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