Live Real. Eat Real.

Unidentifiable Facial Objects

The subject of this week’s Spin Cycle is UFOs.  Jen asks the question:

“Do you believe in unidentified flying saucers? Aliens? The unexplained? Have you seen them? Met them? Been abducted? (No judgement here! We’re here to listen!) Do you think it’s nothing but hogwash, a distraction made up by the US government in an attempt to cover up their own sinister experiments?”

Ummmm…I do believe the only thing I agree with in any of the above questions is the word “hogwash.”

And y’all probably already knew that.

At any rate, I thought I’d take this as an opportunity for a little photographic disclosure.  You see, I absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt HATE having my picture taken.  Which is really a shame, because if the angle and lighting is just right, I’m kind of cute.  Oh, not a raving beauty by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not like Quasimodo hideous or anything.

I am – and I’ve made no pretense about this – overweight.  By quite a bit.  When I moved to Ohio in June 2005, I was about 60 pounds overweight.  I didn’t think a whole lot about it; I’ve been overweight my entire life and that 60 pounds was still 60 pounds lighter than my very heaviest in my mid-20s.  But I wasn’t really happy moving so far away from Texas, where I’d lived my whole life, or my family – especially my two older children, who I still miss more than I can ever say.  So I turned to food and drink for solace, and packed on another 30 pounds.

On December 23, 2007 Beloved and I flew to Hawaii to be married.  It was the day after my 45th birthday and not only was I not feeling well at all, I was anxious and stressed out.  You see, my mother developed an aeortal aneurysm at 46 and died of a fatal heart attack at 51 and I was staring both right in the face.  Mom had been a heavy smoker all her life, and here I was, following in her footsteps.  So, the night before we boarded our plane, I smoked my last cigarette.

I won’t lie – I was ready to quit; I wanted to quit.  I hated being ruled by it, so I figured since I was going to be on an airplane or in an airport for 16 hours straight and couldn’t smoke, I could go without it for the rest of my life.  So I did – and it was easier than I ever could have imagined; by the time we came home 12 days later, I knew I’d never, ever smoke again.  3 1/2 years later, I still have not smoked, nor do I miss it…but there’s been a trade-off, in the form of another 30 pounds.

If you’re keeping track, that’s 120 extra pounds I was carrying – and I was back up to my previous all-time high weight.  Kind of sobering, isn’t it?  I thought so, and in the spring of 2010, decided to truly (and finally) do something about – so I joined Weight Watchers online.  It was, quite frankly, a miserable failure; I’m by no means an “A type” personality, but I do have many OCD tendencies and counting points (or carbs or calories) does not put me in a happy place – I’ll obsess over it to the point that I drive myself and everyone around me insane, and eventually just quit out of desperation.  After two weeks on Weight Watchers, not only was I spending every waking minute trying to “maximize” my “points,” I was constantly hungry; it got to the point one afternoon I was so ravenous that I was lightheaded and ill.  When I found myself shoveling in meat and cheese and eggs one afternoon, I realized that maybe, just maybe, a low fat/high carbohydrate diet wasn’t for me.

So, in May of last year, I announced my decision to change the way I eat.  My first inclination was a low carb diet; it didn’t take long for me to realize that spending a lifetime trying to recreate carby, starchy dishes with low carb ingredients just wasn’t going to cut it – if I were going to eat a pancake, it was going to be a real damn pancake (of course, finding out that I am casein and gluten intolerant has changed that to a degree).  About this time, I read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and watched Fat Head: You’ve Been Fed A Load Of Bologna by Tom Naughton; it wasn’t long before I was eating a lower carbohydrate diet of whole, unprocessed foods.  In the last three or four months, my diet has pretty much gone paleo…well, a version of it, anyway.   While I have ceased fearing fat, especially saturated fat, and cook with it liberally while enjoying fattier cuts of meat, I don’t drown my food in it.  Nor have I completely shunned carbohydrates – just refined carbohydrates (which yes, includes “whole” grains – a misnomer, since all grains must be processed and refined to a degree to make them edible).

