How Your Life Changes With Weight Loss

 


When we contemplate weight loss, we usually envision that our life begins and everything is easy. 


Weight loss does not fix your life, but it definitely improves many aspects of it!


In this post I'm going to explore the physical and emotional changes of weight loss. 


The first important change when you lose weight is health.

BODY MASS INDEX



The BMI scale is what doctors use to figure out a healthy weight spread for patients. This is not a scale of your personal worth. Where you are now is not an example of where you always are. It's a moment in time. 


If your present health and weight were a forever thing, then you should still be suffering teenaged acne and hormones. 

The body changes, sometimes in extraordinary ways, but it all reveals how much care and effort you put into it


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REALITY CHECK


average female in the US

The average American woman is 5'4" and 172 pounds. (the borderline of overweight/obese on BMI scale)


The average fashion model is 5'9" tall and 113 pounds. She is also modified by photo editing so that even she does not recognize herself. 



My modeling size was 5'8" and 118 pounds - I fainted when I stood up and stopped having periods, was exhausted all the time. I wasn't trying to be thin, I ate what I wanted but my metabolism was off the charts adjusting to being tall. It took into my 30s to really be a naturally healthy weight, although still low on the BMI scale. Imagine if you starved yourself, purged, took drugs, and smoked to stay that slender with the metabolism of a 19-24 year-old? You'd feel like shit and the underweight condition would create circulatory,  metabolic, and hormonal costs. 


When considering ideal weight, try not to ask yourself to be a 20-year-old again. The body fought to catch up to a size and metabolism that was more level and damage occurs when you are underweight. Thin isn't always super healthy, sometimes it's dangerously impoverished.



The average American male is 5'9" and 197 pounds. (the high end of overweight on BMI scale)


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FRAME SIZE


Put your thumb and middle finger around your wrist. If the fingers overlap, you are small framed. If the fingers touch, you are medium framed. If the fingers have a gap, you are large framed.




For me, my fingers don't quite touch. My shoulders are fairly wide. I am large-framed.


For me at 5'8", it's considered ideal to be 154 pounds.
At 154 pounds and this tall, I am a size 6-8. I look very slender compared to a shorter woman with size 8. A larger frame can distribute my weight over more space and I seem more slender than the scale numbers. 


Adding your frame size into the BMI formula makes a much better indicator of ideal. 



Here's (above) women of various heights all the same 154 pounds. 


My body looks much like the woman on the far right and bikinis are a wardrobe standard at that weight. I have boyish hips so the distribution of my weight looks more like a pencil when thin and a tree when thick.  I can look very scrawny easily because of the lack of curves. My arms and legs get so spindly looking that I have to keep a watch on my weight to not get near the lower end of the BMI limits. In the 140s, people ask me to please eat something. To another person, it may distribute differently.


Using the frame scale can give you a better target in your BMI range.


The key here isn't to be a model, but to be a weight you feel good at, that is within your healthy range, and you can maintain.


Remember, each person holds weight in different areas depending on their fat storage so we are magically and beautifully unique. (see above pic)


The beauty and diet industry have a lot to gain by making us insecure about looks as incentive to join their plans or buy their products.


Let's finally get past weight as an indicator of worth or beauty. Let's just look at weight as a health asset or risk, like any other investment. 

Blood Pressure


When my weight was considered obese (red zone on the BMI scale), my blood pressure was also in the red zone around upper 185/100. 


When I lost weight and was in the overweight range (yellow zone on BMI chart), my blood pressure was also in the yellow zone around 140/90


When I got to my ideal BMI (green zone on the BMI chart), my blood pressure was also in the green zone around 125/82


That's pretty simple and straightforward and totally related.


This is a better measure of how your weight is affecting your health. The more weight, the more the heart has to work, the more volume in your body. 


Fasting Blood Sugars 


In the red weight zone they were around 300
In the yellow weight zone they were around 180.
In the green weight zone they are 100 and lower.





Something to note is non-fasting blood sugar. An hour after a meal, 1-2 hours later, blood sugar should be below 180.



Your Hemoglobin A1C is a measure of what your sugars are like over time. You ideally want to keep that under 7.



