The losing battle, Week 9: Another week, another pound

Down another pound, despite a day or two of inadvertently going over my 100-gram carb limit. This means a grand total, so far, of 23.6 pounds lost since January 11. That’s 8.3 percent lost. Feel free to do the math.

Losing a whole person’s worth of weight takes time. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Off kefir in the mornings for a while; I found myself queasy and feeling loaded down after having my usual breakfast smoothie. Opting for almond milk with the other smoothie ingredients instead, plus a boiled egg chaser for the protein. Feeling no discomfort as a result.

I also need to figure out how to recalibrate the Fitbit. The past couple of days, I logged nearly 4,000 steps daily – not much for most people, but a lot for me – and I know I wasn’t quite that active.

Still feeling unsettled. Can’t decide if it’s because I took my meds later in the day than usual. Grazing more than I usually do, albeit with slightly healthier things (cheese stick, avocado and milk, boiled egg) than I might have eaten three months ago.

Finally got around to registering for a COVID-19 vaccination after I read this Washington Post article about obesity qualifying some folks for the vaccine. Turns out I’m eligible now for vaccination here in Illinois by virtue of my fatness. Yay, I guess?

The fact that obesity is a COVID-19 comorbidity factor is a big reason I’ve placed myself under a bariatric doctor’s care now, so I’m certainly grateful for qualifying. (Really, it was the tipping point for me in my decision.) That said, I’m also fine with waiting in line — at least I have the relative luxury of being able to work from home and self-isolate more than most — while others who need it more get the vaccine.

A particularly stressful day at work yesterday had me thinking about whether stress affects weight loss. If this article is any indication, the answer is yes.

So, rather than stay up late for work last night, I went to bed at my usual time. Got the best sleep I’ve had in days. Hope I don’t regret it as the work day begins.

The losing battle, Week 8: Birthday splurge appears harmless -- for now

Despite indulging last night in Jollibee fried chicken and a peach mango pie in a pre-birthday feast, I still managed to weigh in 3.2 pounds down from last week.

Went out for a birthday breakfast at a local diner (masks and plexiglass partitions everywhere), and C speculated that maybe my body is so used to my eating patterns now that it can accommodate a variance like last night without my weight going haywire. On the other hand, I’m wondering, since that splurge was just last night, maybe some weight gain will surface later.

I might have another peach mango pie (which has a whopping 49 grams of carbohydrate) tonight; otherwise, I don’t anticipate veering off track again for a while. (I celebrated this morning with a feta and spinach omelet, decaf, and a fruit cup; no toast, pancakes, or hash browns.) I may get bored with these eating habits periodically, but I’ve reached a comfort level with them now.

The losing battle, Week 7: Surprising, slow, and steady

Another 1.1 pound lost. This makes for a total of 19.4 pounds lost since January 11.

I’m kind of surprised, given some intestinal issues the past few days. Been dealing with several mornings of mild nausea, queasiness, and constipation. (TMI, I know.) Except for Saturday – when I had some extremely comforting matzo ball soup plus half a cabbage-based Reuben salad – it’s meant a bunch of middays of minimal, if any, eating.

I felt mildly well enough by lunchtime today to have a little something (two cheese sticks, some turkey cold cuts, and the rest of my Reuben salad). Left out the Amazing Grass superfood powder in the morning kefir smoothie to see if debulkifying breakfast might help ease the discomfort. (But I did have an Amazing Grass effervescent tablet in some water, and I’ll probably have some of the chocolate superfood powder in almond milk for dessert tonight.) I also realized that I’d been drinking slightly less water recently, so I’m trying to step up my water intake.

Also, the old Fitbit died over the weekend. Got a new one, and it seems to be a little too generous with my step count. Meanwhile, I was too queasy and uncomfortable to work out at all since Thursday or Friday. I have some catching up to do.

A low-carb rut? Paging Dr. Google

Rough day yesterday on the eating front. Second straight day of intestinal discomfort that seemed to stem from my morning kefir smoothie, leading to minimal appetite at midday. By dinner, I’d be in major hangry mode. Thursday was unpleasant, and Friday was even worse, because I had to be meatless. I find having to plan meals and pick foods annoying.

I wish I hadn’t hit a wall just five or six weeks into this, but it’s official: I’m already bored with low-carb eating.

As with so many things, I’ve turned to Dr. Google to figure out how to climb out of this rut. (I stayed away from keto-specific links because, frankly, keto is a cult and I’m sick of hearing about it.) Linking to some worthwhile advice below.

“Hangry” is not a good thing to be during Lent. Especially when you’re missing breaded fish and French fries and macaroni and cheese on Fridays BECAUSE YOU’RE LIVING A LOW-CARB “LIFESTYLE” NOW.

Having a cheese stick while I was hungry and crampy was NOT a good idea.

Happy to see that Pepto Bismol, so far as I can tell, has no carbs.

The losing battle, Week 6: “You’ve got this!”

