Seeking Sustainable Change

We’re creeping up on 2 years since I broke my leg. It’s a little frightening to think about how much time has passed and how quickly it feels like it went by. Even though the bone was mended well enough for me to walk without crutches or a boot in about 4 months, the rest of the year felt lost to pain and physical therapy. The past two years have been a series of ups and downs, but they’ve helped me define and refocus on what makes me happy.

Indulgence

After my injury, I gained a lot of weight and lost quite a bit of self confidence because moving hurt and I didn’t want to put a lot of effort into eating the way I knew I should. Whether it was eating out or indulging in gelato a few too many times, it wasn’t long before the scale displayed a number I wasn’t comfortable with and I knew that I needed to rein my choices back in.

Take 1: Whole30 Challenge

Last spring, I followed the Whole30 plan for 30 days. No dairy, no alcohol, no grain or legumes, no sugary things, and no stepping on a scale for a month. This worked pretty well for me. I lost about 10 pounds and had good energy. But I knew that not having dairy wasn’t sustainable for me. I learned that I can give up sugar and I can let go of alcohol, but dairy just wasn’t happening.

Life happens

Unfortunately a series of events took place that caused me to throw all of my progress out the window. My mom had a series of health emergencies that required her to sell her condo and car, I had to say goodbye to my 20 year old cat, and I finally cut my neglectful father out of my life after he treated me like an unwanted afterthought for a decade and I just couldn’t take it any more. These things happened in the span of about 2 months and, as you can imagine, created a lot of stress. I was so grateful that I had already been seeing a therapist before any of this started happening so I had a professional with enough background on my past to help me process the present chaos.

Once again, with the stresses that last summer brought, I caved to convenience and self-pity. Pizza nights and gelato became my favorite comfort foods and the number on the scale went up even higher than before. I was really starting to feel uncomfortable with my body.

Take 2: Ketogenic Choices

Earlier this year, I considered doing another Whole30 to help kickstart some weight loss again. But I knew there were things I didn’t find useful or healthy about Whole30’s methods. After doing some research, I decided to shift my diet to the Ketogenic method. This means that I aim to get 75% of my calories from healthy fats, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates. I’ll be writing about this in more detail in a follow up to this post because I know that sounds pretty outrageous.

I’m happy to report that since starting this lifestyle on February 1st, I’ve lost about 15 pounds and feel pretty fantastic about being halfway to my initial goal! I’ve had a couple of days that I didn’t hit my ratio goals, but I didn’t let myself get discouraged because I knew I could just get back on track the next day. This is something I struggled with during the Whole30, if I made a mistake and had something on the “No” list I felt like the whole month was wasted.

What I’ve learned

If you are struggling with changing habits, especially around your health, consider some of the following things that helped me.

  • Don’t assume that if a diet works for some people that it must work for you or you’re doing something wrong.
    • Try a diet for a month and see how it makes you feel. What works for you? What do you miss the most? What “rules” do you find yourself breaking the most?
    • If you don’t lose any weight or feel like you are missing things that bring you joy, try something different. A diet only works if it’s sustainable and that means different things for different people.
  • If you get off track for a day, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking all of your progress is lost. Focus on your goal and get back on track tomorrow.
  • Seek professional help if your life feels like one overwhelming stressor after another. Therapy can help you reframe and process events in your life (past or present) so you can get past them and not get stuck.
  • Ask for help from your friends and family. Share your goals and struggles with people you trust who can encourage you and help you stay motivated.

I plan on writing more in depth about my progress with the Ketogenic lifestyle, the tools that help me stay on track, and my fitness goals that go hand in hand with my diet. I hope my experience helps other people feel motivated to try something different. Please contact me if you have questions or want to hear more about something so I know what you like to read about.