Wednesday, November 29, 2023

December Weight Loss Challenge: Advent Fast to anticipate Christmas Feast

Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass surgery or weight loss drugs! Each month since January, this year, I've been issuing a series of monthly weight loss challenges (wow did that year fly by!) This month, I'm calling for an Advent fast to anticipate the Christmas feast. For four weeks prior to the Christmas holiday, Catholics observe Advent, a penitential season which prepares our hearts for the coming of Jesus. As in Lent prior to Easter, we up our prayers, fasting and almsgiving.

Part of how I lost 100 pounds was with a 1200 calorie diet such as Dr. Now uses on "My 600-lb Life" gastric bypass reality show. When I lost 35 pounds in 1992, after the birth of my 3rd child, I used intermittent fasting, a  weight loss technique that's come into vogue. I fasted on bread and water every Wednesday and Friday, for spiritual reasons, as our Lady of Medjugorje called us to. I had no thought to lose weight. But lose weight I did and it was a big surprise. 

So now every time I practice intermittent fasting, during religious seasons of Advent and Lent, I can't help  wondering and hoping to lose weight. Admittedly, it kind of takes the focus off spiritual growth to have this ulterior motive. But I guess it's all good because if I'm overweight and need to lose weight, then I'm doing my body as well as my soul some good with intermittent fasting. 

And really, intermittent fasting, or observing a 1200 calorie diet for a few weeks is good for emotional and mental health as well. It helps get the focus off food. In obesity, before I lost 100 pounds, I didn't practice self-control so well. And I didn't like that feeling of being out of control. "My 600-lb Life" shows people with morbid obesity struggling with food addiction and out-of-control eating. 

Following a 1200 calorie diet or intermittent fasting empowers me and makes me feel better about myself. "My 600-lb Life" shows gastric bypass patients happier as they take back control from food addiction. Now this might sound overwhelming to make such a drastic switch if you're used to eating a great deal more. But as I said in an earlier post, we don't have to do it forever. As Alanon says, we take it one day at a time. We ask for the strength just for today, to make choices that are in our best interest. 

And it's good for social health too. Eating less and simpler frees up monies to share with those who need it more than I do. It helps me live Advent virtues of love and generosity. Feel free to join me on the December weight loss challenge and even share it on social media! And stay tuned for more on how I lost 100 pounds. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds with KISS attitude of gratitude diet

 Hello my dear friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass surgery or weight loss drugs. During this month of Thanksgiving, I'm exploring how I lost 100 pounds with the Attitude of Gratitude Diet. Working on being more thankful and positive and less irritable and negative, for me, begins with meditation and Alanon slogans. Yesterday I looked at the Alanon slogans "One Day at A Time" and "Just for Today." And today is KISS or Keep it Simple, Sweetie. 

I struggle with a lot of past trauma with CPTSD or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic pain and sleep disorder including nightmares, apnea and arthritis pain. I have a lot of time, when I'm not sleeping due to pain or nightmares, to think. Sometimes I use that time productively and sometimes I don't. I agonize and worry, imagine worst case scenarios, exaggerate, etc.  

I'm looking for ways to relax my mind and so maybe be able to relax my body, or at least keep it to a dull roar. KISS is one way that is helping me. I tend to overcomplicate, micromanage and otherwise make things more difficult for myself and others. I'm working on keeping my thoughts more orderly. I think a word for that would be to focus, to do, as my beloved children's series "Flicka, Ricka and Dicka" learned, to do "one thing at a time and that done is a good plan."

Now that isn't always possible. Society today requires multitasking like never before. Maybe not so much physical, as it in times past, but definitely mental and emotional multitasking. Being freer from the physical tasks as we are now, our minds have to work in overdrive. That's why stress, fear, panic, anxiety and ergo, depression feature prominently in many of our lives. 