Checked in with the bariatric doctor today. I’m now down another 2.5 pounds, making the total weight loss at 18.3 pounds since January 11.

The doctor was pleased and encouraging: “You’ve got this!” he told me. He also got me to change pharmacies for the phentermine after I told him how much I had to pay out of pocket for it last month. Ended up paying less than half the price tag from last month.

Then he gave me a few tips on YouTube exercise videos, told me to get some sun once things warm up, and sent me on my way.

So, I’ll keep going the way I’ve been going and see him again in May.

Putting the “Fat,” kind of, in Fat Tuesday

Final Fat Tuesday carb count: 148 grams of carbs. I’m supposed to consume less than 100 grams each day, as prescribed by my doctor.

(But I was under my protein, fat, and caloric limits, as prescribed by the MyFitnessPal app.)

This carb overload marked only the second or third day in more than a month that I’ve gone over my limit. It was by far the most carbs I’ve consumed in a single day since I saw the bariatric doctor last month.

Splurged on 1.75 paczki — that’s 0.75 more paczki than I planned to eat. Plus I had sips of Chris’ frozen hurricane and bottled mojito.

But I still opted for half a plate of steamed veggies, a “stick” of chicken satay, and a couple of spoonfuls of basil chicken — which included a generous amount of green beans — at dinner. I was short about 2 servings of vegetables (not counting the greens powder in the morning smoothie), but I still avoided the brown rice and noodle dishes.

Frankly, I didn’t want to eat the rice and noodles; I’ve gotten used to the healthier, carb-free eating, plus the dinner I had was much more satisfying (and guilt-free). And I’m delighted that I have a decent strategy now for our local Thai takeout place.

The grease spots make Paczki Day official. The spots also tell me that Fat Tuesday means I can throw carb counts to the wind today. (And just today.)

The losing battle, Week 5.1: A corrective measure

As I suspected, the enormous weight loss logged yesterday was wrong. As of this morning, I’m only down 2 pounds. That makes a lot more sense, given how I haven’t done anything drastically different with my eating and activity habits.

The trajectory is still downward – I’m now down 15.8 pounds, or 5.6 percent of my weight when I began all this – so I’m fine with even the smaller loss. A 10-pound drop within a week at this point was alarming.

(I thought about deleting the post with the errant reading, but I’ll leave it. Doesn’t hurt to keep a record of oddities like that, and there’s an update on it, anyway.)

I may well blow any readings out of the water today, as it’s Fat Tuesday and I’ve already logged the calories and carbs for anticipated paczki consumption. Just having one half of two different packzis; the total will account for nearly half my carbs today.

But then tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, I’ll be minimal and meatless with any food intake a day later. Maybe it’ll all even out, God willing.

Welp, a quickie look at the scale this afternoon said I’m closer to last week’s weight after all. I’ll check it again tomorrow morning; if it turns out I’m vastly different than where I allegedly was earlier today, I’ll tweak the weight progress in my app.

The losing battle, Week 5: I should be happy

The scale says I lost another 10.6 pounds this past week. It seems odd, I know, to be on the verge of complaining, but I am wary of this amount of loss for two reasons: (1) I don’t feel like I did anything that different last week, and (2) A sizable weight loss like this 5 weeks in seems a little alarming.

Before this morning, I had weighed myself sporadically during the week and saw a 1- or 2-pound loss here and there. My daily step count still rarely goes past 2,000. (I’m supposed to be aiming for 10,000 steps per day.) And I’ve only worked out a couple of times, mainly over the weekend, this past week. So, today’s scale reading is a surprise.

This amounts to 24.2 pounds gone since the doctor limited me to 100 grams of carbs a day, among other things.

Maybe treating myself to a little paczki tomorrow for Fat Tuesday won’t be that big a deal after all.

Update (5:38 p.m. Central): I weighed myself in the afternoon and found my weight much closer to last week’s numbers. I’ll weigh myself tomorrow morning; if I end up at a vastly different weight than the one I saw this morning, I’ll tweak my records.

I’ve been on a low-carb regimen since early last month per doctor’s orders. And I’ve been following it pretty faithfully.

My next appointment with the doctor is later this month. I hope he’ll forgive me for calling in a paczki order today for Fat Tuesday.

The losing battle, Week 4: Lighter, and a bit less pain

Down another 2.2 pounds this week. I confess that I weighed myself a second time this morning after emptying myself, as it were, and I logged that (larger) amount of weight lost.

Still not increasing my activity level as much as I’m supposed to be. But I’m still burning more calories than I’m consuming. Doesn’t matter; I still need to get off my ass, even if only for 10 minutes at a time.

Although I’m only 13.6 pounds lighter than I was when I started all this January 11, I’m feeling better physically. Climbing stairs doesn’t leave me aching as much, and my pelvic floor pain isn’t as chronic. My lower back isn’t getting much better—it feels worse some mornings—but maybe more exercise will help that.

If I could lose 10 pounds a month, I’d lose a whole person by Thanksgiving. That would be nice—but I expect plateaus and stalling between now and then. I remain in it for the long haul.

