Thursday, September 21, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds by being honest

 Hello pals of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. Today, as part of my September Weight Loss Challenge: Back to Basics, I'm going to segue around the basic  I'm stressing, namely the importance of the 1200 calorie diet, to look for a moment at the essence of honesty.

Part of how I lost 100 pounds was by being honest, about how my obesity was making me look, feel and behave. I follow the gastric bypass reality show "My 600-lb Life" because there are so many lessons to be learned on weight loss, obesity and what I call "fatitude" (unhealthy mindsets that keep us fat). And one thing that's missing in the lives of those of us who are overweight, is honesty. 

"My 600-lb Life" shows patients hoping for gastric bypass surgery, avoiding, exaggerating, downplaying and lying about about and to themselves. Most are convinced they're not really that overweight, that their obesity is someone else's fault, that they don't overeat, that they look and feel better being way overweight, etc. That HAES (healthy at every size) movement (while having some merit) does perpetuate some of those dangerous myths.  

I've been normal to small most of my life. I spiraled into obesity after two stillborn babies. The more overweight I got the less honest I became about it. No one needed to tell me that I looked obese and old. I could see it when I was able to admit it. No one shamed me for being overweight. HAES says we are guilted by society into feeling ugly and that if we just change our mind about how we feel and think, it will fix everything. 

In my case, that didn't work. What worked was admitting that I felt ugly being overweight. That it was making me sick and I didn't like it. That I was making a lot of excuses and was ashamed of that. Once I removed the blinders and started that 1200 calorie diet, I was able to lose weight pretty easily. I've kept most of it off. And that, not trying to convince myself it's all good, it what makes me feel better. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

September Weight Loss Challenge: How I lost 100 pounds with fat-burning protein keto salads

Greetings friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. In January I began a series of monthly anti-obesity weight loss challenges and this month is Back to Basics September and the weight loss challenge is to restart or start the diet that most of us fell off during the summer. Following the 1200 calorie diet (similar to Dr. Now's of "My 600-lb Life") is part of how I lost 100 pounds. So I'm challenging myself to get back on that diet plan to maintain weight loss. One of the best diet foods I've used to lose weight are protein salads. Here are fat-burning protein keto salads (also called all food group salads). 

All food group or fat-burning protein keto salads feature a combination of vegetables, fruit, protein (meat, nuts and seeds), dairy, healthy MUFAS and some grains. They are a complete meal in themselves and really help curb hunger that is the bane of the 1200 calorie diet. Keto salads are perfect for those trying to beat obesity such as folks of "My 600-lb Life" experience. Or if you're just trying to maintain a healthy weight on a vegetarian or vegan diet, protein salads work well too. 

Berry Good Seeds Salad: So it's pretty common knowledge that nuts and seeds are a super good source of protein. But what's less known is that seeds are superior to nuts for fat-burning weight loss. My keto salads feature a variety of seeds like pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower, chia seeds, celery seed and seeds from berries: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate (kind of a berry fruit with the seeds inside). Oh and value added, berries are great antioxidants! 

So for my fat-burning salads, I start with spring mix, romaine/leaf lettuce and/or spinach. I sprinkle liberally with pepitas, add raspberries, blueberries or blackberries,  cashews and almonds and then mix in cooked chicken breast chunks or ahi tuna. I'll throw in feta or blue cheese chunks and top with Aji Verde sauce for dressing. At its simplest, Aji Verde (Peruvian) is blended cilantro, garlic, parmesan, lime juice and jalapeno. A little mayo can be added, but I just use mashed avocado. You can add the huacatay and hot yellow peppers if desired. I might also top with hummus or dress with lemon-vinegar-olive oil. 

You can jazz this up with any combination of nuts, seeds, berries and veggies you like. You can sub canned tuna, swordfish, salmon, steak pieces, bacon crumbles, etc. In fall, I add chopped apples (McIntosh or Granny Smith). You can use dried fruit but be sure to get the no added sugar type. If you're not vegan or egg-intolerant (I am), add diced hard-cooked egg. I don't add grain because it's just extra carbs but could use couscous or quinoa. And extra vegetables like colored peppers, onions or scallions, broccoli and cauliflower just add nutritional benefits without calories. 

