Recently I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I even watched the movie, which I didn’t like nearly as much. The book really struck home with me as last December I lost my most precious person, my grandmother who raised me together with my grandfather since I was 1-and-a-half-years-old. Reading about Cheryl’s choices in life and how she decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trail to get back to the woman her mother would want her to be was inspiring. I enjoy hiking local nature trails, hate camping with a passion and am in desperate need to not to take any long breaks from my job. I know that my grandmother has always been concerned about my health, especially since I have not been to a doctor in like 20 years. And truth be told, I haven’t been 100% happy with the girl in the mirror, so I started this weight loss journey to become a happier and healthier person for both her sake and mine.
I am not a believer in fad diets, miracle pills, or any of that junk. It really has always been my firm belief that a diet should be well-balanced, but I’ve never been able to implement that change in my own life before, though I have successfully done a little. I started college at a size 20 (really more like 19, but if you’re a woman, you know how hard it can be to find these in-between sizes at times). That was a really big blow. During my first semester I took tae kwon do. My second semester I took the mandatory fitness class and began working out. Then I got a 1-month summer job on a mow crew. Walking behind a lawnmower all day really did help me lose weight. I had to wear suspenders to keep my size 20 jeans up. So I went back to a size 18. And there I have stayed. I’ve never managed to successfully lose enough to drop another pants size. I do remember I once used to be a 14 and 16 and would love to be able to get back at least in those sizes once more. Lower would be good, but I’m also realistic about my own frame and doubt I could comfortably go down too much lower.
So after finishing Wild I began looking into healthy weight loss options and decided to try out Beyond Diet which is promoting life style changes and balanced, healthy foods to make you happier and healthier.
You start with a 14 day cleanse before moving on to a meal plan that’s designed for your own metabolism type. When I saw the meals and ingredients, I was intimidated. Some were things I’d never eaten and some were things I absolutely hated, like shrimp and tomatoes. I bought what I could find. Skipped over some things I couldn’t. I did buy the tomatoes, but forwent the shrimp completely. It’s really a texture thing with me. Yep, yep.
I think one of the hardest things to wrap my head around as I started the journey was breakfast. Yes, you always hear it toted as the most important meal of the day. I hate breakfast. Oh, I love breakfast foods, don’t get me wrong, but getting up and eating in the morning was never my favorite thing to do and there were a lot of times eating actually made me queasy. It’s done this to me off and on over the span of my life, so I avoid breakfast when I can and only eat minimal amounts of food when I can’t. I’ve also noticed on several occasions that eating breakfast seemed to make me hungrier at times. It’s a weird thing to think about. I soon began to equate breakfast with The Phantom Tollbooth‘s Subtraction Soup (the more you ate, the hungrier you got so you kept eating more and more and never got full). So jumping on the breakfast bandwagon was hard. Also hard was to see the edict that you should be drinking half your weight in ounces of water. Gah. That’s 120 ounces of water a day for me! Plus, you can only drink decaffeinated green tea and you’re supposed to limit yourself to a single cup of coffee a day. I LOVE coffee! If you drink more than a cup a day you have to compensate by drinking even more water. Blech. I am also sad to see dairy cut out which is funny considering I am one of the many out there who suffer from lactose intolerance. But even though I suffer and take medicine and buy lactose free milk, I really do love dairy. I have since I was a wee child.
I determined when I was grocery shopping to begin this diet that I would be as faithful as I can and I will attempt to eat foods I hate. This isn’t recommended, if there’s problems with the food choices, you can easily substitute a different meal that you know you like in the diet, but I know that I should really attempt to eat some of these foods. Thus…I’m really trying to give fish, tomatoes, and avocados a fair chance. It’s hard. It means I really can’t eat the recommended whole tomato without a gag reflex or slugging down tons of liquid with it, but so many recipes call for tomatoes that it seems really hard to cut out. So I try to eat at least some fresh tomatoes.
So on my first day of the diet things were interesting. Breakfast went well enough. You can use fresh herbs and salt and pepper. So I added chives and garlic chives to my spinach omelet and choked down half a tomato. Yes. Choked down. I really want to cook the tomato. Of course, it is best to consume raw, but I handle cooked a wee bit better. One of the things about this diet is measuring out proper food portions. Some things are explanatory enough 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, and 1 cup. But some things ask you to measure out ounces. So I broke down and bought a digital kitchen scale so I could make these as accurate as possible. I have to double everything because my poor grandfather is doing this with me because he doesn’t like to see double meals made. Poor man doesn’t really need to lose weight, but its sweet that he is on this journey with me even if he complains about dietary restrictions.
I missed the first snack between breakfast and lunch because I was out and about and didn’t pack it with me so I was kind of starving by lunch time. I am not really used to cooking fish since I avoid fish as much as possible. I couldn’t justify the expensive cost of fresh fish (plus the seafood counter wasn’t open as I went grocery shopping at Meijer rather early on a Saturday morning) so I bought frozen wild salmon. I got to try out my new scale. It was fun. I overcooked the salmon, but it was well seasoned (I generally suck at seasoning things). I was supposed to eat it with chickpeas, but I cheated and ate it with half a cup of roasted garlic sweet potatoes. Yummy! I’ve never eaten sweet potatoes before (unless you count using a sweet potato to make a Mexico chocolate cookies and a really nasty piece of sweet potato pie). I mixed vinegar and olive oil for my cup of fresh salad. Ewww. A wee bit too much vinegar. I got rather hungry between lunch and dinner, so I did have my first snack then. Raw almonds are yummy.
I have a very regulated eating schedule. I eat between 6:30 – 7:30 in the morning. 10 was my normal snack time and 12 my normal lunchtime (unless I’m home in which case I skipped breakfast and snacking and don’t eat till 11 – 11:3o for lunch). Due to my grandfather’s physically demanding job, dinner is always on the table at 5. No snacking allowed before dinner. You can’t snack until at least an hour after eating, but the rule of thumb is if we ate at 5, you shouldn’t snack until 8. Not quite sure where we came up with that. I mention this because the first 14 days has you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks. Breakfast – Snack – Lunch – Snack/Post workout meal – Dinner. There’s 5 hours between lunch and dinner for me, so I can’t squeeze that second snack in and I was going to forgo it altogether, but I was kind of really, really hungry after dinner. This means I switch the snack time to after the final meal of the day. This assures I go to bed without strong hunger pangs.
Dinner was turkey chili sans beans. How I miss kidney beans and chili beans, lol. My grandfather was very skeptical about this, but it ended up not being bad. Sure, it lacks flavor when it comes to using turkey vs. our normal ground chuck, but it’s edible and yummy in its own right. I did cheat and have pie. Why did my grandfather have to make fresh homemade pie on the day I began my diet journey? It’s a mystery. That man, I don’t know how he does it, packs away half a 9-10 inch pie in a single sitting.
One of the things I really didn’t like is just how much I had to run to the bathroom. Water is a natural diuretic. Drinking it in large quantities makes you have to pee like every 5 minutes I swear. So I was constantly rushing to the bathroom. I did notice, though, that my urine was running much clearer throughout the day and I know that’s a good thing than being more yellow since that is a sign you aren’t drinking enough water.
And it may seem silly, but after I woke up on Day 2, I actually felt more energetic and less sluggish. Of course, my summer insomnia is still present so I don’t sleep as well as I could, but I still felt a lot better than previous mornings when I had heavier unproportioned meals.