I can't do anything about events in my past but I can try to keep them from negatively impacting me any more than they already have. Now you might be tempted to think that the way to do this is to just "put it out of your mind." Don't dwell on it. Forget it. Move on. Well, anyone who's suffered with CPTSD would like nothing more than to let it go. But the problem is IT won't let US go. 

I believe that letting it go might be very dangerous, if it has not been processed properly. I'm 59 years old and it's only been in the past few years that I've actually let myself think and say what happened, how it made me feel and the disastrous effects it's had on me. I did not acknowledge the abuse, neglect, exploitation, endangerment, gaslighting, parentification, parental personality disorders and didn't even recognize these as such until I began to talk about it, think about it and yes, dwell on it a bit. Then it became so much clearer that what I had experienced was not "normal and healthy. It was traumatic, dysfunctional and crippling. 

By fighting the memories, feelings, thoughts, pain and suffering in, I overcomplicate them. I don't acknowledge how devastating they were. I minimize the impact, defend and excuse the perpetrators, beat  myself up and generally overcomplicate. When I accept that the past experiences did happen, when I let them in, I can let them pass through and out. One day at a time, just for today. 

I will definitely blog more about this because it is so critical to healing. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds and stay sane with Attitude of Gratitude Alanon Slogans


Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass surgery or weight loss drugs. This month as part of my 2023 series of weight loss challenges I'm looking at Thanksgiving. Not the dinner so much as the act of being thankful. Part of how I lost 100 pounds was by working on the "Attitude of Gratitude diet" and Alanon slogans are very helpful there. One of my favorites is "Just for Today." 

To me, Just for today means that I try to live the best I can without worrying about how I'll do tomorrow. Alanon encourages us to ask for the strength Today to do what would panic and overwhelm us to envision keeping up for a lifetime. Because we don't have to do it for a lifetime. We've been given today and that's all we're expected to live. So how what does that have to do with obesity, being overweight, weight loss or weight in general? How does that relate to the "attitude of gratitude diet"? 

The Attitude of Gratitude diet isn't so much about what you eat as it is being thankful for being able to eat (walk, move, live, love, etc.) I'm thankful to God for giving me this day to live and also that I don't have to worry about tomorrow. I have to plan for it but they are just plans, ideas or goals if you will. I don't have to manage tomorrow's tasks today. 

We see in the show "My 600-lb Life" examples of people's lives who have been all but destroyed by trying to do it all, have it all and fix it all. Sure now we see them crippled by obesity. But they didn't start life like that. Now we see the people on "My 600-lb Life" whining, pouting and being endlessly selfish and ungrateful. But they weren't always like that. Many of the "My 600-lb Life" backstories involve abuse, neglect, shame, and a continual beating down. So they learned to weaponize eating and in turn obesity. 

I read a story about the, at the time, oldest man in the world, who was a Jewish Holocaust survivor. He was asked his favorite food to which he replied that he hadn't a favorite. He was just glad to be able to eat. I urge us all, no matter where we are: overweight, underweight or average, to consider going on an attitude of gratitude diet. To live just for today, being glad and thankful for what we have. I have found that this helps emotional health immensely, if not physical health and weight loss. 

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Thursday, November 9, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds by identifying and avoiding anxiety triggers

 Hello my dear friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass surgery or weight loss drugs. Today, as part of my November Attitude of Gratitude weight loss challenge, I'm looking at stress/anxiety triggers and how they led me to overweight and obesity. Said differently, I'll show how I lost 100 pounds by identifying those stress and anxiety triggers. 

What does anxiety have to do with weight gain? Well if you've ever struggled obesity or weight gain, you get it. Emotional or comfort eating, binge eating, depression, exhaustion, sedentary lifestyle, withdrawal, fear of abandonment, social avoidance, all these interconnected. And sourcing the triggers was a major part of  how I lost 100 pounds. 