All these work well for fighting obesity because they do fill you up and curb hunger. Just be sure to avoid the trap that I see so often on "My 600-lb Life." Patients awaiting gastric bypass will sabotage their own weight loss by taking a lovely, healthy salad and loading it up with all the not good: salad dressing, extra cheese and croutons. Those just max out your 1200 calorie diet with unnecessary fats and carbs. 

Stay tuned for more weight loss challenges, diet recipes and ideas on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds with Nature's Truth Daily Super Greens Powder (and this bada$$ lil blender)

Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds! I'm beginning my September Weight Loss challenge: Back to School with 1200 calorie diet, as I mean to continue: sharing a plethora of diet tips. Today's post explores how I lost 100 pounds using Nature's Truth Daily Super Greens powder and this bada$$ little blender! (see photo).

The Farberware Single-Serve blender is probably the best spent $15 ever. It's been going strong for like 10 years of daily use and was instrumental in how I lost 100 pounds (without gastric bypass or drugs). I think the Farberware Single-Serve blender is up to $21 now but still a great investment for anyone trying to lose weight. 

Part of the 1200 calorie diet I followed involved having a daily protein shake. I've used various plant protein powder mixes (NOW Pea Protein Powder and Purely Inspired Collagen Peptides being  favorites) over the years mixed with fruits and vegetables (blackberries, grapefruit, blueberries, spinach) targeted for weight loss. My husband drinks a plant protein shake every day and he was ironically able to gain weight after dangerous Covid 19 weight loss, to get himself up to a healthier BMI. 

Nature's Truth Daily Super Greens powder doesn't provide any protein but it does give a vitamin jolt from 20 different greens, fruits and vegetables. It's perfect if you're following a rainbow diet and I like it for my 1200 calorie diet because for only 70 calories I can ensure that I'm getting fruits and vegetables, prebiotics and electrolytes. I mix it with NOW Pea Protein or Collagen Peptides to get the protein. I'll throw in a handful of berries, some spinach or grapefruit for more weight loss boost. But even plain Nature's Truth Daily Super Greens powder tastes good. 

Oh and Farberware Single-Serve blender works wonders for other uses too. I've ground spices, blended homemade salad dressing, guacamole, aji verde sauce and other small portion foods. Stay tuned for more on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. And there'll be other weight loss challenge tips too. 

September Weight Loss Challenge: Back to Basics on 1200 calorie diet

 Hello my beloved friends and followers of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds (without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs)! I began this year issuing a monthly weight loss challenge but took a break in July and August. Now we're back in business with a September weight loss challenge: back to basics on the 1200 calorie diet. 

This blog explores how I lost 100 pounds in 2013-2014. I was so overweight that I was showing signs of hypertension, diabetes and liver problems. Ten years later (has it been that long??), I've managed to maintain most of the weight loss. I've yo-yo-ed a few times gaining back some weight. My BMI (body mass index) might contend that I'm slightly overweight again. But I don't place 100% faith in the BMI because there are so many other factors (overall  health, age, muscle tone, fat to muscle ratio, energy level, fit of clothing, the list is to long to rest so much weight on a mere height to weight ratio). 

Having said that, I know that my eating habits have gotten sloppy. So for September, I'm refocusing on the 1200 calorie diet that was integral to how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. And summer is an easy time to get lazy with eating habits. I mean, c'mon, I live in Ice Cream Parlor Shop Central. There are literally seven ice cream shops in a half mile radius. That's a lot of temptation (one is actually called Sweet Temptations!) 

Add to that the BBQs, cookouts, picnics, graduations, weddings, baptisms, Bar Mitzvahs, yada yada and there's always something to derail that 1200 calorie diets. But school starting up is a good time to get more regimented about eating healthier. Funnily enough, next month's weight loss challenge is going to focus on how to fall off the regimented diet but we'll get to that later. There really is a method to my madness, I promise! 

