15 months ago, I set two uncompromising rules for this journey.
1. I will never eat less than 1200 calories in a day, no matter what my weight was doing
2. I would reserve the calories to have a drink each day, if I do chose. I use the work *if* a bit loosely.
I have adjusted rule one up considerably. I eat 1500-2000 calories daily. You have plans to eat even more, I am delighted say, after I reach my goal. This particular process is quite healing to me after binge dieting my entire adult life. I can’t say patience wasn’t a huge challenge. When I started logging every bite and sip, I was quite confident the scale would soar rapidly downward . The brutal truth was that it crept, but it kept creeping steadily downward. Week after week, month after month. All those 1 lb losses started to add up until I had more behind me than I did ahead of me.
I remember last June, I told Hugh that I finally had less than 100 lbs to lose. It was he first time in 12 years I could say that. Then it was 90, then 80, then 70. Today I sit with 25 lbs left to lose to reach my original goal. Do you know how many times in the last two decades I have lost 25 lbs? I FREAKING GOT THIS!!
For years, I didn’t think I could lose weight eating this “many” calories. I thought my metabolism was broken. In reality, my poor body was just trying to find some way to manage my wild caloric swings.
Tracking my calories and macros has been eye opening, and not without speed bumps. Back in October, I was coasting on 3 months straight of losing 8-10 lbs a month. Wanting to duplicate that for October in advance of my 20th wedding anniversary, I decided to ENSURE I lost 10 lbs and reached 199, I cut my calories from 1500 to 1200.
It was as if every fat cell in my body aligned in joint forces and the general of the fat brigade screamed “Halt!” I picture them, Braveheart style, as the calories suddenly dropped out from underneath them.
So throughout October and November I lost a total of 5 lbs. I can’t explain why, but I had actually forgotten that I’d made the decision to reduce calories. Finally, in early December, I decided to review my food logs for the most successful months. Lo and behold, I was eating 3-400 calories less each now. If calories in, calories out was all that mattered, my percentage of loss SHOULD have increased.
Cautiously optimistic, I raised my calories back up and within two weeks, illusive Onederland was mine.
By the end of January, I was down another 5. I was feeling a little restless and decided to consult with a nutrition coach. on the personal recommendation of several members of my box, I reached out to Mike Doehla at Stronger U Nutrition.
Mike sent me some basics about their plan, and at first I wasn’t too interested. Essentially, your assigned coach tracks your progress via a weekly spreadsheet you send in. Your macros are adjusted, as needed. I thought I was already doing that successfully.
A few more weeks went by, and I spent more time looking at the literally hundreds of success stories on their Facebook page. I’ve been involved in online weight loss and nutrition groups since AOL chat rooms were invented. A common thread in all of the, is a handful of phenomenal success stories and hundreds of “followers” who aren’t achieving the same results. STRONGER U was different. Their progress and success stories were prolific, but more than that, these folks looked that way I wanted to look. They weren’t smaller versions of their old self. They were, and are, strong, lean examples of true fitness.
I had less of a learning curve than most, I believe. I’d been tracking my food for so long, that was second nature. My passion for my nightly glass of tequila dictated that I was “allowed” to fit that into my plan. On the surface, it certainly was.
However, at 8 weeks in, when I suggested to my coach that i was thinking of cutting alcohol for the duration of my first session, I unleashed the Kracken. His words leapt off the page at me, essentially daring me to be a champion or remain average.
I certainly hadn’t fought back from extreme obesity, conquered my food demons and binge dieting to remain average. So in less than a day, my stray thought became a commitment and I gave up alcohol.
I loved my alcohol, but I learned quickly it was more of a routine than a necessity. Within a couple days, I was sleeping better, sounder, than I had in years. I started PRing in lifts and runs, and my weight loss increased just a tad. It’s still pretty glacial. I have averaged just over 1.5 lbs per week. That will probably slow even more as I get closer to my goal.
I’m so ok with that!
I went 6 weeks without a drink. Then, one night recently, after a very stressful day, I decided to have a drink. I decided well in advance, thought for an hour or so and decided to treat myself. I measured two shots of tequila into a glass, squeezed the fresh lime on top and looked lovingly at my long lost love. I passed the glass under my nose and it wasn’t as pleasant as I remembered.
I spent about an hour nursing that drink. I woke up at 3 am to pee and was hit with a horrible feeling of fogginess. For a moment, I thought maybe there was a carbon monoxide leak I the house. I felt like i was thinking in slow motion. Then I remembered that my friend, tequila, had joined me the evening before. I dragged myself into the bathroom, still puzzled at how a drink much smaller than I used to consume nightly could have affected me to this degree. When my alarm blared at 5 am to send me to Crossfit, I hit snooze. 9 minutes later, I turned it off. In three years, that was the first workout i have ever bailed on.
My sons informed me I had a hangover. My first one ever. I realized what I had been doing to my body by drinking almost daily for so many years. In addition to the wild swings in calorie and crazy food restrictions I imposed with regularity, I had been poisoning myself, albeit mildly, for a very long time.
I’ve said it before. Our bodies are a miracle. I had taken myself from a barely mobile, out of breath, in constant pain example of how not to treat your body to a functional, cross fitting, running, average sized person. All with alcohol as a companion. I was ready, finally, to end that relationship. Not as an experiment, but as a gift to myself.
I’m not saying I will never drink a glass of champagne at a wedding, or enjoy a neat whiskey with friends. I am saying it will forever be the exception in what I’m fueling my body with, because I deserve better. We all do.