When I first was stricken with Bell's palsy and they did my A1C it was 12!!! I had no symptoms that are classic for diabetes like lightheadedness, sluggishness, thirst, excessive urination. I also had no symptoms of hypertension such as headaches, dizziness.



Be sure you get these things checked occasionally, even if you go to your local drugstore clinic to check blood sugar and blood pressure. They are silent killers!



Here's a clue - if you are overweight/obese and don't exercise, you almost surely have bad numbers, so verify this and make changes. I figured I would control it with medications until I made the appropriate lifestyle changes to go off the medicines with my doctor's supervision. I am not a person who wants to support the drug companies when lifestyle is the answer.



Finding your numbers is a come-to-Jesus moment. You have to become humble, admit your poor decision-making, focus on what you want your life to be, and live that life, even if you haven't arrived. Live like an athlete. Live like a veggie-hoarder. Live like a swimsuit-wearing person on the beach.



Whatever it is that held you back, live as-if and the lifestyle tends to follow. For me, I envisioned the surfer-girl who grew her own veggies and loved the outdoors and dancing to music, doing yoga, and making healthy meals with tons of enthusiasm and energy. A girl who ate with leisure and not as if it were her last meal.



Some folks cannot handle extra weight. I am a person that, if I go over a healthy BMI range, my blood pressure and sugar will show it immediately. Without exercise, my blood pressure rises. My blood sugar is very affected by carbohydrates, so I keep them very low and fat, protein, and fiber high. This gives me a healthy parameter for my overall health.



Doctors make blanket statements about "normal" parameters, but you know your body. You know what weight feels healthy, you know how your numbers are affected. Monitoring is your friend. I was so scared of the BP cuff from the super high BPs I had in the ER and doctor's office that I was tensed up and terrified to take it at home. When it started reacting to exercise and weight loss and I got amazing numbers, I suddenly couldn't wait to take my BP.



The fact is around 40% of adults have pre-diabetes or diabetes. It is a slow insidious climb, but it's truly shocking to see how many. I was in the pharmacy to get test strips and everyone in line was getting insulin or Metformin, test strips and lancets. Each was an adult and overweight. When I looked at what the estimated cost of 100 test strips was if I didn't have insurance, it was $100! (that's 50 days' worth for two times a day testing for a non-insulin diabetic).



Diabetes isn't an inevitable process of aging. People in countries where healthy whole food diets are eaten, don't see diabetes in the aging process. In fact, one of the longest lived places, Okinawa, has a rate of 2.4% diabetes. In America, 1 in 10 have diabetes and 1 in 3 have prediabetes which means they will have diabetes if they change nothing.



This is completely preventable (type 2) and no one should depend on medicines to mask the cause of the disease. It would be like putting a Band-Aid on a wound every day to keep dirt out of it, but never healing the wound.



It's exciting to realize you can create remission of diabetes type 2 with weight loss alone. Knowing that, I have tons of incentive to finish the last pounds to my goal weight. Incidentally, noticing the blood sugars and blood pressure changing as I get closer. In fact, my BP has been anywhere from 106/63 to 119/82 and I get head rushes sometimes when I lean forward and straighten up or stand up too quickly. It's time to lower the lisinopril as I work my way toward no more meds.




LIFE EXPECTANCY



Diabetes type 2 can shorten your life on an average of 10 years. Hypertension also reduces life expectancy. Extreme obesity can shorten life about 14 years.




Here's some interesting worldwide statistics on average life expectancy in years -

Life expectance in the 60s age range -

South Africa- 64.13

Ethiopia - 66.60




Life expectancy in the 70s age range -

Phillipines - 71.23

Russia- 73.08
Samoa - 73.32

Mexico - 75.05

Iran - 76.68

Columbia - 77.29

Turkey - 77.90

UAE - 77.97

US - 78.79




Life expectancy in the 80s age range -

Costa Rica - 80.28

Portugal - 80.68

Germany - 80.94

UK - 81.20

Greece - 81.94

France - 82.58

Israel - 82.80

Australia - 82.90

Norway - 82.91

Canada - 82.05

Italy - 83.20

Switzerland - 83.70

Japan - 84.36




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These stats are really humbling when you realize that the US has one of the most elite health care systems and food availability and yet we are in one of the lowest life expectancies.