Part of how I overcame obesity was to follow a diet plan similar to the one gastric bypass surgeon Dr. Now of the reality TV show "My 600-lb Life" uses. On "My 600-lb Life" people with morbid obesity unlearn (hopefully) life-taking overeating habits and relearn life-giving new ones. There are some things the "My 600-lb Life" doctors use that I don't and vice-versa. Stay tuned for more on what I do and eat to maintain overall weight loss. (some then and now photos for comparison)

Thursday, August 10, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds ignoring the scale: Anxiety Out August weight loss

Hiya friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds. Today's post title might seem a bit paradoxical: how I lost 100 pounds by ignoring the scale? So how did you know you lost weight if you ignored the device which recorded your weight loss (if any)? Lemme splain. 

So clearly I needed to get a baseline weight when I first began my diet (I used calorie restricting on the 1200 calorie diet espoused by gastric bypass surgeon Dr. Now of the anti-obesity show "My 600-lb Life.") I also occasionally checked my weight loss progress. What I didn't do and still don't, 9 years after my big weight loss, is to babysit the scale weight myself daily or even weekly as Weight Watchers does. 

This diet pro-tip is part of my Anxiety Out August weight loss series. As you know if you've been following my "How I lost 100 Pounds" blog posts, this year I issued weight loss challenges beginning with New Year's resolutions and continuing. The challenge for Anxiety Out August is to de-stress weight loss as much as possible. 

Trying to lose weight can be incredibly depressing. When (not if) progress is slower than expected (because it always is), and you don't lose weight in places you want to and do in places you don't and intermittent fasting or calorie restricting on a 1200 calorie diet makes you tired and cranky (it will sometimes), anxiety will increase. And it's easier to stress or comfort eat, reduce exercise and stall weight loss. 

So back to my original tip of ignoring the scale. Weight measurement tools have their uses but they aren't' perfect and can knock anxiety out of the park. I personally believe that doctors put too much emphasis on scale numbers. If I'm not very overweight and my condition is not obesity related why must I be weighed every time I visit? And why, when I've just had shoulder surgery and have had to be more sedentary and probably did put on some weight, did I need it rubbed in my face? Answer: I don't. Or, if the doc thinks he needs to know for his own records, fine. I don't. And I always request they not tell me what I weigh. 

Is this just the same denial that people with obesity on "My 600-lb Life" practice? No. Because I know within about 25 pounds, what I weigh. I know how I feel, how my clothes fit, what I can do and can't do. I know what changes I've made in my life which have made me fitter (working a more active job and building muscle, which weighs more. I know my body shape (apple). I know our work schedule and how our SWSD (shift work sleep disorder) affects us. I know my age and how the older you get the easier it is to gain weight. And I can look in a mirror. 

A scale factors none of that in. And so yes, it may show that I have gained or even lost weight. I don't want to know because I will just agonize over it and hate myself. If I feel I've gained weight, I go back to the 1200 calorie diet for awhile. And I always look for ways to improve overall health, not just micromanage a number. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

CPTSD nightmares, sleep apnea, sleep problems and depression: deadly combination

 Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds. I'm coming to you today, not with weight loss success stories but in failure. Failure to figure out how to get a good night's rest  and recover from (or just live with) CPTSD, chronic nightmares, sleep apnea and other sleep problems. And I'm looking for ideas. 

So first, what's CPTSD (also written c-PTSD). It's Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In my case, much of it isn't even post, it's just traumatic stress disorder. Ergo the CPTSD. I've experienced many bizarre and unusual traumas throughout life, particularly in the years from 5-23. These come back to haunt me in constant (all night long, nightly) nightmares and traumatized sleep. I can't seem to get into deep delta sleep and skim the waves on REM and shallower sleep. I'm exhausted all the time. 

