Time for the old monthly check-in. It’s been long enough now that this seems like a bit of a routine. It’s also been long enough that I’m not posting as frequently now… for better or worse, things have been rolling along pretty smoothly, and I don’t always have a ton of new experiences or emotions to report. That said, I seem to have squeezed out a few zillion words here, so I must have something to say. Warning: I hope you’re sitting somewhere comfortable.
Here’s the rundown:
This is the first month since the month before surgery that I’ve lost less than double digits in pounds. However, I did lose 9.8 pounds, so that’s pretty dang close. I’ll round up. I lost 10 pounds this month, which is definitely nothing to sneeze at. It’s 5.8% of what my bodyweight was at the beginning of the month. I have consistently lost around 5.5% to 6.5% of my bodyweight each month. That’s getting to be a smaller net number, but it’s the same percentage, which is interesting. If I were to lose that much again this coming month, that would put me at GW. Not sure that will happen, but I’m not too worried about it, either. I’m under 160 pounds now. That feels pretty awesome. My BMI hit “normal” about halfway through the month, and I have to say, it felt freaking awesome, despite the fact that BMI is pretty meaningless on an individual basis. It just felt like “Whew! Now I’m normal!” I truly felt like I wanted to wear it around on a t-shirt. Like it was some sort of evidence that I’m not fat.
My 9 month comparison photos don’t really look that different from my 8 month ones, just the clothes look a bit looser. My hips a little narrower. My legs a little thinner. My boobs a little smaller. It’s not a big jump like it is between some of the other months.
I’m still going at it with 800 or so calories per day. I’ve decided to do that until I’m at goal just because I can. I’m not feeling hungry or deprived, and I’m not feeling low on energy, so hey, why not. It’ll hurry things along a bit, I think, and if I can get settled at some sort of weight where I can buy some clothes and keep them for a while, I will be happy.
My current daily menu looks something like this:
Breakfast - a protein shake. It’s easy, it tastes fine, and it gets me a lot of protein. I’ve found a company in Dubai that sells Syntrax, Quest bars, and Oh Yeah 1 Bars, so I had a bunch shipped to my friend - I’m picking them up this weekend - woo! A trip to Dubai! And familiar protein! And much cheaper than the stuff I’ve been drinking.
Lunch - Greek yogurt, ½ cup, sometimes with frozen berries, plus sometimes veggie sticks
Before gym snack - Babybel cheese
After gym snack - tuna with mayo - ½ can tuna, 1 Tablespoon mayo, plus some pickles
Dinner - shrimp or Quorn fake chicken or soy fake meat or Indian cheese (paneer) in spicy sauce of some kind, often made with greek yogurt or coconut milk. Usually Indian or Thai or something spicy like that. About 3 oz of protein and some nominal vegetables in it.
Dessert - Lol! Jk! I had you going there, didn’t I? New motto: “I don’t eat sweets.” I chant this in my head so it comes out naturally when someone offers me something.
Sometimes some almonds, sometimes some cheese, sometimes a protein bar, sometimes Eggface’s egg bites, sometimes hummus and halloumi cheese and tabbouli (tabbouli from this part of the world is like 99% parsley, so not that couscous or wheat stuff we see in the US), sometimes fish.
At the end of the day it works out to between 800 and 900 calories, with about ½ the calories coming from fat, 65-80+ grams of protein, and almost always under 35 grams of carbs.
I’m not eating a huge variety of stuff right now, but that’s OK with me - my routine stuff is fine, and as long as my food is spicy, I’m happy. My sense of taste/smell has not come back (as per earlier blog posts, the lack of smell is due to what I suppose is permanent loss after a really bad cold last year, and the weird tastes are from surgery) so everything is still a little weird, but my brain seems to be rewiring my senses now so that I’m learning what various things taste like to my new senses, so it’s bothering me less.
In the past week, I’ve had cravings for salty, crunchy snacks before/after dinner, and I’m not sure what that’s about. It may be the end of the honeymoon rearing its ugly head, or it may be that I just need some more calories and salt in my diet. Long story short, I’ve been feeling like I want to eat more calories and snacks, but I’m not really hungry, so I haven’t done that.
I did have one teaspoon of Pinkberry pomegranate frozen yogurt this week. It was delicious, but I could easily stop at the one bite. I also had a couple of little bites of a traditional Omani dessert (called halwa, but really different from the halwa in other parts of the Middle East) because they were offered by a person I couldn’t afford to offend and it would have been culturally inappropriate to say no. It was amazingly delicious. It also gave me heart palpitations since I’m not used to sugar. Lesson learned: eating sweets is a cultural sacrifice I only do if I have to
I’m doing really well at going to the gym 4-5 days per week, and doing a lot of walking the other days. After the Big Hike (see the last blog post), I have decided to work hard at the gym to make things like that easier. I’ve bumped up my cardio to be a little more challenging with the addition of using the stair machine, and I’m doing faster walking on the treadmill (7kph/4.3mph) and/or elliptical. I’m not doing much in the way of weights, although I know I should. I should probably be extending my gym time to 1:30 from the current 1:00 I’m doing. I know that’s in my long term best interest to keep the weight off. I actually like going to the gym now. It’s a nice part of my day.