Lots of factors go into that American statistic:

Fast cheap processed food that is mostly carbs from chips and fries to white bread and desserts, flavored coffees, milkshakes, soda, candy bars, and processed food.

Fewer people making meals with whole ingredients.

Desk jobs and sedentary computer/TV-related lifestyle.

High stress, overextended.

Families living far apart/less social support and community.



It doesn't matter how much medicine and health care we throw at obesity and lifestyle-related disease, we obviously can't win this war unless we as individuals roll up our own sleeves and take personal responsibility.



One way that weight loss has changed my life is to make me aware of how other countries feed themselves, their attitude about down time and leisure, their social connections, and activity levels.



Slow and leisurely dining with high quality keeps countries like Italy, France, Switzerland, and Greece strong and healthy. Socializing while eating or eating in lovely locations, like the patio can make a real difference in how you view "meal time" versus "feeding trough" time.



Smelling the food, looking at the food, tasting the food; all forms of being present with the nourishment. No cell phone. No TV. No computer.



It's ironic, but I remember I used to be excited to eat fast food. I'd sit down with a McDonald's meal and gorge on it quickly. I also hadn't actually enjoyed the meal. I had inhaled it.



Sometimes, wanting to eat again is not because of hunger, but because we weren't present when we last ate. If we are present and take our time to set the food down, set the fork and knife down, we end up eating slower. It takes about 20 minutes to register satiety, so if you inhale a meal in 10 minutes, you could eat more. If you eat slowly, a much smaller amount is super satisfying because you allowed your stomach to register.



Fast food, eaten quickly, with almost no nutritional value, makes us diet bankrupt. If everything on your plate is shades of tan and brown, you are missing critical nutrients and likely deep in carbs and bad fats.



As well, eating on a small plate has helped me tremendously. I only use dessert plates. There is something very visual about a large plate and the need to be sure you cover the whole plate with food. The simple act of doing that on a dessert plate easily cuts your calories almost in half.



Great set of a dozen white 8" plates (average dinner plate is 10-1/2" and average restaurant plate is 11-12").










The simple act of using these instead of the traditional dinner plates is life-changing. It is human nature to eat what is on your plate, assuming it is a portion size, and people will load up a surface. No one will be the wiser, but your family will be unconsciously eating less.







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Here's the totally cool thing - being a healthy weight and exercising is free. You don't need to pay someone to give you a diet or a gym to force you to exercise. It's completely free and then with no medications to pay for, it's TRULY FREE.




Cholesterol

Your lipid panel is another measure. Cholesterol is important to your body as it helps to heal artery wall injuries, but it can also collect in areas, creating blockages.



One arena I naturally have been blessed with is the lipid counts. The highest I've been is 150. Right now, I measure -



Total cholesterol - 144 (ideal is less than 200)
HDL - 51 (ideal is above 40)
LDL - 77 (ideal is less than 100)
Triglycerides - 133 (ideal is less than 150)



This lipid panel was done when I had just been diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes and hadn't made major lifestyle changes. It will be interesting to see these figures now that I am months into a focused lifestyle.



This is without any statin medication. I am blessed I did not get my father's cholesterol, but got my mom's instead.



I also take care to ingest my "bowel mix" each day. Fiber is important for helping to "wash away" cholesterol. That is why oatmeal is touted as heart healthy.



I came up with my own mix out of trial and error that not only handles diarrhea and constipation but makes bowel movements a healthy compacted rope of soft content. I mix 4 parts psyllium husks with 1 part chia seeds and 1 part collagen peptides powder. I put 1 heaping tablespoon in a glass of water once a day.



The collagen I wanted in my system for hair, nails, and ligaments/tendons/muscles so I just put it in this mix with water each day. Sometimes, I drink bone broth I make from chicken or beef bones to get that collagen, but somehow I try to get it in me each day.



For some, familial hyperlipidemia occurs. These people have it running in the family so that no matter how they try to clean up their diet, they suffer from elevated numbers. In this case, talk to your doctor about statins. They do a wonderful job of helping make up for what diet alone doesn't change.




