Several of my readers have asked me for a health update after the series I did on my health journey, and since tomorrow marks my one year Trim-aversiary (when I started Trim Healthy Mama), I though this would be the PERFECT time to talk about how much my life has changed this year!
Where I Started
In the fall of 2012, I was a mess health wise. My life and my labs reflected the same thing: I was out spinning out of control. My hormone panel showed major imbalances. My blood lipids had only one level in the healthy range, and my cortisol test came back tanked. Which explained why I woke up in the morning already tired. I was also at the cusp of hitting 200 pounds, and rapidly outgrowing the largest size I’d ever worn. I was miserable.
On top of that, I’d had elevated blood calcium for over a year, and I’d just learned that I had a parathyroid tumor that was constantly pumping out a hormone that pulled calcium out of my body stores (teeth/bones, etc.) This process also shuts down the body’s uptake of calcium, since there is too much in the bloodstream.
Calcium is super great when it’s in the right place in your body, but you DON’T want high levels floating around in your blood, as this causes calcification issues, depression, memory issues, and more. Calcification includes kidney stones, cataracts, hardening of the arteries…basically your body is stashing the excess calcium in all of the wrong places. You can read more about my hyperparathyroid story here.
Finding My Way
I was a hot mess. And then I read a book that changed my life. On my way back from a family gathering on Dec. 30th, I finished the first third of the Trim Healthy Mama book…the first 200 or so pages prior to the massive recipe section explains the premise and the how behind the eating plan. It was SUCH a great read…I had one revelation after another and it was like all of the pieces of diet and nutrition that I ever knew were finally clicking into place. As soon as I hit the recipe section, I decided that I would start this full on as SOON as I got home.
Right after the holiday feasting is a great time to make resolutions about what you’re NOT going to eat next year. 🙂 Post-holiday bloat had set in, and I was pretty satisfied at that point to not gaze on another piece of fudge for several months…so it was a good time for me to give this my best shot. I was ready to give this an all out effort because I knew I had to make a change for my health.
With my docket of health issues, I was not by any means an ideal candidate for a quick weight loss plan…which works out, because THM isn’t a quick weight loss plan. But BOY did it work for me! January 1st was my first full day on THM.
I confess: I just loathe dieting. Dieting conjurs up all of the mental battles of ‘never having another this or that again’ and tiny portions and food counting. L.O.A.T.H.E. However, I also cringe looking at myself in the mirror and in these photos. I just HAD to make a change. Plus, this didn’t seem like a ‘diet’ anything close to what I’d done before. This was a new way of understanding and using food. It looked do-able and possibly even enjoyable.
Having only ever done one other type of ‘diet’ that involved tracking point values of foods, I knew I’d be in for a learning curve. THM requires that you understand what’s IN your food as far as fats and carbs, and I was clueless as to which foods provided those two key nutrients.
A really sharp friend of mine had already warned me that THM is “a whole new way of thinking about food.” She confessed that even though she’s done a lot of different diets, and considered herself a pretty sharp cookie, that this was totally different than other eating plans and does require a few weeks of focusing on getting the S & E meals down.(I’ve since been told that if you have a background in low carb dieting, that the learning curve is not quite as steep.)
My learning curve was about 3 to 4 weeks of re-reading, making cheat sheets, and labeling cartons and containers with a sharpie marker. I was determined to learn this, and that meant making mistakes and learning from them, and just starting over a few hours later. Then suddenly, about week 4, it all just ‘clicked’ for me, and I’ve never looked back.
Since my previous diet had been heavily carb-fueled, I started dropping bloat and weight pretty quickly when I cut sugar. I lost 15 pounds the first month (my before & after photos are here) WOW was that motivating! 🙂 But seriously…sugar free? I’ve read about other people doing that but is it really realistic? Would it even be remotely possible for me to do this long term? I was nervous. I knew my old nemesis ‘the craving’ was lurking out there ready to take me down.
By week 3, I found myself in the passenger side of a vehicle that was turning into the Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop with the HOT FRESH NOW light on. help! I was so nervous, because I expected myself to respond like I had on previous diets: like a ravenous sugar starved Sasquatch. Instead, I was amazed by my lack of crave. In fact, I wasn’t even slightly annoyed or bothered by the other folks around me enjoying their warm doughnuts. Seriously…somebody pinch me. I have no idea how that could be me sitting there not angry and craving sugar. Boy did I love that freedom!
I was learning to bake and make sweets all over again, since many of the new lower carb ‘flours’ and ‘sugars’ didn’t behave at all like their unhealthy counterparts. But it was worth it! I had some flops, but lots of great recipes, and I was able to use my normal family recipes for dinners with very few changes.
I got into a pattern of loss, stall, loss, stall, loss…week after week. Many other friends would lose steadily each week, but Pearl assured me that this was just part of my body’s healing process and perfectly normal for some people. I just attributed my stalls to the other health issues I was dealing with and plugged on.
