I had my annual check up and labs done again last week.
- Weight: 219 lbs (down 58 lbs from last year)
- Blood Pressure: 120/70 (down from 135/90 last year)
- Cholesterol – 235 (down from 273 last year)
- LDL: 161 (down from 205 – significant improvement, but still borderline high)
- HDL: 41 (up from 39 – good movement, still need more)
- Triglycerides: 140 (was 142 last year, but went up to 162 last fall – probably due to my weight change that can have weird effects on triglycerides)
- Ac1: 5.7% (down from 6.2 but still just inside the pre-diabetic range).
I was pretty bummed out that there wasn’t more significant improvement from last fall in some of these numbers. I felt like I have been working SO HARD at maintaining my diet, being honest about my eating and changing old habits. . . it just felt like I should have seen greater results. Figuring in this case, though, that the results I visualized were just going to take longer than expected, I decided I needed to practice more patience with myself and my body.
Because in the long-run, I have already received so many benefits from this change in diet and in regularly adding exercise to my life. Small changes have layered over each other and added up so that I feel like I’m becoming a better version of myself. Small practices of discipline and planning have improved other areas of my life as well – money, relationships, planning events like the Rogue Festival. A lot of emotional clutter is falling away.
But here’s a list of small things I do now that I didn’t last spring, and how they’ve helped:
I am now a person who. . .
- Thinks about, and writes down, what I’m going to eat in advance, rather than depending upon my impulses. Helps with day-to-day decision-making and improves the chances that I’ll make effective choices for taking the weight off and lowering those lab results. I even plan when I can expect to eat off-plan, which helps me be conscious of when I’m eating less-than-my-best, and be okay with it. Planning helps me have a guilt-free zone around food.
- Drinks around 48 – 62 oz of water daily. Helps: keep sluggishness and cravings at bay, improves kidney function, keeps the fat burning part of my body in good shape.
- Sleeps 7-9 hours a night nearly every night. Helps: keep cravings at bay, supports good decision making with food, keeps the fat burning part of my body in good shape. I’m also generally less cranky.
- Reviews my eating and exercise plans daily to see what went well and what went wrong. Helps me make changes that might be more effective as time goes on.
- Eats whole grains and far fewer of carbs in general than I ever did before. I ate a LOT of refined carbs last year (and most of my life). Within the first week of switching to whole, my energy levels maintained an even keel instead of spiking and crashing constantly. Over the last year, I’ve slowly reduced the amount of carbs I eat, making adjustments every three months or so. I still eat about 35% of my calories from carbs, which some keto-loving folks would still consider too many, but I’m liking the balance I have right now.
- Eats salads for lunch. A result of the aforementioned lowering of refined carbs in my diet. Helps with energy, diversity of flavors, and pooping. (Seriously, with the pooping.)
- Eats when I get hungry and tries to stop when I know I’ve had enough to be satisfying. I’m learning to avoid eating to uncomfortably full, which was my standard stopping point for most of my life. Helps portion control and helps avoid discomfort. (Shocking, I know!)
- Watches out for added sugars. Eats natural, unprocessed fruits to keep the sweet cravings at bay. Helps control that Ac1 number as well as helps with satiety at breakfast or when in need of a snack.
- Plans my meals, my exercise, my shopping, my calendar, my to-do list, and my budget every week, no matter what. I do a full “Plan your Fucking Week” hour on Saturday mornings. Of course, at times the week’s plan changes and switches get made mid-stream, but spending that time helps guide me so decisions are easier during the week and any emergencies or sudden switches have less of an impact overall on my diet, on my bank account, and on my state-of-mind.
- Takes pleasure in a wider variety of food than I did before, is learning to cook things like fish and make good salads. . . two things I found strangely intimidating before.
- Enjoys how my body feels and communicates with me. It may sound strange to say that I’ve learned how to have a conversation with my body, but it is kind of what I do. It gives me lots of data to consider and I give it lots of inputs to process. And we sort of dance it out. (This is something I started doing a few years ago when I discovered that I’m a person with SPS – sensory processing sensitivity – and generally need to manage how much stimulation my senses take in and respond effectively to how that stimulation feels within my body.)
I haven’t yet articulated any overarching goals for the next year. I’ve mostly been taking it week by week and every three months or so trying to improve some habit or diet-related strategy. I think I’ll keep going with that.
In terms of my weight, I have 42 lbs to go before I hit the 100 lb mark, so for the next six months I’ll be focusing on getting as close to that as I can.