When I published the Little Black Stones letter, I had inspiration, vulnerability, humility, motivation and more than a little fear. What I didn’t have, was a plan. I knew I wouldn’t be eating what I had been (fast food and junk food, mostly), but I wasn’t clear on how exactly I was going to go about “nourishing Camie” in the literal sense.
While I will most definitely write more about my history in future posts, here’s the basic rundown:
My first “successful” diet had me counting calories at 13 years old and I went from 170lbs to 140lbs over a period of three months. I gained it back and then some over the next seven years.
The next dramatic weight-loss came when I was 19 and 80lbs fell off my body without me even trying: the Mysterious 80-pound Incident of 1994 where I went from 225lbs to 145lbs over the period of a year. I gained all that back and then some over the next six years.
When I was 27, I joined Weight Watchers and lost 90lbs (278lbs to 188lbs) over a nine-month period. As I began gaining that back, I enrolled in Overeaters Anonymous which staved off a massive weight gain for awhile, I took part in an out-patient treatment program for food addiction which cut out sugar and flour and saw me lose 30 lbs over the period of a year. Eventually, of course, I gained all that back and then some.
In June, 2011, I weighed 300 lbs and decided to try again. I lost 60 lbs in six months by counting calories, swimming, riding my bike, walking and doing Zumba. Christmas came. I went through a little break-up and indulged. I lost momentum. I slipped back into old habits and, I gained it all back and then some.
About this time last year, weighing 308lbs and inspired by my beautiful friend the Diminishing Diva, I decided to have gastric sleeve surgery with Weight-loss Forever Medical. I had all the tests, went on the pre-op diet, found the $17,000+ I’d need to get it done and then one of my tests came back with high calcium. Weird. Further tests were required, the surgery had to be put on hold. Turns out I had a benign tumour on one of my parathyroid glands that was throwing things out of whack. Surgery was the recommended option, and it would take up to a year to book a date. In the meantime, the endocrinologist said it would be fine to have the gastric sleeve surgery from her perspective, but the momentum was lost and I slid back into old habits.
A long, depressing year later, I was 30 lbs heavier and scheduled for a parathyroidectomy. In January, I took the Landmark Forum. Recommended by a friend after I cried into her sushi one day at lunch, the Forum was the longest three days of my life. But the experience (along with the subsequent seminar series) has inspired me to create new possibilities for myself and my life – and part of that has been starting this blog, Nourishing Camie.
As you can imagine, asking for help here has elicited suggestions and ideas from all over the place – exactly what I asked for. I’ve received notes and letters suggesting 12-step programs, Traditional Chinese Medicine, gastric surgery, church and more. As I mentioned in Little Black Stones, the challenge I’ve extended to myself is to approach this journey as if I’ve never been on it before – because I haven’t. Not at this time, with this mind. I intend to explore all of my options as part of my long-term solution – and I’ll bring you along for the ride.
But for today, I need to eat something and I need a plan. Here’s what I know: keeping track of what I eat works as part of the physical and mental strategy. So, I’ve gone back to an application that’s been helpful to me in the past called Lose It (there are many others and we’ll look at those too!). This app helps me track calories, nutrition, activity, etc. It’s come a long way even since the last time I used it.
Next, a meal plan. For me, there’s nothing more dangerous than the words, “What do you want to do for dinner?” The answer, inevitably, is: “I want to stuff my face with a double Big Mac, large fries, six Chicken McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce, an apple pie and…of course…a Diet Coke (this was my typical order at McD’s).” Not having a plan means I’m susceptible to making a bad choice just because I don’t want to think about it. At the same time, I have a very strong “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!” reflex, so it’s important I don’t feel tied to a “diet,” or as many an 80s-sweatshirt-Garfield described, “Die, with a T.”
The solution I’ve come up with in the meantime is to find a meal plan that reasonably fits with foods I like, adapt it so it’s all foods I like and leave a “bank” of calories in a day in case I get hungry, need flexibility, etc.
Lose It tells me I need 2,087 calories per day to lose 2lbs a week (the maximum rate of weight loss it allows and the standard recommendation by healthcare professionals.) I started with this 1500-calorie-a-day plan created by Colleen Pierre, MS, RD, in consultation with Christine D. McKinney, RD, a certified diabetes educator from the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for the Triangle Primary Care Network in North Carolina. This gives me something to work with as I track my calorie intake and leaves me 500 or so calories to “play with.” I made some adjustments based on my personal tastes developed a grocery list to go with it.
This process required a time investment of about 8 hours – whew. Out of the meal plan comes a Sunday routine: Go grocery shopping, cook a roast for dinner with leftovers to be used through the week, pre-cook chicken breasts and make a pot of vegetable soup to be eaten throughout the week. I’m starting with this one by Alton Brown of the Food Network. Mmmmmm.
So, that’s the plan…for the food…such as it is…for today. I don’t profess it to be the magic bullet for anyone (including myself) and I’m sure my future lawyer would like me to tell you that I don’t endorse or encourage you to try anything without first consulting your doctor….so…that. I will make an appointment to see my doctor next week and start getting the “experts” involved.
Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement – you are amazing!
Love and Light