Skeleton/Muscles



At my highest weight around 214 at 5'8", carrying that extra 64 pounds was like carrying an 8-year-old kid all the time, 60 pints of beer, a queen-sized box spring, or a husky dog.



If you got up in the morning, would you put on a 60-pound sand belt around your waist and go about your day?





210 pounds

And looks are deceiving. I probably look overweight but not necessarily obese here. My height and large frame allow me to have more weight without anyone telling, but that doesn't mean my frame should carry it.




When shedding that weight, I was suddenly without aches and pains I had prior. Carrying weight in your belly throws off the back trying to counter that weight. Even sleeping on your side makes the stomach slosh to the side and tweaks your posture. With increased inflammation from body fat, aches and pains are expected.



Your legs tire easily from long walks, you huff and puff as if you climbed stairs or carried heavy groceries, inflammation from body fat and insulin resistance creates achy joints, fingers, and feeling stiff and walking like a stick figure at times. In fact, the entire gait changes with weight. Knee problems and back problems become common with excess weight.



When I lost 30 pounds of weight, I started walking like a model again. I didn't realize how ungainly my walk was with the weight imbalance.



With increased weight loss toward my ideal BMI, my body has felt younger and younger. It's a freaking fountain of youth. No more sugar highs and lows and sluggishness and bloating. I am moving like a svelte person with grace, even regaining my balance now that my body isn't carrying extra weight.



Losing weight literally felt like the earth had less gravity and my walk was light, skipping, and everything was easier. The aches and pains completely vanished. I could bend and touch the floor and do yoga poses without the belly prohibiting how far I could go. My legs were slender and I started crossing them more. And I actually looked forward to exercise as I had energy and could move freely.





2009 - puffy carbohydrate face




The puffiness that is accompanied by a high-carb diet disappeared and my fingers were slender again, my feet didn't swell at the end of the day and my face lost all its puffiness and round qualities, my bone structure was finally revealed.



Your sense of balance is affected by weight loss too. There is something about trying to center weight that is distributed more in certain regions that throws off your mind's ability to find center. When there is a balance of weight distribution, suddenly things like standing with your eyes closed or leaning back in the shower to wash your hair becomes stable.




Immune System

Body fat carries inflammation and that can cause problems for autoimmune disease and immune system stress. It can lead to hypertension and diabetes that stress the immune system. This inflammation from body fat can lead to heart disease and arthritis. It has been reported that 78% of the patients with covid that end up needing hospitalization are overweight. And, 73% of those who passed away from covid were overweight or obese. Simple things like head colds can become sinus infections and the flu can become pneumonia and bronchitis when the immune system is strained.




Eating and Exercise

We spend a lot of time, research, and expense figuring out how to get the diet right and the exercise. I figured I was not going to do something extreme like no-carbs or low-fat or counting numbers. That is not sustainable or practical. I needed to be able to travel, go to a restaurant or family event and not look odd asking for special things.



I began to look at the way the French ate. Yeah, cream and butter, cheese, WTH??? But, they had something right - high quality food, small amounts, eat slowly and leisurely.



My eating rules for life -

1. Eat on a dessert (8") plate.

2. Put half portion of what you normally grab on the plate. Can go get more if I need, but once I eat slowly, I won't.

3. Eat it slowly, putting fork down, taking time so that it takes 20-30 minutes to complete the small plate of food.

4. Be cautious of sugar content (24 g/day) and salt (under 1500 mg/day).

5. Keep fiber high. A dense chewing whole grain bread, but no more than 2 slices a day. I try to eat raw produce at least half my plate, usually a salad. I also do the psyllium husk supplementation I mentioned above.

6. Ingest healthy fats - avocadoes, coconut oil, nuts.

The foods on the plate? Whatever I want. I gave up the concept of "traditional meals" like having a meat/potatoes/veggie/bread. I might have a few meatballs and a spinach salad. Perhaps another meal is fried egg on a slice of whole grain bread with avocado. Maybe I do a grazing plate with pickles, hard cheese, summer sausage, olives....


It took me a while to start looking at labels and numbers, but eventually I knew it by memory and got a sense of where hidden sugar and salt.


