see the light, as he so often does, and I bit my tongue and told myself I just needed to face the music and wear my big girl panties. It wasn’t even necessarily that I rationally thought I would gain; in fact, I knew my eating and exercise habits were enough to contribute to a loss. However, my body has played me before and I was so afraid all the effort would do what it usually does; backfire and send me into a constant state of “Why bother?”

I went to the doctor first thing in the morning and requested that I be weighed after I got my blood pressure taken. I warned the nurse that my BP would be high, I was nervous, after all. Blood pressure was fine, but my pulse was definitely all over the place and jumpy, a sure sign that I reaaaally was dreading stepping on that scale. It’s kind of pathetic that a weigh-in makes me feel like I need a cocktail. “Why are you so nervous?” the nurse asked, and I replied, “Because last time I stepped on that thing I left crying.” The nurse took pity on my ridiculous fears and laughed, and with a deep breath, I faced the music and stood on the scale, holding my breath as if that very action would magically suck 10-15 pounds away. As I stepped off, the nurse motioned for me to go into the room, withholding the information. “OHHH NOOOOO,” I thought, I must have gained. Because I’m nosy and I needed to know after enduring such torture, I asked, “What is it?” When she told me the numbers I did a mental recalculation, jumped for joy, and then confirmed that I was DOWN SIX POUNDS!

Six pounds is a lot for me. Six pounds is the size of a small, full-term baby. Six pounds is the size of several delicious spaghetti squash. Six pounds is two three-pound weights, a heck of a lot of hamburger meat, and more than half a sack of russet potatoes. I was so excited that I snapped this pic and immediately posted it on instagram, and as my pal Alyssa A. said, you can tell how happy I am. RESULTS. It is wonderful to see RESULTS from your hard work.

Six pounds success!

Six pounds success!

I think there are several things contributing to this success this month: 1) eating a low carb diet, averaging 100-120 carbohydrate grams per day, 2) the addition of synthroid and metformin 3) not weighing myself for a whole month, thus defeating the “Well, I’ve gained so I might as well eat” cycle, 4) Being crazy busy (not ideal as I’m not eating as often as I should be) and 5) Exercising and being active.

I plan to keep up four out of five of those habits. I’ll happily tone down number four, because self-care is important when you’re busy and stressed, so I need to focus on eating right, sleeping well and exercising. In fact, I think I’ll go take a walk, right now. So there you have it. A month after not stepping on the scale, I faced a fear and found a fantastic, positive, optimistic result. At the very best I was hoping to see two pounds lost, and my expectations were tripled. Thank you body. Thank you self. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (And thank YOU for reading.)

Can you relate to ever having crazy anxiety about something as simple as stepping on a scale? What is or was it?

 

 

Crunchy, Chewy, Crispy Carbs: How many should I eat with PCOS?

Carbs. Salty, chewy carbs. Tortilla chips, sourdough bread, crackers, potatoes, rice. MMMM. CARBS. Oh, how I love carbs. I’d take the warm, chewy sourdough bread with a tab of melting butter over the freshly-baked chocolate cake any day. Who needs sugar when you can have BREAD?!

When all the Atkins and Southbeach and Zone diets started coming out, I remember having this reaction, summed up so exquisitely by Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: (And yes, Scotty, I could eat garlic bread for every meal, too.)

Now that I know what’s up with my body (PCOS and subclinical hypothyroid), it makes sense that in my dieting life, the only diet that’s ever worked has been low-carb. When you have PCOS, you are typically insulin resistant, which means that sugars and carbs spike your blood sugar, causing you to hold on to those calories and sugar grams much more than fat. Here’s a nifty diagram that explains it:

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I’ve had the sad realization lately that a low-calorie diet with exercise ain’t gonna do it. Oh no. My body needs less, and in a way, it needs more. More fat, less carbs. My doctor is sadly moving on to another practice, so next week I’ll meet with her replacement, hopefully somebody who can work with me and be like “THIS IS WHY YOU’RE FAT” (and, ahem, not point out the meal I had last week that *was* just a giant piece of garlic bread. Naaaaah. Couldn’t be that.) Today I started a super low dose of Synthroid to help get my sluggish thyroid moving a little bit, and I was also put back on Metformin, the diabetes drug that helps with PCOS insulin resistance. When I was on it last time for a few weeks, I remember lovvvving the energy boost I felt. I wasn’t dragging through the day. I’m looking forward to feeling normal again, even though a nice, nasty summer cold showed up today and I sound all froggy.

I’ve decided to start counting carbs again. While I’m not necessarily doing an Atkins style diet, I’m going to try to eat around 100-150 grams of carbs per day. I came to this number by doing some extensive Googling. The first two weeks of Atkins, induction, has you eating 40 grams of carbs or less. I figure 100 is a nice number that allows me to still have a piece of bread here and there, but for the most part, my meals need to be vegetable and protein. It’s not too bad, I suppose. I’d honestly rather eat low-carb than 1,000 calories, because at least on low carb you can enjoy olive oil, butter and cheese, sparingly. And who doesn’t love bacon?! I’ve been using My Fitness Pal and a new app called Daily Carb.

Given that low-carb has always been the key to success with me and weight loss, I’m hoping this new approach towards eating plus regular exercise and my new medicines will help get things moving the right way. Thankfully I’ve maintained a couple pounds down in the past month, which I’m hopeful about as the scale has FINALLY stopped moving up. I suppose it could be different when I weigh in at the doctor’s next week, but for now, I’m trying not to focus on the number so much as getting into a routine. Because consistency is key, right?

Have you noticed anything about how carbs affect your weight loss? Does it not matter? Are you one of those lucky people who could LOSE weight by eating only carbs?