The new reality

Down half a pound this week, which is basically within the margin of error and/or negligible. So this is my new weight, I guess. After gaining 9 pounds in a week last time, I’ve basically come to a conclusion:

I don’t know shit about weight management.

The longer I’ve been working at this (and we’re up to, uh, about 15 years now?) the less I seem to know. The things that worked initially no longer work for me, and the things I used to do I can’t anymore. So I don’t bloody know.

Laurie made a point last week that is, maybe, a ray of light. She pointed out that I completely changed my way of eating, and didn’t gain anything. Which, if you factor out the weight-suppressing medicine I was on for the last four months, it’s true – my weight now and the weight I was at prior to starting (then stopping 2 weeks ago) that drug is exactly the same (maybe down half a pound). So in the end, the Obesity Code rules are at least helping me to eat in a way that I enjoy more and feels less deprived, which on its own is a good change in my life. Regardless of my body and it’s ongoing lifelong constant rebellion against my brain and what I want.

The eleven pounds I thought I had lost following the OC program were actually due to the medication I was on. That’s been quite a blow, as I thought I had found something that worked for me, finally. I had, it just wasn’t what I thought it was, and it’s something I can’t do long-term (take a drug that causes me more migraines). I don’t want to talk about weight and diet right now.

That’s a First!

Guys, I want to tell you something but I want to make sure you’re sitting down first, and also that you don’t freak out but instead just laugh like I am. I had my weekly weigh-in this morning. Are you ready?

I gained 9 pounds this week.

RIGHT?!

That’s crazy! How is that even possible? How much of Cake Mountain did I shovel into my face to make that happen?!

It’s definitely a record! In my life, I’ve never gained 9 pounds in a single week, and honestly there’s just no math that makes it a feasible result. I have changed NOTHING in how I ate this week vs the last 3 or 4 months. Nothing.Yes we had a three-day-weekend but I didn’t go on a full-scale cheesecake rebellion or anything. I didn’t do anything different.

I got off the scale and got back on again a time or two just to double-check and yes, I have indeed gained 9 pounds this week.

You know what changed? I went off a medication I’d been on for a while. That’s the only change in my life, and the reason was to reduce migraines – the medication was causing migraines that I couldn’t stop with my Rx medications for them.

You know what else? This completely vindicates the basic premise of the Obesity Code book: it’s not about calories in vs calories out, it’s about chemistry and hormones. I drastically changed my chemistry this week and my body reacted boldly and swiftly.

Wow. I have no idea what’s next. I have no idea if my body will settle back down or this is my new weight now.

How Dare I?

I maintained this week. I expected a huge gain, like 4 pounds, but I was exactly the same. The reason I expected a gain is because I wasn’t counting calories and exercising to exhaustion every day, which my previous 14 years of experience had led me to believe is the only way to not gain. My new world is exciting and delightful.

I had two “cheat days” last week, because Saturday one of my best friends got married and I ate whatever I wanted, including two pieces of cake – with lots of frosting (OMG I LOVE FROSTING). But no gain.

I eat so much now that I start thinking I should cut back. One of my biggest pleasures, that was denied to me for so many years of my life, is nuts. I may have a pistachio problem. I eat pistachios like candy, piles of them. The sorts of volume that I would have trembled in fear at just 6 months ago. They, clearly, are not a problem for me following the new method. I don’t even fast much, I skip breakfast a couple of days a week and that’s about it.

What all this tells me is that if I did decide I wanted to drop some pounds it would be easy because I currently feel the opposite of deprived. I feel so satisfied, so sated, that sometimes I think maybe I’m abusing my privilege, or getting away with something naughty, by eating so deliciously. How dare I enjoy my meals and eating experience so much without gaining weight and beating myself up mentally? How dare I be so happy when there are starving dieters in America?

And yet here I sit, perfectly happy with my body, not willing to cut back to drop some pounds because I love myself just the way that I am. What the hell, seriously, HOW DARE I?