Once the house was stocked with the necessary components, it all got easy. I don't beat myself up if I have rice in the day and I still enjoy dark chocolate but a very high cacao content with almost not sugar. I break it into pieces and freeze. I have sugar grams accordingly so that is possible. I can take one piece out and suck on it as it melts and that satisfies completely. If I am hungry before bedtime, I get a low-fat peanut butter and lick a spoonful of it. These are very satisfying. I switched whole milk with nonsweetened almond milk.


I never really wanted to eat in the morning but didn't want to be ravenous for lunch, so I drink a keto shake made with a scoop of Oathwell Keto Protein powder and a glass of unsweetened almond milk for 0 g of sugar and unbelievable lasting effects!


Food has become my home team instead of my comfort addiction. It backs up my training. And speaking of training - exercise is the battery that keeps the healthy engine running!


I started out with simple stuff but lots of motivation. I put on videos of surfer girls going about their days. I trained with them in a way, but marching in place, jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, doing samba dance steps, but making it a 30-minute workout.


Eventually, I added the elliptical and dance. I did standing stomach exercises (LINK TO VIDEO). I got up early and worked in the garden, digging, raking, getting some exercise that also helped me get my landscape in order. Any extra activity in a day was welcome. I added a Solofit balance board with stretch bands to my routine (LINK TO VIDEO) which helped me with not losing muscle as I dropped weight.


It didn't take long to figure out that I was daydreaming about working out and how it makes me feel. My getaway with the surfer girls was a new obsession instead of napping on the sofa. When you feel so good doing something, you want to do it all the time. Just ask teenage boys about shower time -


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210 pounds, 5'8"
BMI 32 (30 and above is obese)



Mental/Emotional State


I was skinny all my life up until my 40s when extreme stress, a bad marriage, and perimenopause converged. Gaining weight, I didn't know how to dress that body, move that body, and I bought all beige clothing and outer clothes to cover up my shape.



My overall message was, "please don't notice me."



When you continually plan to lose weight and fail at actually doing it, you start to lose belief in yourself or your personal efficacy. Over time, you begin to refer to losing weight as, "when I lose the weight, THEN I'll (fill in the blank)" as if your life begins then.



For many, weight loss becomes a character issue instead of a technical issue. You see yourself as weak, genetically disposed to be overweight, or lazy.



The truth is, you simply haven't made you a priority or learned how to feed your body and move your body in a way that jives with your needs.



I had to look back at skinny me long ago and figure out what she did that kept her that way. I never liked meals. I kept busy and ate as a way to fuel myself. I would linger over half a sandwich for 15 minutes.



As an avid gardener, I ate lots of fresh produce. Food was not a reward system in the least. I didn't eat because I was happy, sad, celebrating, or nervous.



I was focused outdoors much of the time and that outdoor living not only kept me away from the closed off house (too much like a business office) and exploring, photographing, gardening, walking, moving dirt, and appreciating the sunset. The vitamin D did my moods good. The exercise made me feel invigorated. And it was beautiful out there!



These factors from when I was slender, I reincorporated because they were already part of my personality and nature. The right way to eat and exercise is very individual. Run an inventory of times you felt confident or healthy, inspired by a sport of activity, enjoying a healthy type of food. Bring those back!



We also find that if we have issues of any kind like addictions (even addictions for fast food or sugar), we tend to stay around the people and situations that make it possible to continue status quo. To lose weight could threaten a boyfriend or husband or hurt a friend who doesn't want to be the only "fat" one.



Losing weight isn't selfish. It's practical. Like flossing or wearing a seat belt, getting your flu shot, or taking vitamins, it's just a part of your daily care and priorities. You begin to see yourself as a person who is healthy living and that carries pride and a change in how you view your efficacy.



I began watching YouTube videos about people who were health oriented. Ellen Fisher in Hawaii, Jazmin Tyler in Mexico, Downshiftology Channel....I also put in a lot of surfer lifestyle videos because it when I was a skateboarder as a kid and teen, their lifestyle was an obsession of mine. It inspired me to be a surfer girl in the desert. Even my clothing style is what I call "Baja Boho." Find your inspirations.



