I lost 35 pounds in 4 months and I didn’t exercise, take pills, or pay a burly woman named Gretchen to snatch chips from my hand.
I know. That sounds like a bunch of weight loss crap, huh? I would have thought so too if I hadn’t done it. Not only did I lose the weight, there was another major benefit to getting rid of the pounds. More on that later.
I’m going to break this post into sections so you can grab the details easily, BUT I would really encourage you to read the whole thing because I’m going to give you some extra little tidbits I learned the hard way so that you don’t have to.
I wasn’t sure I should write about my weight loss.
BEFORE pictures are EMBARRASSING. I never, ever thought I’d share these. I look like I’m a 500-pound weird uncle who lives in a rusty tool shed behind an abandoned grocery store.
So my humiliation is not in vain, let this be a lesson to you. #ThanksBiscuits
BTW – That’s my awesome brother. He has never suffered from fatness. (Except when he was born because he had a big, fat head.) Don’t tell him I said that.
I also don’t want to come off as a weight loss jackleg. I’m not gonna be all, “It’s all about willpower, and frequently bending at the waist to put on your organic, grain-fed, free-range ankle weights.”
I’m just going tell you how I did it, and how I’m continuing to lose weight even as I write. I’m write-losing.
Start by doing this dumb thing first.
Tell someone you’re going to lose weight. Look, whenever I’ve read crap like that, I’ve said very bad words out loud to my computer. Sounds so cheesy.
Damn if it doesn’t help though, and here’s why…
I told my husband and my kids I was going to lose weight and if I failed I was going to have to eat a plate full of crow. Unless I could figure out how to coat crow breasts in sugar & fry them, the thought of that did not delight me. It’ll be the same for you. Here’s a crow printable for you. Print it and put it on your refrigerator, or print it and have it on hand for the next time you see a crow. #CrowAutograph
Related post: What I Eat & Why
Goodbye white stuff, hello fresh hell.
I went straight up cold turkey on sugar and carbs. Dammit. You didn’t want me to say that, did you?
Before you say I CAN’T DO THAT, shut your sugar-loving mouth and keep reading! Do NOT make me turn this car around.
I’m Southern. No one and I mean NO ONE loved bread, sugar & fried things more than this girl. If you think you do, I will fight you because you’re wrong.
Carbs and sugar are like TV remotes & car keys. They hide like little sneaky bitches. They are in things you may not consider to be carb and sugar bombs, like bananas, or corn, or yogurt, or “healthy” drinks, or prepackaged weight loss foods. You may think you aren’t eating them, but you are.
Woman up like the tough mother you are.
(unless you’re a man in which case you should still woman up because we are awesome.)
If you don’t hate me already, you’re about to.
It took 2 weeks of suffering flu-like symptoms & complaining every 5 minutes in order to get beyond my desire for carbs & sugar.
You may not experience that, but you should be prepared.
If you have a dungeon you should go there and have a trusted friend chain you to a wooden table.
When I hear someone say that white foods aren’t really addictive, I almost lose my mind. I don’t give a flying flip what anyone says, my body was in full on revolt. Psychological? Maybe. Still wicked? Oh God yes.
My husband (he’s lost 60 pounds in the same time because he thinks it’s a competition and is a stupid-head) had no issues at all. None. He felt great on Day One.
He was blissfully unaware of how close he came to being smothered in his sleep by a sugar-free, carb-free woman.
Meanwhile, my brain was foggy. My body hurt. I was lethargic. And most importantly, I wanted to slap everyone in the entire universe right in the face.
It was only because I didn’t want to suffer the embarrassment of quitting that I pushed through. Had I not shot my mouth off about the weight I was going to lose, I would have eaten a Pop-Tart & washed it down with a Pop-Tart and then had a Pop-Tart to celebrate.
To measure or not to measure?
My advice is you shouldn’t measure anything, but then measure everything. (I’m such a good writer.)
Here’s what I mean…
I needed a minute to teach my body that carbs & sugar were my sworn enemies. I couldn’t deal with counting calories on top of that, so for the first 3 or 4 weeks, I didn’t. If I’d had to count calories during that time, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now because I would have quit.
Like a champion.
I normally hate, hate, hate some of the things I knew I needed to eat, like eggs, chicken, and other forms of protein. Why did I need to eat that stuff? Because protein makes your tummy feel full longer. I didn’t believe that, but now I know from experience it’s true.
I had to live a life without the bad white stuff for about a month before I could fully get with my program. I remember gagging a lot.
Once I felt I was sort of “reset” I began to measure everything.
After I had truly kicked the carb/sugar Satan, I began to get serious about fastidiously counting calories, as well as my sugar & carb intake. I use Lose It! – Weight Loss Program and Calorie Counter – FitNow.
My goal was to take in AROUND 20 grams of carbs a day from healthy foods, and negligible sugar.
I count NET carbs. That means I subtract fiber & sugar alcohols from the total carb count to get the net. So if something is 15 carbs, but has 4 grams of fiber, I’m actually counting 11 carbs.
Even when you give up the bad stuff, like chips & biscuits (my drugs of choice) there can still be carbs and sugar in fruits and vegetables. For instance, a regular size banana has about 27 grams of carbs and 15 grams of sugar.
I KNOW, RIGHT?! That seems like a design flaw.
That doesn’t mean I can’t eat a banana if I want. But, it does mean I’m probably not going to eat a whole one, or that I’m going to be mindful of my carb intake the rest of the day if I do.
In the early stages, I didn’t allow myself to have even a bite of a banana. Why? Because I was afraid the sweet taste would set me back by kicking in my cravings.
Is there science behind that? How the hell do I know? I left my scientist license in my other purse.
Your scale shall set you free.