I went hiking last weekend, and it was fabulous to know that wherever we ended up, I was going to be fine. I wasn’t going to be that person, trudging along at the end, wheezing and panting, that everyone looks at sympathetically. We have to walk up this steep uphill for half an hour? Sure thing. I can do that. It’s a lot easier when you’re not carrying around a 130lb. backpack, let me tell you.
Resting heart rate is 53. My Fitbit says I’m in “excellent health” for my demographic (and who’s to argue with Fitbit?!). No pouch problems. Hair is growing back. Due for blood tests again, but the last ones were good. Taking all my vitamins like my life depends on it Can run up stairs and not get winded. Get antsy if I have to sit too long.
I feel fantastic. Like I can do anything. Like I’m actually a thinnish person. I’m not sure why, but I think my body dysmorphia kind of worked the opposite of how many people’s do - I never felt like I was as big as I was. I always felt like a normal sized person who was temporarily carrying around more weight that I should have been. About 10 pounds ago, I got to a point where I’m actually a little thinner than my internal image of myself. Sometimes at this point I’m surprised to see how thin I look in the mirror - whereas before I hit that point, I was pleased that I was thinner, but I wasn’t pleased at my appearance, if that makes sense. I think I might have a bit easier time of the size change than many for this reason.
I really don’t miss anything at all about being heavy - I know that’s not true for everyone, but I really didn’t identify with it. It’s something I only hated about myself, and couldn’t wait to rid myself of. I think this might be connected to the period of my life I spent as thin previously (just before and after turning 30, when I starved and exercised myself down to 140). I have kept that image of myself in the back of my head all these years, like that was the REAL me, and this fat me was a temporary setback. Yeah, temporary. Like 10 years. Just a passing phase
In the back of my head, I have a few negative thoughts. These sometimes concern my body (Droopy skin! Not my favorite! Worth it, but I don’t like it! - or: My thighs are still fat! I hate them!) but those thoughts are not too loud, and are a whole heck of a lot better than what they used to be (thoughts of self-loathing on a constant repeating loop). Some other negative thoughts include feeling sad when seeing overweight people, knowing how hard that is, and also knowing that they would not welcome me as part of the club at this point. Since I’ve moved, I don’t see anyone who’s ever known me as overweight, so the only me they know is the normal sized one (Actually, I’ve lost 30 pounds here, but no one seems to notice, since they didn’t know me before and most of my clothes are pretty baggy). I have mixed feelings about being that thin person that fat people look at and have negative thoughts.
Some other negative thoughts that pop up from time to time include: What if the losses won’t stop? (I had a dream about this), What if I just can’t take being careful about my eating forever? What if I get tired of exercising? What if I just want to eat some junk food? What if I become a really boring person because I never eat or drink with abandon? <- fat person thoughts
On the whole, I just feel pretty fabulous about myself every day. I mean, I have other problems in my life, like anyone, but as far as my self-image goes, life is good. Right now, it feels like most of my depression and negative thoughts previously were caused by being overweight (although at a certain point, that became a recursive chicken and egg thing, snowballing into… well, into what I was a year ago: fat and unhappy.
And now, the most important thing: my wardrobe
I’ve had my second trip to the tailor (thank goodness for cheap tailors!). Some of my items have now been taken in twice. This time he said, “No more on these, madame. These are finished now.” They have been taken in as much as they can be. I’ve also got a heap of things to go to the tailor again next week. I try something on I haven’t worn in a few weeks, and it’s really surprising how awfully oversized it looks. I cannot WAIT to stabilize a bit and actually buy some things that will fit for a while.
I’m dying to figure out what kind of clothes I’m going to wear. It totally stinks that it’s winter time, because what’s available in stores is totally inappropriate for the weather here. I don’t know why, but this is a world-wide phenomenon: when it’s cold in the US and Europe, stores in hot locations carry winter clothes as if it’s cold there, too. I mean, it’s like 85F/28C every day here - I do not need a wool coat, a heavy sweater, scarves/gloves/hats, or knee high boots. So I’ve got slim pickings at the moment. I’m trying to bide my time and plot my fashion trajectory. What kind of a wardrobe do I want? What’s my style? It’s been a long time since I’ve dressed in whatever I want to wear instead of whatever fits and doesn’t “make me look fat.” I’m poring over the fashion websites (I mean, not serious fashion stuff like Vogue, I’m not that kind of person, but like what people with a good sense of style actually wear sorts of websites), trying desperately to identify a style.
It needs to be a style that’s compatible with the climate here (hot, hot, and hot), somewhat conservative as far as covering up flesh goes (no sleeveless stuff, midi length or at least knee covering length skirts/dresses, not too tight of anything, nothing low-cut) so that it works in my cultural environment. And, it needs to be fun! Because I can wear fun clothes now! I feel like a teenaged girl trying to find her sense of identity through her wardrobe. I hope I don’t go through an unfortunate emo phase.