And, our Groovy New Life Youtube channel is now opening up with videos I am sharing of my health process and weight loss because there aren't a lot of 50-something examples out there.



Admittedly, losing weight did such wonders for my mental state that I felt immense pride and confidence, making my decisions and priorities clear to me. I figured, if I can do this, I can do anything. Instead of a judgmental interval voice saying, "do you really need to eat that?" I heard a voice saying, "you've outgrown that desire. That was the unconscious old you. You are conscious now and purposeful."


Life is easier when you know what you WON'T do. "I'm a person who doesn't steal, gossip, take drugs, etc)". So now you say, "I'm not a person who eats sweets, orders fast food, or remains sedentary each day." I have found knowing your parameters becomes a sign of your character. When you know you're a person who doesn't do (this) or (that), your decisions are easier.




One of the most amazing finds I've had mentally and emotionally is a sense of freedom. I don't think about what I'll eat next. I don't daydream about fast food. I am off the addiction rollercoaster. It is really just like in the 1970s when I grew up and everyone smoked. They were addicted but everyone did it. Then, it really set in what happened to people who smoked and how they felt. Eventually, it has become vilified by most of the public. We will get there with food addiction some day when we realize what food producers have been doing to get us hooked and what it does to our health.




BLISS



The other day, I was in the kitchen preparing chicken and brocolli, sunlight pouring in through the windows, and I felt the most bliss I can describe.



I had worked hard all day at physical activities with renovating the house. I had put things away. I had eaten very thoughtfully, stayed hydrated, put away the laundry, plotted out the renovation, and I realized something - I wasn't hiding anything.



There is a cycle with those who overeat or overdrink or overspend - there's a sense of a hidden life. You wouldn't let anyone see you doing those things and in the back of your mind you know you did them. They eat away at your self esteem and no matter how much people compliment you, you feel deep inside you are a phoney.



I lost the sugar rollercoaster of processed foods and carbs, took to activity and feel strong and lithe, and I have nothing to hide from others or myself. I work hard, I eat with awareness and concern for my nutrient balance, I am thrifty and miserly, I am kind to others as the purpose of my soul is compassion, and at the end of the day, I feel so much pleasure knowing that I am genuine. This is me. No secrets. No shame. No self-abuse. No hiding my body or dreading photographs. Just pure and utter joy like a newborn with a clean slate.


When you take your own welfare into your own hands and make good choices, it affects everything else in your life. You take more career risks, meet more potential mates, decide to move to the countryside, or whatever things seemed like dreams for someone else. If you can take hold of your health, you can do anything!




Eating and Exercising Habits




Whatever you do, don't try something temporary. The problem is permanent unless the changes are permanent.



Whatever you can maintain for life is the best choice. I didn't want to give up a variety of foods. Yes, I eat meat and cheese. Yes, I love fried foods and chocolate. My portions are small with wide variety. I make my foods instead of frozen or pre-packaged. I know what's in them, but also the process of preparing the food is a form of self-love.



Any fly-by-night diet will work to reduce weight, whether it's keto, low-fat, vegan, high-carb, etc. The problem is not only that they are hard to maintain but they limit the quality of foods you eat. When you focus on one food group and exclude others, you miss important macro- and micro-nutrients.



I could go to a barbecue and find plenty to eat; beans, cole slaw, chicken, a hamburger without bun, even a taste of dessert, but only if I have eaten less than normal. I don't have to apologize at gatherings for not eating certain foods. I simply take my time, enjoy the company, set the food down and take my time. That small plate at the buffet - it's my friend.



WHAT I CAN MAINTAIN FOR LIFE




Easy switches made it possible to get to a great new set point and stay there. Here's the ones I chose -



8" dinner plate. No matter how I fill it, I am getting 2-1/2" less surface to cover. It's subtle, but the only dinner plates I have are 8", that's what I eat. This gives me about 30% less calories! I don't worry about serving others on these plates, as they don't put up a fight or even realize what I'm doing. In my own way, I can feel better about us enjoying yummy foods.



Eat slowly, savor, put down fork, really smell and taste it. If you can take 20 minutes to complete the meal, I promise your stomach will register and be satisfied with the amount.