I've been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and used a breathing machine (CPAP) for about 8 years. Then I lost weight and the mask no longer fit. Additionally, chronic sinus problems made it impossible to breathe in a CPAP mask. I would have had to get a new expensive CPAP machine and  it didn't seem to be a good solution given I couldn't breathe properly in the CPAP mask. 

So now I try to get by on melatonin, Bach's Flower Essences and Hyland's homeopathic treatments. These help a bit with sleep but I'm still awake 1 to 2 nights a week (actually days because husband works 12-hour nights 5p to 5a, two on, two off. I try to keep up with his schedule when he works. So we're both suffering with Shift Work Disorder of different sorts. 

And nothing has helped the nightmare dreams. They've gotten more intense, crazy, chaotic and disturbing. I frequently dream that I've done some unspeakable thing that everyone is upset with me over. It is never my now family and always my family of origin (both parents remarried with children, two step-parents). I was parentified and made to do the majority of housework, basically a live-in nanny or au pair. 

I never had my own room, bed or even pillow, just whatever anyone had cast off. I was made to sleep with infants and toddlers (including 4 foster children) at both houses. The short periods I did have a room were temporary. I was routinely moved to other rooms to sleep with young children and my room was given to unmarried couples to sleep in (in the early 1970s that was NOT common at all). This happened repeatedly. And I just realized that I wasn't made to share my room with the infant, I was made to sleep in the infants room. It makes a difference. 

There's a lot more to this story and I plan to keep writing my way through it. If anything suggests itself for a sleep aid, please share. Thanks for reading. Love mar. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds: surprise weight loss secret

Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds after age 50 without drugs or gastric bypass surgery. So today I'm sharing a weight loss secret that I'm pretty sure I going to surprise you. It has nothing to do with diet, exercise or the Alanon mental health tips I've shared. So what is this miracle weight loss thing? 

One word: sleep. Or improved sleep. And conversely lack of sleep was part of how I got from normal to overweight to obesity. I've always struggled with PTSD (and ongoing traumatic stress disorder). Since childhood, I have nightly, night-long, terrible and terrifying nightmares. A sleep study showed that I spend about 5 minutes a night in deep delta sleep (normal is about 3-4 hours). I wake up frequently every  night and can't remember the last time I slept 5-6 hours without waking. 

I've been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and used a cpap breathing machine. I have scoliosis, back and cervical arthritis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic sinus trouble. I had congenital hip dysplasia as a toddler and it left me with very misaligned back, hips and legs. I struggled with headaches I later learned were migraines. I'm in a lot of pain in many parts of my body all night long. 

Sleep is more of a nemesis than a friend. I used to fall asleep every time I sat down especially when driving. I've nodded off standing up. I walk and talk in my sleep. It made me very unpopular at sleepovers and the butt of a lot of jokes in my family. In many pictures my eyes are half-closed I'm that constantly tired. Even as a child, I was tired a lot. When others were bouncing out of bed at 6 am, I could hardly drag myself out. Often, I was too tired to go out and play and I dreaded organized sports and games because I had so little energy.  

This was in the late 60s early 70s and I don't  know if people were just less informed or didn't care. Apparently a tired kid was an anomaly. Children are supposed to be full of energy so I must just be lazy. Not one of my four parents thought to find out why Marilisa was always tired. They just piled more work on. I was expected to keep up with a lot of chores, wait on adults, made to sleep with young children and get up at night with them, spend long hours caring for foster and half siblings and was essentially parentified by age 10. All that has had a disastrous effect on sleep to this day. 

It didn't even occur to me how critical sleep is to lose weight until I began to blog about how I lost 100 pounds. And I assumed my crazy sleep was normal and just thought I was less good at dealing than those with more energy.  But there's good news. I now have a loving family who didn't blow off my nightmares, sleep talking, chronic pain, apnea, etc. They have been helping me to see that these are not normal and that I need to find ways to sleep better. 

The nightmares and chronic pain haven't abated but together we are exploring ways to make it better. And the best part is that someone cares. I'll blog more about sleep aids I've tried, what works and how it was helpful in weight loss. 

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