I must confess, my love of food has caused me weight issues over the years. I seem to lose and regain the same fifteen pounds over and over again. Most everything I like to eat isn’t really good for me and I blame my mother for my insatiable sweet tooth and affinity for baked goods. I know fruit is good and naturally sweet, but why not help it along with some pound cake, pudding, and whipped cream?
It’s been challenging as the years have gone by to come to terms that I am not the same weight as I was twenty years ago when I met and married my husband. In my mind’s eye I see myself as that same figure while in reality I am not. My ultimate goal one day is to once again fit into a lovely black dress that I wore on my honeymoon in Saint Lucia. *Sigh*
I was naturally slender most of my life. I realized though that my smaller figure was mostly due to having lactose sensitivity and then lactose intolerance – the inability to digest milk sugar. Growing up I just thought I had a nervous stomach and that this was normal. When you cannot eat milk, cream, cheese, ice cream, you naturally tend to stay slim because you cannot easily digest these things and, well, they just pass right through. I think you get the idea. When I first discovered lactose supplements, which artificially supply your body with the missing milk enzyme, I began down that slippery slope of eating dairy products again and then I began putting on a few pounds and then a few more. Dairy products + sweet tooth = I hate the scale!
Ever one to find a novel approach to shedding those nagging pounds, I’ve tried quite a few plans – Atkins, The Zone, Smoothies and Juicing, The Daniel Plan, and even Weight Watchers. What’s the definition of insanity? Each plan has had great ideas but, it’s been a never-ending battle to stick with one and maintain a consistently healthy weight. Those same fifteen pounds would come off and then creep right back on again, mostly due to that sweet tooth and cravings for carbs…and maybe even because binge watching beats exercise any day. There’s nothing like seeing a picture or video of yourself with those fifteen pounds on again to make you want to lose the weight once more. Am I right?
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and research promoting a plant-based diet and that it improves your health and weight in a wealth of healthy ways, in addition to reducing your cancer risk. I’ve been intrigued by Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, and much of his advice has really clicked with me. He promotes the nutritarian lifestyle which encourages eating nutrient-dense plant-based foods, especially raw veggies and cooked veggies everyday plus several servings of fruit along with beans, nuts, and seeds. I was channel surfing just last week when I came across Dr. Furhman on public television discussing the very book I’ve been reading! Coincidence? I think not. I’ve slowly been trying to implement his concepts into my diet and I must say I am liking the results – feeling healthy and losing the pounds once again.
With four of my immediate family members touched by different types of cancer, I know I cannot control my genetics, but I can embrace a healthier lifestyle because I can control what I eat and how much exercise I get. All the plans I’ve previously tried have had some good points and some healthy recipes, and I think I have taken into account little bits of everything I’ve learned:
- There is no ‘One Size Fits All’ plan for good health and optimal weight – the plan that works the best for me is the one that will make me healthiest and the one I will stick with because I believe in it.
- If bad food is the house – I will eat it. Honestly, I have no willpower, especially for sweets. A few months ago I was eating a couple of marshmallows after meals to satisfy my sweet tooth craving, thinking “What’s the harm?” Then I looked at the ingredients. Yikes!
- The average American diet is too full of foods that simply are not healthy for me. I’ve been trying to stop eating processed foods and to do my best to eat all my veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds. And less sugar means less belly fat, less brain fog, more natural energy.
- The only exercise I will do is the one that gets me moving – I’ve owned many expensive pieces of gym equipment that became pricey clothing racks and let two athletic club memberships expire because I simply did not use them (did I mention binge watching?). But I did join a badminton club which I love, and also joined a hiking club which has been so much fun and even made some new friends. And I make point to walking or biking with the husband every other evening.
So much of our family life revolves around food (see my previous post, “Food Is My Love Language”) or meals that it’s hard to break bad habits; and family members still request recipes and dishes that they are fond of, so change will probably come slowly. I just hope I don’t become that person – always talking about weigh/diet/health and then go eating something all carby and dairyish. I am sure I will indulge a bit at parties or at restaurants for special occasions. But, in the end, I decide what I eat and for now I’m really enjoying this nutritarian lifestyle.
Time will tell if I will stick to this plan, but I just had my annual physical and my cholesterol is down to 145 from 195 a year ago, and I said goodbye to that nasty 15 pounds 10 pounds ago. And you’ll never guess what I was able to wear recently… #honeymoonblackdress!
What helps you maintain your ideal weight? What helps you get moving?