That wicked little bathroom bastard had been my enemy for quite a while. I’d gained weight during some big health issues. I’d gained weight during one of the worst depressions of my life. I’d gained weight because I had an ulcer and could barely stomach anything that wasn’t white and bland. (I was a stomach racist.)
And that stupid scale? It never let me forget it.
Some people told me I shouldn’t weigh every day. I called them names behind their backs and did it anyway.
If I saw I’d gained even a couple ounces in the morning, I took a look at what I’d put in my body the day before. It helped me figure out what I could do differently to move the scale in the other direction.
Example: I’d been consuming something that had no carbs, and no sugar, but lots of sodium. It took seeing the addition of a couple ounces on the scale before I figured out I needed to stop being a dumb head about salt. Don’t you be a dumb head about salt.
Get yourself a digital scale (this is the one I love) and weigh yourself every single morning before you do anything else. You can pee. But that’s it. Pee & weigh. To recap: PEE and then WEIGH. I feel like a diagram would help.
Create a world of success around you. Dammit, you don’t know how much I hate sounding like a guest on a talk show. I just don’t know how else to put it.
Your kitchen has to become a fueling station. No kidding. Don’t think you can have cupcakes & bagels around and be strong enough to leave them alone. You will eat them. I promise that you will cram them in your mouth, at least until you’ve been off carbs & sugar for a couple months and have largely moved beyond those cravings.
My cupboards & refrigerator look like I’ve been robbed because once you say goodbye to pre-packaged & garbage foods, it removes the superfluous junk. I could yodel in there and it would echo for days.
Keep foods that don’t have a bunch of carbs & sugar in them always at the ready. Don’t wait until you feel hungry to start opening the refrigerator looking for something to eat.
Keep some good stuff in your purse so that you don’t make bad choices when you’re out & about.
Do you live with someone who demands potatoes and cereals, and all manner of evil be kept in the house?
Cast them out and let them go live in a McDonald’s parking lot.
Just kidding. Unless you were looking for a reason, in which case give them the boot and tell them Sher said so.
You have to get your head right, whatever that means to you. Be firm with yourself, and with them, that your health is going to take priority over their Doritos. (Easier said than done, but yeah.) You need to be kind to yourself, and even though this will feel like you are submitting yourself to war torture, you will get on the scale one day soon and ask yourself why you never thought you were worth it before.
Or at least that’s how I’ve felt.
I also learned new ways to cook. You should, too.
My husband loves pizza more than you love your children. That’s his thing. (I’ve always hated pizza because apparently, I’m from Mars.)
He found a recipe for something called FatHead Pizza and now he’s become a cutie-pie pizza chef, bless his heart.
Similarly, every Sunday for years we’ve enjoyed a special weekly event we call Waffle Sunday. We were super sad to say goodbye to that tradition.
But then Himself found a recipe for waffles made from coconut flour, and we settled on a sugar-free syrup that we loved. They are AMAZEBALLS! We don’t miss the old waffles one bit. And I’m not just saying that. If they tasted like wet cardboard, I would tell you.
Crap. Turns out I didn’t actually learn anything about cooking in a new way. It’s been him all along.
Brag like you’re getting paid to do it.
I found that as I was losing weight it really meant a lot to me to tell people in my world how much weight I was dropping – even if it was only 1/4 of a pound.
I’m new to this whole bragging thing, but it gave me an extra little psychological something when I would say out loud that what I was doing was working. I got to experience all these wonderful “micro-celebrations,” which felt so encouraging.
This is my life now.
Some interesting things have happened to me as a result of this new way of eating.
My eyes have been opened as to how easy it is to find alternatives to carb-loaded, sugar-filled foods.
I’ve also come to understand the feeling of hunger, as silly as that sounds. It’s become something that doesn’t bother me the way it did. I can feel it, but it’s so much milder and I don’t get hangry any more.
I NEVER starve myself. I eat when I’m hungry, or more accurately, I fuel up when the tank is empty.
My stomach was always so full of acid that I constantly felt as though I needed to eat. That wasn’t hunger. If I didn’t eat right away, I’d become super nauseous.
The major benefit I mentioned at the top of the post? I was scheduled to have a biopsy of my stomach to find out why I was so sick all the time, and why the prescription pills weren’t helping. I canceled it because nausea has become virtually non-existent for me!!!
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was nauseous. How ’bout that?
I feel in control of my life now, and I feel more in control of this human machine called Sher. (Siri calls me “My Queen,” because I’m the boss of it.)
Let me be clear – no way I plan on living the rest of my life without ever eating a cupcake. That’s nuts. In fact, as I write, Himself and I have been on vacation for 2 weeks during which time we’ve had frozen yogurt more times than I want to tell you and WE’VE STILL LOST WEIGHT.
We planned for the indulgence by doing what we do every day, measuring what goes in our mouths. Sometimes ya gotta eat froyo, yo.
It’s the only vacation I’ve ever been on where I’ve lost weight rather than gained. Come on, now. You gotta know how awesome that is. (3 pounds down on vacation!)
The difference now is that I see food very differently, and Mr. Scale reminds me that I can make any decision about food that I want, so long as I face him every morning.
Good lord, that was cheesy enough to put on broccoli.
PS: I’m scheduled for a checkup in June to make sure my bloodwork looks good. If you want to keep up with how I’m doing, the recipes I find, and other delightfully exciting Sher things, you should join my email list below.
I promise not to share or sell your information… unless the alien overlords consider your email address some sort of currency in which case I’ll sell the hell out of it then.Your privacy is not worth my probe.
Here’s a post about the things I typically eat in a day. Maybe it’ll help you. Or maybe your hobby is knowing what strangers eat. Either way.
I’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it. Just leave the carbs & sugar alone and you’re going to do well. Right? Right.