For those who might read this and think weight loss is all about calories in/calories out or eating less and moving more, the volume of what I ate did not change – just the content.  And I dropped 25 pounds in about 4 months, without any exercise whatsoever.  I lost another 7 pounds following a tonsillectomy in November, but gained 5 of that back over the holidays.  And that’s were I’d been stuck until May of this year, when we cut out much of the starchy vegetables we’d eaten over the course of the winter (we had quite the love affair with winter squashes and sweet potatoes) and began incorporating more fresh, green leafy vegetables.  Since then, I’ve lost the 5 pounds I regained over the holidays.  This might also be a good time to confide we’ve introduced some non-stressful exercise to our daily routines – about 5 days a week, we either walk 2 or 3 miles or we go into our basement and do weight bearing exercises (some days we do both).  That initial 5 pound loss has stalled once again, but all of my clothes are falling off of me.  No small accomplishment considering I have the metabolism of a comatose slug AND am going through menopause.

Which brings me to the title of this post – how I look now that I’ve lost the weight I gained when I quit smoking (I’ll publish more when I’ve lost the weight I gained when I moved, and yet some more if and when I lose the weight I needed to lose when all of this started).  I’m not quite brave enough to post full body photos (I may never be quite that brave) but I don’t need to:

 

Wedding Day - January 2, 2008

 

About 6 months later, after I cut my hair

 

Hiking Hocking Hills, Spring 2009

 

Hiking Hocking Hills, Autumn 2009

 

I'm a Grandma! October 2009

 

G Man's 1st Birthday - August 2010

 

June 14, 2011

It’s nice, not having to worry about Photoshopping out my double chin anymore.


38 comments

Be says:

Ah but you are ravishingly adorable and cute! And you have always be hawt!

Jan says:

Well, dear, I’m glad YOU think so. ;)

hot damn! Wow! You look fantastic! All if this is from a modded paleo-style diet with walking? I am impressed, and inspired.
I tried getting back into exercising like a fiend, and had a panic attack to show for it. I have gone numerous times to the ER because I am afraid of dying of a MI (heart attack). I was told yesterday by my physician to seek out professional gym trainers to learn how to work out, and lose weight.

See, I have 55-60 lbs to lose myself. At 5’7″, and 215, I am not what you call slim!
Congrats on the non-smoking as well. I quit March 21st, 2008 at 3h33. That is pretty close to you as well? Isn’t that wonderful. I can attest to the cigarette withdrawal putting on the weight.

True story: I once ate a whole box of PC Double Decadent Chocolate Chip cookies in a sitting to satisfy a craving. I looked at the box for kicks, (back then I was into calories, not carbs)
An saw 210 calories per serving. Okay, not so bad, right?

A serving was 2 cookies. I had ate 24 cookies! I think the carbs were 45 g per serving. Imagine.

Oh how I ramble! Jan, you are an inspiration! Keep up the good work!

Jan says:

Thank you, Jason!

I used to suffer from horrible anxiety attacks and had more than one trip to the emergency room, wondering if I weren’t suffering from a heart attack (nope, just anxiety). They have all but disappeared since giving up all the lovely NADs (Neolithic Agents of Disease, for those unfamiliar with the acronym – grains, refined sugars, industrial seed oils and non-fermented, genetically modified soy). I’ve had maybe two that I can remember in the last year, and they were nowhere nearly as severe as before.

Now, having said that, I think as a society we are horribly mislead to believe that the road to glowing good health, to say nothing of weight loss, includes daily and intense exercise (think about The Biggest Loser). I think that for those of us who are NOT professional athletes or physical fitness instructors this is entirely the wrong approach – it’s not only hard to maintain for any length of time, it raises our cortisol levels, putting our bodies under more stress than it really needs or can handle. Undue stress is bad not only for our good health, but for weight loss as well. Which is not to say that I don’t think we won’t benefit from exercise – if I felt that way, I wouldn’t be exercising at all because, trust me, I loathe it – but sustained, intense, daily exercise? More harm than good for the average Joe or Jane.

Be says:

Couldn’t have been said better by Mark Sisson!