Count sugar grams to keep below 24g a day. That means if I want dark chocolate, I need to go for a high percentage cacao or I need to sacrifice bread that day.



Use an air fryer. I love my air fryer more than I can say! I can make beet chips or sweet potato fries in it. I make so many things in it, I use it constantly. I pretty much don't use my oven unless it's something huge like a pie, cake, or turkey.





Ninja Foodi air fryer/broiler/dehydrator/bake/roaster large capacity




I haven't demonized any foods except for the obvious bad-health options like packaged processed foods, sodas, and candy. Technically they are not foods, they are concentrated addiction delivery systems that profit Nabisco, Kellogg's and other processed food companies.



I avoid restaurant food unless I must, otherwise I'd rather make my own stuff and know how much salt is in it. I eat butter (not margarine). I use avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil. I enjoy peanut butter (unsweetened).



I eat as many colors as I can. Even with diabetes, I don't limit my fruits and veggies. The fiber content in them helps me to justify if they are starchy. I only use grains that are whole, dense chewy breads, whole grain tortillas, seed crackers, but admittedly 2 slices of bread is my max for the day. I either am going to have toast at breakfast and a roll at supper or a sandwich at lunchtime, or opt for open-faced which is how my family liked eating sandwiches as a kid. On some days, a breakfast burrito for lunch and a wrap sandwich for supper gives me two tortillas for that day.



I make potato skins, but do so in the air fryer. I do my fried chicken in there and fish and chips. Yes, I don't deny myself these things, but I am conscious of the breaded stuff and it's included in my 2-slices a day directive. I can also toast whole grain bread, add sunflower seeds, pistachios, and chia seeds and such to pilverize in the food processor for bread coating on air-fried items.



Each person will make their guidelines to suit them, but don't ever deny yourself foods. Look at the Italians and French, the Greeks. These folks know how to live slower, be healthy, and eat the most amazing foods that Americans tend to think are "naughty" when in actuality our fast food culture is "naughty."



The plate size and slow eating - no matter what you put on it, it's going to serve you well!




Confidence



This is the part of weight loss most people look forward to the most. For me, weight loss was "coming home." I was back in the body I knew all my life, a lanky model's body that was athletic and moved with grace.



It took me a while to look at putting clothes on and going out differently. I used to agonize - my big over shirts that covered up the belly were in the wash or I couldn't wear this or that because I'd have to tug at it to make it looser.



Now, I literally could blindly grab a tank top and put it on and wear it in public (something I honestly hadn't done for 20 years since my ex had told me my arms were "huge.") You don't mind going out without makeup, or putting your hair in a ponytail because you like your jawline and neck and you look sporty and not apologetic for your size. I won't say skinny girls have it made, but it's true that women of a healthy weight can put on anything and, most importantly, not feel self conscious.



For some losing weight is exciting because of the ability to shop regular clothing stores, show their figure, or even go to the beach without hiding in a coverup the whole time.









A healthy weight is not just good for your body's functions but also has many side benefits. Being able to pull on a tank top and jeans and be confident versus wanting to wear an overshirt. These women are the same weight (above) and what is ideal for one is not for the other.



I recall not wanting to be seen in tank tops, so I wore them under an overshirt or cardigan. I would be walking around knowing I wouldn't be caught dead pulling off my cardigan. When I'd sit down, I'd worry about the gut spreading. When people would see me from the side view, I'd turn. If (God forbid) someone wanted to take a group picture, I'd hide in the back.



Here's a really strange but fantastic thing - I used to agonize over going out. I'd have to find a coverup outfit and groan when I saw myself in the mirror. I would have to organize my wardrobe according to hiding. When I lost weight, I was at home wearing a t-shirt and around the house shorts that were not my "outside clothes." I had to go to the store and I simply grabbed my purse and left. I didn't feel exposed or sloppy because the clothes looked great on my body and I didn't want to hide or worry about what was hanging out or if someone was seeing me in profile.



Your wardrobe becomes grab-and-go when you are a healthy weight.



If there's a fashion style you always wanted to try but didn't want to draw attention to your "dowdy" self, being a healthy weight makes it possible to express yourself without any self doubt.



