But what's new, huh? Winky smily face. Eh. I suspect that at least 3/4 of you are just hatereading me, whether you realize it or not. GOD, JO. SHUT UP ABOUT WHATEVER THING YOU HAVE RECENTLY DETERMINED IS THE WAY TO DO THINGS.
I'm afraid I simply can't, darlings. You know sometimes I hateread myself? True fact.
First I was a dick about things being organic (well, some things) and also being whole (you know, readily identifiable as to their plant or animal origins). Then I was a dick about things not having carbs in them -- sugar, white flour, potatoes, yut da dut da duh.
But hey, as long as I was being a dick about things? I was usually looking pretty hot.
Also running behind the wagon you fall off of is a great way to get in shape.
So! People are asking me How I Did It, It in this case being dropping twenty pounds below my previous "thin" weight (which was kind of borderline in terms of BMI but it was as low as I'd been since about 21 years old so I figured it was as small as I got). There is a three-pronged approach, and I? Am gonna tell YOU what it is.
Part the First: What I Eat
This makes up about 40% of the equation.
I eat like this, for the most part. In short: Lots of protein from meat, fish, and eggs (I aim for 100 g daily), lots of fat (and plenty of that saturated from healthy sources such as nuts and grass-fed meat and butter), and lots of vegetables, including a sweet potato here and there. A little fruit, a little dairy (butter, a splash of milk in my coffee, Greek yogurt). Occasional white potato or rice. Grains once in a while -- if I make whole wheat challah I eat some of that, sometimes I have some Kashi GoLean or some popcorn.
Oh, and I do eat an entire box of Thin Mints sometimes. Or giant bag of M&Ms or dessert at a restaurant or whatever. I pay for that -- not in guilt or weight gain, but in feeling crappy and having to weather days of sugar cravings.
Of the things that I eat, the things listed above, I eat what I feel like as dictated by my intuition. I learned that my intuition signals, both in terms of what I eat and how much I eat, get totally garbled when sugar or wheat enters the equation. I learned to make a half-recipe of challah because I will eat until it's gone; I don't bring cookies in the house unless I intend to eat every last one. My satiety signals disappear. Avoid those things, and my body will tell me it wants kale or liver or eggs or a barely cooked pound of hamburger or a huge salad with vinegar.
This all took a lot of trial and error to figure out, by the way. I have been experimenting for years.
Part the Second: How Much I Eat
Less than I thought I needed to. I don't advocate starting from calorie restriction, especially if (like most of us) you have a fucked-up relationship with eating, but it can be awfully edifying to measure out everything you eat, like with actual measuring cups, and enter it all into a calorie counter for a few days. Or at least get an idea of what a cup of yogurt or cereal looks like. I was way overestimating how many raisins I was eating, and underestimating peanut butter. How was this not weird and diet-y? Well, if I wanted more peanut butter, I had some -- I just measured it out.
I average between 1900-2300 calories a day, with the occasional 3500 calorie bender and 1400 semi-fast if I'm not hungry.
That's maintenance though. When I was dropping that 20 pounds, I had to let myself actually get hungry -- to eat less than I wanted and only eat what I needed for a while. Years of wonky insulin had left me feeling panicky if I got hungry -- because of the inevitable crash and inability to choose food that would follow -- but it turned out that feeling a little hungry is no longer an emergency thanks to a really high protein and fat diet and vastly improved blood chemistry.
Anyway, that accounts for about another 40% of the equation. Part the First and Part the Second work in tandem, as you may have figured out: I can eat the right amounts of the right foods and feel satisfied, but if I start tinkering with the foods I lose the ability to determine the right amount OR to feel satisfied. There is no such thing as "satisfied with Oreos" for me. It does not exist. There is only "No more Oreos and the store is closed."
Part the Third: How I Move
This is about 20% of the equation. Maybe even less.
I run. Less now than I did. I cross train too: I run in the pool, I bike, I do strength training and bodyweight exercises. I probably get in three to four hours of aerobic movement most weeks, sometimes more. And maybe 30 minutes every other day of strength stuff (mostly my physical therapy exercises and core exercises) and bodyweight stuff.
That means push-ups, some ab stuff (not crunches exactly), T-Tapp, tricep dips, and lots of planks and side planks and bridges. Nothing complicated. I am starting to add more free weights at the gym but that's a time suck.
I do other stuff too: I stand at the computer instead of sitting. I move around the house all day, low-intensity things like tidying, cooking, walking around in the yard.
How's All That Working Out for You, Then, Asshole?
I mean, if you're eating 60% of your calories from fat, much of that saturated, shouldn't you be really unhealthy?
My total cholesterol is 200 at last count. Triglycerides 40, HDL 72, LDL 120. (That is what the lab report says. Any math problems are theirs.)
LDL ("bad" cholesterol) is calculated and not measured, and there is a chance it's artificially inflated because my triglycerides are so low. Either way, my doctor says, it's absolutely fine. The triglycerides are AMAZING, the HDL is AMAZING, the LDL is certainly within acceptable limits and for complex reasons I won't go into probably also AMAZING. Before you let that 200 faze you, pay attention to the proportions. I far exceed any health recommendations for ratio of one measurement to another.
My A1C, a measurement of blood glucose over the long term, was something like 5.2%, which is, again. AMAZING.
We have dropped my metformin down to 500 mg (initially it was at 1500 mg/day, then 1000) on the way to discontinuing it entirely.
I weigh about what I weighed at the end of high school -- except I'm far stronger and leaner. My body composition is different, so I look different. My face doesn't look haggard after all the weight loss, though, which I chalk up to my heavy fat consumption and, okay, my over-the-counter retinol habit. My blood sugar is normal, my insulin response is normal (I can now fast comfortably for 16 hours, no lie), and I can work out in the morning before eating breakfast and feel just fine at the end of an hour.
So. That's all the things I did, and how it worked out for me. I am far from perfect in the execution of this great plan, but the system is now robust enough to survive a few knocks. No promises as to how it might work out for you -- everyone's body is different, everybody's LIFE is different. I would love to hear what works -- and doesn't work -- for you.