This is the kind of losing battle to be happy about. I mentioned, in my last post, that I’d gained significant weight during the transition to my new job (20 pounds, to be exact). It was the most I’ve weighed in my life, and put me over a limit I never wanted to see on my bathroom scale.
I thought that changing from my 20 hour a week job to full-time would mean I’d be more active and it would be easy to lose weight, especially considering the 2-hour naps I was prone to taking after work most days. Instead, the weigh gain hit and didn’t stop. Previously, my schedule looked like this:
- Wake up at 8:30 a.m. and throw some clothes on.
- Get to work at 9 and have some coffee.
- Work until 2 p.m. and go home to unwind.
- Take a nap from 3:30 to 5:30.
- Get up and make dinner so I could see my boyfriend off to work.
- Go to bed at 2 a.m.
That’s all there was to it. I was a biphasic sleeper and I ate one large meal a day. Enter the new schedule:
- Wake up at 7:30 a.m., get dressed, do my makeup (y’know, care how I look)
- Have a Soylent (that’s 400 calories compared to my black coffee)
- Get to work at 9.
- Grab lunch at 1 p.m.
- Work again until 6 p.m.
- Immediately start on dinner, though the meals have to be quick to prepare, or we opt to pick something up.
- Fall asleep before my boyfriend even leaves for work.
Yeah! You see a number of glaring reasons why I gained weight. Holy smokes! Starting the day with 400 calories that weren’t there before. Adding another meal to the middle of the day. Eating less homemade meals and falling asleep with a full belly. My waist didn’t stand a chance!
The timing was perfect, because right about the time I’m ready to put the breaks on this upward trend, it’s the New Year and diet programs are being marketed like crazy. That’s when 23andMe reached out to me to be part of their weight loss study. They offered a choice of 3 different diets you could commit to over the course of 12 weeks. The high fiber, low saturated fat diet fit right in line with my boyfriend’s goal to cut out meat, so I signed up. I still get to eat all the things I enjoy, but with the added restriction of meat, it has made us a lot more cautious in dining out. The diet eliminated a number of easy fast food traps.
With a realistic goal of a pound a week, I was pleasantly surprised to see my progress of 5 pounds down after 5 full weeks of dedication. My habits aren’t quite in order yet, but the important thing is that this is something I enjoy and can sustain so that it doesn’t become something I’m going to abandon after the study.
It’s also worth mentioning that we haven’t cut out meat entirely. We allow ourselves two days each month to eat meat, because there are foods we absolutely would miss. One of the days is reserved for a trip out of town to our favorite pho restaurant. The other, we have to be very selective about. The hardest thing to get without meat is Mexican food (there’s chicken stock in the rice, and beans can have hidden lard or bits of meat for flavor). I LOVE Mexican food, and this town has so much to choose from.
Here’s the surprise in the story. When February 1st arrived, we decided to go out for Mexican food. We each ordered something that had multiple meats; these were things we’ve always loved and been able to put away like it’s nothing. My boyfriend takes his first bite, happy but a little disappointed: “I kinda hoped I wouldn’t like it anymore.” We continued eating, but when we each had half a plate left, we could go no further. It was painful. It sat so heavy and we felt so gross. I hate to waste food, so I boxed it up to take home and graze on later that night. On the way out, I said “Is this what we’ve been doing to ourselves?” I ate a little more of the meat that night, and could still taste it when I burped the next day. It just stuck with me. It was well worth the lesson, and I’m happier than ever with my current food choices.