At the risk of sounding stupid here… bear with me.
I get my panic when I have a stupid palpitation. There is no REAL chest pain or anything, just uncomfortable. Then my pulse skyrockets. (No shit – I am scared stupid.)
I think its because my blood sugar is plummeting, or doing something wonky. It is hard to pin-point, as the numbers aren’t backing it up,. (*Well, I am testing after having a palpitation… and the numbers are either normal or high – but again, with a high pulse – who knows what is going on there?)
The stupid question – I know, stop RAMBLING. LOL
Your panic attacks, were they stemming from you thinking you were having an attack? Like a quick palp?
I have been hooked up to many an ECG, and admonished for being a hypochondriac. LOL. Thing is, they need to take me a bit seriously because I am a diabetic. (Which means I can wait 8 hours in the ER, but others they would just give a pill and send on their way. LOL )
The reason I ask is because THAT’s why I have not totally complied with the Paleo/Primal WOE. I know its good for the blood sugars, but the fear is that I need some carbs. My body craves them – and I sometimes have panic about that too.
Yes, I know, a mess, I am!
As for exercise, I am destined to follow the PB way: A long walk daily with the dog (at least 2.5 miles to 3 – that takes around an hour)
The rest of the exercise is where I fall flat too. I am not really interested in bulking up right now, more about slimming. I can’t do a pull up to save my life right now. Sit ups, push ups aren’t bad. Apart from that, I am still a bit lost.

Sorry to jack this comment thread. It’s a little late, and felt like unloading!
BTW: Have you gone over to WDC and checked out my giveaway? Its up your alley Jan!

Jan says:

Wow. LOL I’m going to reply to this in Friday’s post, if that’s all right with you.

Michele says:

You look fantastic! But I thought you did before. It’s how you feel that is important and I’d bet you feel great.

Jan says:

Thank you! I agree, how I feel is far more important, and I DO feel great; more on that in my response to MamaBadger.

MamaBadger says:

What’s way more important than how you look in a picture is how you feel! You should go back over all your old posts and see the way your descriptions of how you feel that day have changed. It’s amazing. When we first “met” every day sounded like a physical challenge. Now every day you tell us how much your enjoying yourself (and not just your new shoes).

I’m glad you found your happy place.

Jan says:

I don’t have to go back over my old posts; I’m well aware of the changes in how I feel. But yes – I used to bitch quite a bit about feeling crappy, having no energy and insomnia and none of those things are true any longer. As I told Beloved the other day, “Feeling crappy used to be the norm for me; I was all like ‘I feel pretty decent today – alert the media.’ Now, the opposite is true.” And I’m really digging on that.

WOW! What a difference! What else is there to say but congratulations and…you go, girl!! :-D

Jan says:

Thank you! I’m feeling pretty good about it all. :)

Lisa says:

My first reaction at that final photo? Wow. She looks so YOUNG. Like a girl. These photos make me very, very happy. Congratulations. Now I’m going for a walk:).

Jan says:

They make me happy, too – trust me, or I wouldn’t have posted them. I believe a walk is in m immediate future today, as well. :)

Yay!! I’m so proud of you! I adore you no matter what size or shape you are, but I’m glad you’re feeling better and happy and proud of your accomplishment. (As you should be!)
I’m trying the colonoscopy diet this week … fun times!

Jan says:

I saw that on your blog – I had one several years ago (they were trying to find out why I was so damned anemic). I know you’ll be glad when it’s over!

Robyn says:

I love your blog and I think you were beautiful in 2008 and are beautiful now!

Jan says:

Thank you Robyn! I really appreciate that.

As soon as I saw your picture on Facebook, I had to say something. :-)
I am so proud of you and so HAPPY for you since you’re feeling better than ever and it shows in the way you write too.
You’re linked!

Jan says:

Thank you, ma’am! I’m happy to be feeling better, too. But am a bit disappointed in the dearth of Sasquatch posts so far this week. LOL

VandyJ says:

You look wonderful!
I think there are diets that works for some people and diets tht work for other people–there is no one diets fits all. And really, healthy eating and really looking at what you put in your mouth makes the biggest difference. Good stuff in, good stuff out.

