I have been overweight for the majority of my life. Not just chunky, but obese. If you care about BMI, mine was something like 41%. Bad. I’m 5’5 and at my heaviest, I weighed 260 pounds. I have myriad health issues, some that just are, and some that were because I was obese.
February of 2016, I decided I would start taking steps to lose weight. So, I lost 165 pounds by dropping my husband. I know, I’m funny, right? But seriously, I did lose a lot of weight, very quickly, and in a most unhealthy manner. I stopped eating, for the most part. For approximately two months, I lived on a lovely diet of beef jerky and Mountain Dew. I lost 40 pounds. And a lot of hair. Ewww. I have low functioning thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease) and was not on the correct dosage of medication at the time, as I wasn’t going to the doctor regularly either. I wasn’t taking care of myself at all. When I collapsed in my bedroom floor in June of 2016 and my sister rushed me to the ER, the doctor on call told me point blank, “I understand that you’re stressed. But if you don’t get your shit together, you’re going to die.”
Wow. Ok. Thanks, jerk. How about some compassion?!
Honestly, it was the kick in the ass that I needed.
I was intentionally avoiding my regular doctor because I didn’t want to hear it from her. She’s extremely blunt. I knew she would tell me something similar, but likely a lot more bluntly than that. I was allowing what was one of the lowest points in my life to bring me even lower. And that wasn’t how I needed to deal with it. I had justified it by telling myself that at least I didn’t turn to food like I had in the past. This wasn’t any better.
So, I decided that instead of going on a diet, and failing, which is what me going on a diet always led to, I would change how I looked at food and commit to a lifestyle change.
July 1, 2016, I stopped consuming sugar.
Woah. That’s a jump, right?
Not really. I didn’t want to count calories, promise to start exercising right away, blah blah blah. I know myself. I have to pick one thing and do that thing. Then I can add other things. I had been reading articles for awhile about how horrible sugar is for children, I have a nephew with SPD, and my sister and I had already cut out sugar from his diet and seen a huge change in his behavior. He didn’t need to lose weight or get healthier from that standpoint, he needed the help for other reasons. And it worked. So, we cut out sugar in all the children’s diets. And we saw a huge change in all of their behavior. They were all able to focus more, they had more energy, and were generally happier.
I’m not going to tell you it was easy. It was hell, in the beginning. I was a carb junkie. Not in the sense of junk food (other than my beloved Mountain Dew), but I loved bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. And for the first week, I was miserable. I wasn’t hungry, surprisingly. I was just…bitchy. Very bitchy. I wanted my normal creamer in my coffee. I wanted a sandwich. I wanted.
But I got over it. Each time I wanted something sugary or carb-y, I drank some water.
And here’s what I found after 30 days:
1. My hair wasn’t falling out as quickly.
2. My skin looked like a newborn baby’s!! I had been suffering from breakouts worse than I ever did as a teen, and within a week of being sugar-free, zero blemishes.
3. I had so much energy. I had no intention of committing to any type of exercise program, but I found that I needed to burn off some of this excess energy, so I started walking.
4. I had focus! I was diagnosed with adult onset ADD many years ago. I can not take medication for this for a number of reasons, so I’ve always had to find ways to deal with it otherwise. I’ve struggled. After quitting sugar, I found that I have a lot more focus than I’ve had in the past, without struggling as much.
5. I lost weight, in a healthy and sustainable way.
Now, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve been sugar-free. I’ve since changed it up a bit, gone Low Carb High Fat, as I found out from my doctor that with having Hashimoto’s Disease, it is not healthy for me to consume less than 30g of carbs per day. However, I still do not drink soda or consume sugary foods, I keep my carb consumption to healthy, veggie based carbs. Do I indulge occasionally? Of course I do. I’m not a robot. And I still love chocolate. I just don’t make it a daily thing.
All of the things I found to be true after 30 days are still true. And I could add 5 more. Or 10 more. As of today, I’m 155 pounds. Still not HWP according to “the charts”, but I feel good. And that’s what matters, to me. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. Healthy doesn’t have to mean fit.
The biggest take away, for me though, is I feel better about myself. And that’s something you have to figure out, for you.