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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Welcome to my Blog: Here is my story!

Over the course of the last ten years I have lost over 40 pounds in a slow moving, but ongoing quest to be more healthy, more energized, and yes, drop a couple pant sizes.  Though this weight has come off slowly through the years, I recently made a couple tweaks to my eating habits and lost another 7 pounds in a matter of a couple months.  So of course lots of friends have noticed and asked me how I have done it.  This is my longwinded answer to that question. 

If you want the short answer it is this:  eat a lot more veggies and lots of fruits and lean meats and good fats and all the things you already know you should be doing every day like eating breakfast, eating whole grains etc.   The forthcoming longwinded answer  will attempt to provide some easy hands-on ideas, recipes, tips, and even possibly some warnings (like when you lose weight, your boobs shrink!), alongside the obvious run down of “What Amy Ate Today” to give the concrete answer to the question lots of my friends have been asking me: “How have you lost so much weight?” 

This is not a diet to follow.  This is nothing more than a normal woman’s account of her quest to find a solid balance in leading a happy and healthy life, first for herself, but also for her family as well, by simply changing some of her eating habits.

Short Bio: 
Average American girl, dirty blond hair, age 37, 5 foot 6 inches tall.  Stay at home mom of two boys, ages 4 & 2.  Spent most of childhood in the Midwest and then moved to the Northeast during high school.  Never skinny, never thin.  I was referred to as ‘skinny’ and 'thin' for the very first time in my whole entire life last year!  It still sounds really strange to me when people say it and nearly impossible to believe. 

I was never grossly overweight either, just had a little extra around all the edges.  Even in high school, when most girls are at their thinnest, I had an extra 10-15 pounds.  Went to college, gained a little weight.  Got a job, gained a little more weight.  I got to the point where all my size 12 pants were stomach crushingly tight and I realized I was going to have to go out to buy a whole new wardrobe of size 14 pants. 

Then one morning on the way to work I was stopped at a red light and had an epiphany: I didn’t want my stomach to hurt anymore from pants that were too tight and I didn’t want to be a size 14.  I realized at that moment that only I had control of my body and its size and it was time for a change.  It was an empowering and life changing red light.

Share information with other people who are like me (normal!) in hopes to help them live a longer, healthier, more energized, and possibly thinner, happier life.   For me it is just about making one teeny tiny change at a time, at my own pace and letting my own results motivate me.  I love food.  I love eating.  I eat all day long, I promise you.  I have figured out how to eat in such a way that I am never hungry and able to maintain my weight and enjoy treats occasionally too.   I have not found anything that tastes or feels better than being healthy, energized, and thin.  Not even glazed doughnuts, not even french fries.  I still eat them, I love them!  But much less frequently and in much smaller portions - and I enjoy them and savor them that much more because of it:  win-win!

Not sure how I feel about sharing before/ after pix or even pants size changes, we have all seen that before.  I’ll just give you my stats: 5 foot 6 inches tall.  In 2001 I weighed 160+ pounds.  I have to say 160+ because I stopped weighing myself when I hit 160, but I am sure I must have gained at least another 5-10 pounds before I started dropping weight.  As of this January of this year (2012) I reached 123 pounds, which I have maintained since. 

All the teeny tiny changes I make are ‘for life types of changes’ so I never worry about gaining weight.  I do gain weight from time to time when I overindulge, but it doesn’t scare me like it used to because now I know what to do to lose it again and I just get back on that horse before those 2-3 added pounds becomes 5-10-20 pounds and I’m back to square one.

Meantime, my life is full of special treats; I don’t believe in deprivation or going hungry or skipping meals and no food is ever off limits.  For me, it is just about deciding how much of something I should have and how often I should have it.  The changes and tweaks I make are absorbed into the daily grind of normal life so I only make changes that I can live with and are easy to maintain.

It is probably important also to mention that I was pregnant twice during this period of time and topped out at 168 pounds during both pregnancies (I was 136 pounds when I got pregnant the first time and 130 pounds the second time).  I walked a lot both times to keep fit and was lucky enough to shed all the baby weight relatively soon after birth via the rigorous breastfeeding of two large hungry baby boys.

Credentials:  I have none!  Yes, I am not a nutritionist, though I now wish I was!  Everything I know about food and healthy eating has been gathered during ten years working in the restaurant industry (5 of which included high end Mediterranean cuisine) and a lifetime of tirelessly reading current periodicals such as:  Cooking light, Nutrition Action, Food Network magazine, Women’s Day, Real Simple, Family Circle, Whole Living, etc.  I was also influenced by books such as Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  And before I had children I enjoyed many hours of watching the Food Network shows and all the excellent cooking shows on PBS (I still try to squeeze some of those in on Saturday afternoons when we are home!)   Oh, and yeah, lots of trial and error :)

I have never followed a ‘real’ diet of any kind for more than one day.  I’d say that is due to poor will power and a complete refusal to count calories, but also the fact that diets just don’t work anyway.  You are deprived in one way or another and then you just gain all the weight back after you return to your ‘normal’ life.  I have watched many friends and family members go through this weight/ diet roller coaster and I imagine it is self-defeating and frustrating and could easily leave a person with a sense of hopelessness.  And that sucks.

OK, this has already been too many words – now on to “What Amy Ate Today" aka "WAAT!?"

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