Temporary Setback – Happy Anyway

I was up a pound and a half this week. This was not a surprise, honestly I was surprised it wasn’t more, considering how I ate last week. That’s the thing about the term “cheat day.” It’s not plural! Ha!

It’s already coming back down though, as I expected, and I’m not concerned by it. *shrug* Some weeks are just more celebratory than others. Yes – that’s the word I am going with – celebratory!

I have decided to modify my “no snacks” rule, because I have been getting migraines almost every day for over two weeks recently. A couple of days ago I realized that the 7 hours between lunch and dinner are usually when those start. So I’ve started having a small snack – usually a piece of fruit and some nuts – about halfway through the afternoon stretch. No migraines the last two days. So that may be a thing I need to do to keep my head out of the migraine trap. I will continue to monitor to see if this causes my body a problem on the scale.

Regardless, my gain this week hasn’t thrown me down the depression hole, weirdly, and I can only say that the thing I noticed last week – where I don’t feel deprived so I don’t feel resentful about my life so I don’t get mad when I don’t see a loss – seems to be holding. This feels pretty amazing after over a decade of feeling resentful about my restrictions and getting pissed off about my body not doing what I want when I was trying so hard and giving up so much. Giving up sugar and flour have been easy for me. Getting back healthy fats has made it completely worth it.

Oh – one more thing. I’ve modified my workouts at bit since I became a convert of The Obesity Code. I’m not killing myself anymore. I do yoga, I go for walks, I lift a bit. But I’m not killing myself with high-intensity, hardcore, feel-like-I’m-dying workouts every day anymore because why should I? I’m getting great results without doing those things. Some days my schedule means I can’t fit in a workout and I don’t beat myself up about it now. I used to think exercise was 20% of weight management (and food/intake was 80%). I now agree with the book that exercise is about 5%, and my recent modification to my regimen seems to bear that out. Exercise is a “nice to do” for me now, not a “beat myself up & feel bad if I don’t” activity. Since I’m not planning on doing a body-building or weight-lifting contest anytime ever, this is fine for me.

Maintenance Magic

No loss this week, which means I’m maintaining. I’m not even upset. That’s actually magic, in my world. To not lose any weight and be totally fine with it. And the reason is because I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself anymore. I’ve discovered a way to be fine with my body – by not fighting it and depriving it constantly. And also by not giving hunger power over me. Now that I recognize that yes, I will feel hunger for an hour or two before meals, but that it’s not the end of the world and is totally normal, I can disregard its urgent pleas.

The program: No refined carbs, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. No snacks – 3 meals a day, period. No processed foods, and no restriction on dietary fats. One cheat meal per week. No alcohol (that’s just a me thing, it gives me migraines and they’re not worth it). Last week I did a 24 hour fast on Sunday. This week I may do one fasting day as well. I’m still not convinced they’re something my body approves of, so my thoughts on them are still evolving.

My clothes fit comfortably again. I’m happy with maintaining where I am, and eating how I am eating. So…that’s all I’ve got this week. But that’s a big thing in my world.

Loss Has Resumed

Slowly, but it has resumed. Considering that I do not consider myself on a diet, any loss at all is great. This morning I was down another half pound, which I am pleased with. Here are the changes I made this week:

  1. Spiked my insulin one day last week. That’s right – I purposely went out and ate bread with dinner, and had ice cream after. I don’t know if this is a scientifically proven method, but I sure enjoyed it.
  2. I stopped fasting. I had a suspicion that the fasts were too hard on my body, so I gave them up and focused solely on eating only 3 meals a day no snacks, and avoiding sugar, refined carbs, and sweeteners.

And that’s it. I know my body pretty well after all these years, and I had a strong suspicion that the fasts weren’t doing what I wanted anymore, and I was right. So this week I am going to keep on trucking just like this.

This way of eating has been a revelation to me. Even more, I’ve managed a transition I never though possible. Not only can I go without snacks between meals, I don’t feel any discomfort doing it. Conventional diet wisdom tells you to eat every 2-3 hours, and I’ve been doing that for almost 15 years now. But it had become a real burden – I didn’t go anywhere without packing snacks, and if I went too long without eating I started to feel light-headed and weak, similar to how I imagine a low-blood-sugar crash feels.