I did begin using Milk Thistle Extract (affiliate link) to support my liver and gall bladder health. The liver is *the* major fat metabolism organ, and weight loss and periods of hormone shifts like postpartum and nursing often bring on gall stone attacks and sluggish liver issues. I’d dealt with a gall stone previously after losing a few pounds and I did NOT want to endure another.
I found that as the months rolled by, my stalls were happening less and less, and they were shorter & shorter. At about 3 months in, I was losing steadily just like my friends. And not a peep out of my gall bladder this time thankfully. 🙂 All of the losses started adding up. 10 pounds, 15…30…40 pounds! I couldn’t believe it! After re-assessing my goals, I halted the losses at 50 pounds, and am VERY happy with where my body is today.
One shocker for me was that even during my stalls, my body would continue to shrink. I don’t know why or how, but the scales would stay the same and my jeans would start baggin’. So use that tape measure or just use the ‘jean-o-meter’ to watch your progress and don’t get hyper-focused on the scale number.
Another crazy thing is that when I hit my ‘I look and feel good at this weight’ goal that I’d set, my body was significantly smaller than the last time I weighed that amount a decade or more ago. And I know this because I still had the jeans I had been saving to get back into…they were too big (and too 90’s). So word to the wise…start saving for a whole new wardrobe if you’re doing THM long term.
Never EVER before in my life have I ever had this much enjoyment *and* control over my body’s weight loss process. THM taught me how food works with my body. And boy was my body happy with it! Check out THIS happy surprise…my labs!
I was loving this way of eating. My energy levels were returning, and I never had any of the ‘I can’t wait to be done with this diet’ type thoughts that had always plagued me in the past. It was more like, “I can’t imagine NOT eating this way. Seriously. And when I get to goal weight, I can enjoy even MORE fun combinations of foods!”
Two big health-challenging events happened for me this year. The first was a 4 week stretch of MAJOR stress. I was rear-ended in an accident, and within a 24 hour window had a kidney stone attack that lasted for a week. (I really don’t recommend getting kidney stones if you can help it.) The evening that I was finally out of pain, we got a call that the insurance company was totaling our vehicle and that we’d need to replace it by the weekend. Not my most fun month. It was a blur of pain and stress.
I’d read that stress is ‘not good for your health’, and I got a good up close look at how that works. The stress completely prevented me from losing ANY weight. I stuck to the plan, because it was familiar and comforting, and I knew it was a good solid foundation for my body as I rode out the crazy weeks. When we finally got everything squared away and back to normal, by body swiftly dumped a total of 4 pounds over 48 hours. The. Craziest. Thing. There was no other explanation than the stress load being lifted.
The other MAJOR event for me was deciding to go ahead and get the surgery to remove the parathyroid tumor.
I am so happy to announce that I’m fully recovered. My calcium levels are back to normal, and I’m feeling alive again! I can focus my mind on not just one task, but sometimes even effectively multi-task! I can REMEMBER things again without effort! And I wake up smiling most mornings with the feeling of life and energy in my body that I haven’t had for years. I feel fully alive again.
This year has probably been THE most life changing year for me. I feel like I’ve moved the clock back a decade or two as I round up the hill to the big four-zero. I’ve shed 50 pounds of weight, and gained a teensy scar on my neck that reminds me each day how thankful I am to have stepped out of that gray fog. I’ve also forged friendships with so many lovely wonderful ladies over on the Trim Healthy Mama website groups, and have even gotten to meet and work with the wonderful and sweet authors, Serene & Pearl.
My family ended the year with a family vacation that we’d been saving and planning for years…and I’d been secretly dreading for years as well. We went to Disney World! Disney is NOT a relaxing vacation, and this time last year, I was truly dreading it. I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy to enjoy the trip. But this year, I was able to rumble ALL over Orlando with my family for 5 days straight. I was on my feet for anywhere from 5-9 hours a day every single day, and we had a BLAST! I just can’t express how grateful I am to be alive again and able to enjoy activities with my family.
Next year, I look forward to making more memories with my sweet family, pursuing even better health and tone by adding in exercise to my daily routine, and continuing to work with the lovely ladies of THM that I’ve grown so fond of. And food…more delicious, energizing, family-pleasing and joy-filled experiences with food await in 2014.
A very, very Happy New Year to each one of you, and I pray that this is a year that’s full of wonderful life changes for you and yours.
And now for LOTS more Trim & Healthy Inspiration…
This is my favorite thing about Tuesdays! I love the creative recipes, the exchange of ideas, meeting new bloggers, hearing inspirational stories and reading all of the comments from you guys. And guess what? Your clicks and comments mean a lot to the bloggers who link up here.
The featured post is the post that received the most clicks from last week, so ‘vote’ away on your favorite posts today, and be sure to leave some comment love for the awesome THM blogging community. ♥
My top 3 picks from last weeks post are:
(click to open them in a new window)
The post from last week with the most visits is:
And now for this weeks Trim Healthy Tuesday Posts!
Bloggers: please see updated posting guidelines here.
Thanks so much for joining me on Trim Healthy Tuesdays!
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