First: Why am I sharing this?
Because I know that there are others out there just like me!
This section of this blog is the most true to the original sense of the word “blog”: it’s a log of my walk into better, healthier living–I hope! I’m planning to share links to resources and information that I discover along the way, so you might want to subscribe if you’re following along.
Here’s My Story
I have had a slow metabolism and been short of stature (5′ 2″ as an adult) my whole life. I was a chunky girl and adolescent. I was also quite strong: I had opportunities to ski in winters and ride horses in summers. Ours was an active, outdoors-loving family, so I stayed strong, if chunky. My weight was always a source of insecurity for me! During my late teens, I probably weighed around 140 lbs.
In college, I slimmed down to an all-time, adult low for my wedding: 128 lbs. Then came the children. I bore six children over ten years, the first five in the first 7 years of our marriage, and then my last one, Marjorie, in our tenth year as a couple. With each pregnancy, I put on weight, until I tipped the scales at 100 lbs. (and above) in my fifth pregnancy.
After the children stopped coming, I was around 33 years old. I did slim down again. At that time, I used the Weight Watchers program (complete with meetings and counting every calorie via their points system) and I got back down into the 130s after sustained effort and faithfulness. But the weight didn’t stay off!
I got busy raising those kids. I ended up homeschooling them, and building a curriculum business. Here was where my slow metabolism played me false. All my life, I’ve seldom been hungry, so skipping meals has always been easy. It took sustained activity to keep my weight down. So, as I got into my 40’s, I was never hungry and always busy. I grabbed meals here and there, and sporadically dieted. I tried the Scarsdale Diet (on my dad’s recommendation), a return to Weight Watchers, and I also did some stringent exercise routines, most notably Slim in 6, with Debbie Siebers (which I use to this day and highly recommend).
Not much changed as I turned 50. My kids were starting to get married, and I was still working way too hard daily to take time to eat right. I tried the Flat Belly Diet in those years. While probably the most healthy weight loss program I’ve ever tried, that included delicious food, it didn’t help me lose weight. In truth, part of it was that I was not interested in food enough to do all of the cooking/eating called for by this diet: 4-6 meals/day. So, I gave up on that one, and I became fatalistic! I was always going to be heavy and never defeat my weight problem. Here’s a photo taken at my niece’s wedding in 2011. I weighed 175 lbs, and was (still) only 5′ 2″.
Then, I moved to a new town and a new church. In our new Care Group, there was a gal whose sister was an RN, and whose dad was one of our pastors. The dad had lost a significant amount of weight recently using HCG homeopathic drops, under the supervision of a homeopathic adviser. This diet has an extremely strict protocol for the second phase: you only eat 500 calories/day, but with the drops, you are not hungry (no change for me: I was never hungry anyways). The theory of this diet (developed in the 1950s by a physician studying overweight adolescents in India) is interesting. The drops trick your body into thinking that you are pregnant, and that the body must “feed the baby.” After checking with my doctor, I decided to try this diet and, from May to November of 2011 I had the delight of losing 50 lbs! It was magical to watch the pounds roll off daily as I ate well (for me) and had only a very few choices to make from the strict list of maybe 20 foods each week. Scott did the diet with me, and we both lost 50 lbs.!
At the left, above, I am pictured that summer, at our church picnic, doing a relay race and weighing 127 lbs. That weight kept coming off. At my lowest, at the start of 2012, I saw 115 lbs. on that scale! Below and right is a picture of Scott and me at my son’s wedding on 9/10/11, almost at that number. Scott and I had just finished an heart-pumping dance, and we are rosy and happy.
That 115 lb. low proved to be an unnatural one for me, however. As I settled into the maintenance program for HCG followers, I was content with a sustainable weight at about 120-122 lbs. for the next three years (from when I was 54-56). Then, over the next two years, the weight began to creep back on as I became bored of the low carb, restrictive HCG maintenance plan, and began to cheat often. During these years, I was somewhat active in the summers, but not enough to burn the calories that my poor eating choices put into my body. In winters, I tend to be holed up in a warm farmhouse while the temperatures dip often into the negative numbers, so that limits activity as well.
On We Go!
So, today on February 2, 2017, I write this at age 58, tipping the scales at 135 lbs. most days. I have more leisure time now that ever before, and I feel like I have the gumption to take the time and trouble to dive deeper into the mysteries of nutrition–especially for people in my season of life–and learn, for both Scott and myself, a worthy approach to managing my weight and boosting our bodies’ ability to cope with the oncoming challenges of old age. While I’m eager to go home to be with Jesus, I would prefer to serve him with as healthy a body as possible, and feel like I have a decade or two left before I get to go home. I want to make the most of it! I have bought the argument that Dr. Sears makes in his fine book Prime Time Health that people in my stage of life should make health their hobby. Dr. Sears writes this:
Consider prime time your opportunity to spend more time at the top in good health. How long we spend at the top depends, in large part, on how we plan for it. We can focus on the ABCs, seeking to remain active, brain smart, and contributing. Or, we can do nothing and look forward to the three Ds: disease, disability, and doctors. Which will you choose?
If you, like me, feel hopelessly confused about who to follow into the maze of creating a diet that is both healthy and manageable (meaning, not extreme and not all-consuming), I can recommend Sears’ book for the following reasons:
- It is written by a physician whose wake up call came with colon cancer while he was relatively young. He lives what he writes about, and has done so for decades.
- While the recommendations and conclusions and advice in the book are written in layman’s terms, they rest on (and reference) scientific studies that underlie them.
- The book introduces the reader to how food and supplement and exercise choices impact each system of the body. If you have a particular concern about one of your body systems, you can immediately see if Dr. Sears can help by reading the appropriate chapter.
There you have it!
These are my reasons for starting this section of my blog. I know there are many like me who have no idea where to begin in changing their lifestyle for the better now that they’ve entered the years where abusing the body is more and more obviously not going to cut it.
Below is an index to posts that detail my journey:
The Biggest Challenge: Getting Started
The Joys of AnyList