Now that I have accustomed my body to whole foods and longer periods between meals (and yeah, those first few weeks WERE hard, I will freely admit it) I can go as long as I need or want to between meals without crashing, getting a headache, or feeling overly hungry. I am no longer a servant to my body’s constant desires.

As an example, last week I was invited to speak at a large gathering for work. I was on the schedule for 11:30am, however since it was a long list of speakers I figured they would be running late. I ate breakfast that morning around 7am, and when I showed up at 11 to prepare for my speech it was clear that I would not be speaking at 11:30, they were already 3 speakers behind. They had also opted to work through lunch to get all the content in before they lost the room later in the afternoon. I was able to hang around and wait until my turn, do my presentation, and take a barrage of questions without any issues. I don’t think I got to lunch until 2:30 or 3pm that day – and I was fine! Previously I would have had to sneak out while I was waiting to eat a snack just to keep from crashing – maybe more than once, but now that my body has transitioned to this new program I had no problems going 7-8 hours between meals!

It feels amazing, it feels like a new lease on life – I feel free! I don’t have to lug around snacks everywhere I go! I don’t have to constantly plan to eat, I can not eat if it’s not convenient and be fine! I finally have control over my body again, after years and years of being in service to its whims and desires.

Also I cook with butter and olive oil, I eat all the full-fat dairy I want, nuts are a regular snack, I eat avocados like I’m not scared of them anymore, and I don’t count calories. I don’t feel like I’m on a diet. I feel like a normal person and for me that is a BIG DEAL. So even if I hadn’t seen any kind of loss this week, I’m going to stick with this program. For me it’s a revelation, and it’s how I want to live.

Fasting Observations

Week four has gone pretty well. I have definitely noticed a drop-off in hunger pangs now that my body is more accustomed to both the fasting days and the longer periods between meals (ie, no snacking). The first couple of weeks I will admit I was very hungry between meals and during fasting days, some days it was distracting how hungry I felt all the time.

Today is a fasting day for me (I’ll break my fast at dinner) and it’s the best one so far. I’ve felt very little hunger, and what I did feel was easily dealt with by drinking either tea, coffee, bone broth, or sparkling water. These are my go-to options, by the way, for when I feel hungry and it’s not a mealtime.

I’ll weigh in tomorrow and I’m going to try not to get my hopes up. I’ve lost 10.5 so far and that’s about the limit when I’m working on this on my own, so it would be completely expected for me to not have lost anything this week or even to have gained. I hope that’s not the case but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much because prior experience, and I have a lot of it, tells me not to. My plan, if the scale isn’t down, is to switch up my fasts and see if that helps.

Tomorrow I have an all-day meeting I need to attend for work at a Marriott (I’m also presenting). That means I’ll cross my fingers and hope there are some lunch options I can put together without refined carbs or sugar. I’ll do my best, but my understanding about this method of eating is that it’s somewhat forgiving.

This weekend we (we = my husband and I. He’s totally on the bandwagon too) did some creative problem solving. We thought* we were going to have evening plans both days, so instead of showing up famished to dinner by fasting all day one of the days, which isn’t fun, we decided to fast until lunchtime both days. Technically I guess that’s an 18-hour fast, but in the real world we just call that skipping breakfast. We skipped the same number of meals as if we’d done a 24-hour fast one of the days, but made it work with our schedule.

(*We ended up cancelling everything because my husband got bronchitis, but the intention was there!)

In other news, I took this course on FutureLearn: Body Weight: How Our Brain, Behavior and Genetics Influence Appetite and Food Choices. It’s a three-week course if you go at their pace but I completed the material in two days. Registration is, I believe, still open, btw. It was vaguely interesting but did not conclude with any recommendations or suggestions. I guess that might be implied from the title of the course, but I always hope courses will have advice on how to apply the things you learn and this one didn’t offer anything like that. The major takeaway is that it’s complicated and no one factor causes or reverses obesity. In case you didn’t know that already.