Second straight day without a salad. Less cranky this time.

I shouldn’t get used to this, as it’s the best way for me to get the 3 to 4 cups of fruits and vegetables I’m supposed to have each day. I will start anew tomorrow.

If it turns out that my lousy day and wretched mood are linked to the fact that I didn’t have a salad today, I’m going to be really pissed off.

It could explain, though, most of the past 20 to 30 years.

The losing battle, Week 3: A disciplined routine

Dropped another 2.2 pounds this past week. Wasn’t expecting that much, frankly; I felt like I was slacking, or maybe this all is beginning to feel routine. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Honestly, I like the healthy regularity of the past few weeks: Most days, it’s a matcha kefir smoothie for breakfast, a high-protein lunch, and a big salad with a reasonable portion of protein and small portion of carbs for dinner, plus a smattering of snacks like grape tomatoes, an ounce of cheese, or a piece of dark chocolate. And at least 64 ounces of water (including Vitaminwater Zero and peppermint tea).

With my eating habits, I’m developing the kind of discipline I would really like in other parts of my life. Now I just need to bring that same kind of regularity to exercise.

Got a nice little celebratory screen grab when I posted my weight loss this morning. Looking forward to more.

The losing battle, Week 2: Small (and not always synced) steps

Down another 3 pounds. Trying not to be disappointed after the previous week’s 6-pound loss.

After experiencing some palpitations early last week, I connected with the doctor and he has me going every other day on the phentermine. He says it takes a while for the body to get acclimated to that medication. Meanwhile, no problems on the diuretic.

I measure my blood pressure most days; it generally ranges from 150/80 to maybe 130/80, though I’ve seen it go down to 110/82. That stubborn diastolic number is annoying.

All in all, the low-carb approach has been livable. Lots and lots of salads, which is fine by me.

The exercise thing is taking a while for me to work into my day; this is more laziness on my part, though halfway through a short indoor walking video today, my back reminded me why I prefer chair workouts for now. And I’m trying to find ways to get more steps around the house. Not easy, but the steps add up after a while. It doesn’t help that the MyFitnessPal app, which I use to track my food intake and exercise, doesn’t always sync well with the Fitbit.

Sigh. It’s a long slog ahead.

This CNN piece – ”‘Fat but fit’ is a myth when it comes to heart health, new study shows” – illustrates why I’ve turned to a doctor this month to help me begin losing weight.

To be clear, I’m all about body acceptance and all that. But I’m tired of the chronic pain and other health problems that clearly stem from my excess weight. The COVID-19 susceptibility was the tipping point.

God willing, I’m in it for the long haul,

Unearthed the Fitbit that Chris gave me for Christmas three or four years ago. Had to update the firmware and recharge it for a while, but it’s still working!

The losing battle is under way

It’s been a week since my first visit with the bariatric doctor: a week of carb limits, new meds, and scrambling to find bread and cracker recipes that won’t kill me.

I’ve lost 6 pounds. At least 74 more to go.

So, here’s the gist of my doctor’s weight loss prescription:

  • 100 grams of carbs per day
  • 15 to 30 minutes of activity a day (on top of ultimately 10,000 steps daily)
  • low doses of phentermine (appetite suppressant) and hydrochlorothiazide (diuretic)
  • 3 to 4 cups of fruits/vegetables daily
  • 64 ounces of water daily
  • Don’t drink your fruits” (or, presumably, vegetables)
  • MyFitnessPal to log food intake

I’m failing miserably at the activity part. I did discover chair workouts to do during work breaks late last week; the one I actually pulled off – a whopping 10-minute session – left me achy and winded the next couple of days. But I intend to keep trying.

Although I’m barely meeting the water and fruits/vegetables goals, I’m doing okay with the carbs thing. Limiting my carbs is more of an issue with Chris’ dinner planning than anything else, especially on my meatless Fridays. (He generally dislikes fish, except for sushi and some salmon.)

The doctor said it’s not the quantity of food I’ve been consuming that’s the main problem; it’s what I’ve been eating that’s the problem. I’ve been carb-heavy – lots of breads, chips, and sweets – and drinking juices rather than the healthier approach of eating fruits and vegetables. I confess I didn’t grasp a lot of what he said, but he talked a lot about blood sugar spiking and insulin and fast carbs. And he got into sleep quality and how my suspected apnea issues may be complicating my weight issues and ultimately my overall health.

It’s only been a week, and the road ahead remains overwhelming. I have an awful lot to learn about how all of this works. But I still think this is the right way to deal with what has been a lifelong weight problem that I can’t afford to continue.

One of the many guidelines my bariatric doctor gave me Monday: Don’t drink your fruits. So, now I have to modify my morning smoothie recipe and ditch the Naked juice smoothie component. I also added Amazing Grass Organic Supergreens Powder, which unfortunately makes it taste weirdly fishy. Not sure I’ll get more of it after I’m done with what looks like a month’s worth of the stuff, but I might as well use it while I have it.