My life has been characterized by chronic and un-dealt-with low self esteem, feelings of FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) and CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). I was raised to think that I was responsible for everyone: parents, step-parents, half-siblings, foster children. I was expected to do their work for them, was parentified and shamed into constant blind submission. On the other hand, I was periodically abandoned, neglected, emotionally and experience CSA. 

It was drummed into my head that I was to do and be whatever anyone wanted of me. But also that no matter how much I did or gave, it would never be enough. And that I should never stop seeking to be ever more people pleasing. You can imagine what problems this caused with personal boundaries. I didn't know where others stopped and I began. 

This created an ever-exploding Molotov cocktail of self-hatred.  It's only been since my husband has been helping me explore how really dysfunctional and bizarre this all was, that I've been able to rethink, reparent and find some healing. 

I wasn't overweight as a teen or young adult. It only began when I lost two stillborn daughters and began taking Paxil. But depression and anxiety was triggered by chronic nightmares from those early experiences. I was constantly exhausted. I had trouble finding energy to keep up. It was easier to put on weight, also. Working to identify trigger memories and unstick from FOG.


Thursday, November 2, 2023

How I lost 100 pounds and manage stress by cutting sodium: Low salt recipes and tips

Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs! Today I'm looking at one enormous but often overlooked way to lose weight and also manage stress and that is by cutting sodium. I'm not advocating no-salt but rather a low salt and this works well with the 1200 calorie diet that was part of how I lost 100 pounds. The famous DASH diet that won diet of the year about a decade ago, was helpful in exploring low salt alternatives. 

Sodium is one of the four electrolytes (along with calcium, potassium and magnesium) necessary for cell functioning. Electrolytes as prevent dehydration as husband and I learned the hard way during Covid 19 when we drank plain water without electrolytes and experience severe dehydration. However sodium is the easiest to get  not only enough but too much of. And that causes problems with circulation and hypertension (high blood pressure). Coupled with cholesterol issues from overconsumption of transfat and saturated fats that the "western" junk food diet is so overfull of, it's a recipe for obesity and misery as "My 600-lb Life" shows. 

Part of how I lost 100 pounds was to cut sodium and eat it in healthier sources than table salt. I use vegetables like tomatoes, lemon and lime juice, herbs and spices, Bragg's Liquid Amino (good for you sodium) and Himalayan pink salt to hit that salty taste. Dr. Now of "My 600-lb Life" recommends these tips for his patients with obesity, awaiting gastric bypass surgery. 

Since I've lost weight, however, I notice that I'm less strict about the 1200 calorie diet and monitoring sodium intake. I still use the alternative sources but I'm not watching the hidden sources or counting the total salt quantity in recipes. And I need to do that because I'm notice hand-swelling due in part to overeating salt. I also notice more issues with pounding heart. 

So I'm going back to counting total salt intake, just like I monitor sugar and saturated and transfats. I'm also working on reducing my taste for salty foods. My kryptonite is salty snacks like tortilla and potato chips which I mindlessly snack on while watching TV at night. So I'm cutting up fresh vegetables (crudites) like colored peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, pea pods, celery, turnips, etc. I'm eating those with hummus instead of creamy dairy dips. 

To lose weight and reduce inflammation, I'm cooking with Bragg's Liquid Amino, Umami and herbs and spices to give a salt taste without the sodium overload. I'm drinking more water to flush the excess salt I may consume. Most importantly, I'm doing what Dr. Now is always exhorting his "My 600-lb Life" patients to do: read the signs (obesity, weight gain, swollen hands) and do something about it. It's all too easy to ignore them, sit back and wait for some miracle to happen that allows us to keep eating the way we want yet get different results. Or make excuses and expect someone else to fix it for us. 

I realize that this has always been the core of this blog. That although there are reasons why I got overweight, only I can fix it, with the help of my Higher Power. I also realize that needs a lot more unpacking which I plan to do especially during this month of November in my Attitude of Gratitude Diet Weight Loss challenge. 

Love, Mar! 

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