Jan says:

Thank you – yes! There’s a big brouhaha in the paleo community right now because one of the most prominent and vocal supporters is now prominently and vocally “ditching” the diet after 14 years. He seems to have pigeonholed the diet as a very low carb/very high fat diet, when in truth it’s really all about getting rid of those awful NADs I wrote about a couple of comments up there. My diet may not be what works for you, and your diet may not be what works for me – I know some very active people who are able to tolerate a great many more grams of carbohydrate than I am, and my young diabetic friend can barely tolerate any at all. Some people can eat a lot of fat – I’m talking 80% or more of their calories – but most of us get by with a bit less, although I think anyone who is getting less than 30% of their calories from good fats is asking for trouble. It is really dependent on the lifestyle and tolerance of the person.

chuck says:

Wow…incredible difference. Good for you. I concur regarding looking younger. Amazing how that works. Bet you feel younger too.

Jan says:

I do, indeed, feel younger – but that may just be because I feel so much better now than I did a year ago. And I plan to keep on keeping on.

Erin says:

I was hoping you’d give us the behind-the-scenes of that facebook photo. You do look amazing, and young, but the most important thing is how you feel. Sooooo happy for you, Jan. xo

Jan says:

Thank you Erin!

Pseudo says:

I think you are a cutie and always have, such a sparkle in those eyes. I have to say, that last photo you do look not only cuter than ever, but younger as well. SO happy for you Jan. Glad you are feeling great!

Jan says:

Thank you so much, Pseudo! You have no idea how good it is to “see” you again! :) I hope you’ll be posting more this summer – I miss your blog!

Ellie Belen says:

Lovely transformation. Scrolling down the pictures, I kept seeing a beautiful woman, and then the final picture. Way to turn back the hands of time! All by loosing only thirty pounds overall?

You have inspired me to do the same. I recently changed my diet after reading your blog because for me, it made so much sense. The super uncomfortable stomach bloat is gone. My reflux is gone, my gall bladder stopped talking to me, and the general feeling of overall body inflammation has lessen considerably. I’ve lost nine pounds so far.

Jan says:

Ellie, this made me cry. I don’t know what to say – I’m so honored (and humbled) that what I write has helped you and all the other people who comment here or have emailed me telling me how much better they feel eating the way I do.

I’m glad you think it makes sense – I do, too. And feeling better is what it’s all about really, isn’t it? The weight loss is just a lovely bonus.

Gretchen says:

Dang, woman! You look excellent. I mean, you looked excellent before the weight loss, but now? You look so YOUNG! Don’t you love that? Oh, and tell Beloved he’s pretty cute too.

Jan says:

Thank you, Gretchen – coming from someone as lovely as you, that means a LOT to me! As for Beloved, if you think I look young and thin, you should see him. I’ll have to post a picture soon, if I can get him to sit still long enough to take one. ;)

Jen says:

I don’t know, I think you’re cute and pretty regardless! You must be a very kind and fun woman, because it sure is coming through in your face. :) Y’all make a cute couple.

I’m very glad you feel better and are doing so well on the pseudo-paleo diet (as a raw milk and cheese lover, I just can’t give dairy up, but I’m doing pretty much the same thing, only with plenty of fat, with no ill effects—just the opposite, in fact!). Feeling better is the biggest change and the best part, IMO! Heck, a year ago, we thought I wouldn’t even make it to Christmas. And there’s no reason for someone my age to feel that way unless there’s something major going on.

Tom Naughton is awesome. Though “Fat Head” makes me crave a big, juicy burger (sans bun) smothered beneath spinach and blue cheese… ;)

Jan says:

Thank you, Jen! I just wish we could get raw dairy easily here. *sigh* I’ve had more than one person tell me my casein sensitivity might not be an issue with raw dairy.

I do feel better, and I am in no way eating anything that could be construed as a “low fat diet” – a full 50% to 60% of my food intake on any given day is in the form of healthy fats (but announcing that on my blog will freak a lot of my “old” readers out). About 25% to 30% is protein and the rest is from unrefined carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, fruits and some tubers.

I adore Tom, but I’m partial to funny, cerebral men. Just ask my husband. ;)

[...] I get to reading a wonderful post from Jan at Jan’s Sushi Bar. Turns out that her anxiety went away when she cut the crap out of [...]

CaJoh says:

Stopping by from the Spin Cycle…

Congratulations on your progress so far. The best of skill in sticking to your changes and hoping that you can overcome those stalls.

Awesome spin!!!

Peg says:

I could write whole books about all the weight I have gained and lost and regained in the last few years. I am so over it. I have the worst metabolism EVER. I think my thyroid is completely dead!

You are just adorable!

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