As well, most of us have "skinny" clothes tucked away that we almost never try on because we are stuck at the same weight for so long and don't want to see the reality of buttons not meeting over a belly.



When I dropped 4 pounds a week with Bell's palsy, I had to eat tiny bits of food because chewing was difficult. I was also depressed and anxious as I couldn't afford to be not working and a million transitions were happening in my life that Virgo me needed to control.



I pulled out the skinny clothes thinking "maybe they almost close now" and found that the skinny jeans were baggy on the belly and thighs. That one thing alone made me determined to not bounce back up in weight like the majority of "dieters" do.



Because of my blood sugar and blood pressure issues and age, I made major lifestyle changes to maintain health and vigor through old age. These should not be the natural conditions of aging. Cultures of long-lived people do not live our diet or lifestyle or stress levels and they do not get these issues.



Knowing how to feed and move my body to stay in a healthy weight range and stave off unnecessary disease processes was an immense education for me. I learned I need to eat on a small plate, eat slowly, and get healthy fats and fiber as those seem to be things I inherently enjoyed when I was skinny the first half of my life.



I will be posing in a bikini this wintertime in "Sports Illustrated" high fashion style in a desert setting. I will share it on here. It was a personal dare to myself, as there was a time I modeled these, only I had no idea who I was and it came across in my vapid photos. Now, I know who I am, I've earned this goal, and I have confidence I didn't have at 19.









Fountain of Youth



Menopause had left my hair thin like my mom's had been with me able to feel the scalp and the front top of my hair had a balding area. With the changes in diet and weight and overall health, the hair thickened back up and there are zero balding areas and the scalp is hidden by thick hair. It's like a fountain of youth!



Stamina, energy, lack of aches and pains, flexibility, balance, confidence, better skin, hair and nails, lack of puffiness, alert mind, no need for stimulants and depressants; all of these are amazing benefits. The fact is, no one should feel 70s in their 50s. What I was feeling wasn't my true age. Now, I feel my true age! Okay, maybe I feel more like 40s now, but I certainly don't feel achy, slow, and drowsy like someone decades older than me might feel.






Sculpted legs were there, 
under the fat


I am aging more like a healthy Japanese lady who still does Tai Chi and walks the neighborhood in her latter years. This means the next decades shouldn't feel like rapid decline to the grave, but continued efficacy and activity so long as I continue a healthy lifestyle.








*I am not a health care provider or licensed to dispense medical advice to anyone. I am an individual sharing my process of reversing disease and losing weight in my body and with my own methods.


5'8" tall, 178 lbs, size 10-12
 (down 3 sizes/36 lbs)
24 more lbs to 154 goal/size 6-8

NOTE: I'd like to help women not compare themselves with other women when it comes to amount of weight loss. 
My 36-pound weight loss sounds like a large amount, but for a woman of 5'4" it would be. For her to have lost comparable weight, we have to compare ourselves as 5 lbs/inch. So, with me being 4 inches taller, that 5'4" woman to lose the same ratio of weight, she would lose just 7 lbs.

 I believe it's important for women to keep that perspective. It is also very tough for me as a 5'8" woman to wear a size 4. I have to be so skinny I faint when I stand up and I look like a stick figure.

Size 4 - 5'8" 


Size 4 - 5'4"


Girls, just remember that sizes and weights look very different, even on women of the same height. I can have a short friend (all my friends are short), who wears a small size but looks curvy. If I were to be in that size with my height, I'd look like a twig. So, it can be disheartening as a tall girl to wish your weight # and size # were smaller, but there is a visual difference that one has to put into the equation. So, we tall gals envy small weights and small sizes, but the petite girls envy our lanky looks and ability to drop lots of pounds. 

The grass is always greener.... 



This is a great subject to bring up with your physician and make a plan together. I have found that I anticipate seeing the doctor when I used to dread it. I cannot wait for the kudos and confirmation what I am doing is having a huge effect on my health outcomes. And, believe me, your doctor would rather see you do the work than have to hand you an RX and ignore the real reason you're in disease process.



I will also be chronicling the health and weight loss (and house renovation) on our YouTube channel for GroovyNewLife.




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