From the Blog

Droopy Drawers

What a problem to have. I have saggy pantaloons. I need to wear a belt with jeans that used to fit. I have a few pairs of pants that always seemed too short. I thought as I lost weight, they’d hang lower. And they do. Now they are an okay length, but they feel a little loose and swimmy. Poor me. Poor, poor, me. Alas and woe.

About three months ago, I learned my cholesterol was wicked bad. It was near 300. I’m not sixty years old, I didn’t eat fast food, and I don’t roll around naked in poutine, despite what you may have heard. We were just eating whatever we wanted. We were casual about trying to eat better. I thought I was eating less meat and less dietary cholesterol. I thought my blood cholesterol level would be pretty okay. It wasn’t. It wasn’t okay.

So we made some changes. They weren’t all that drastic. We cut out fried food. No french fries, no beloved tater tots. No fish and chips, which was hard for Dave. We like to eat all those things quite a bit. But it’s an easy category to omit. There’s no real way to fool yourself that fried food has any redeeming or healthful qualities.

We also cut out cheese. So, no giant cheese omelets, no pizza, no macaroni and cheese! Do you know how hard that is? Do you know how much I LOVE macaroni and cheese? I fucking LOVE IT, okay? I haven’t had mac and cheese since the day I got my cholesterol score. Now I pick out individual shreds of cheese from my salads and wonder about the calories I’m saving. Because I’m never as happy as when I’m obsessed about something.

That’s it. Those were the two major changes. We were already not eating much meat. And we were already eating a healthy amount of seafood. After about two or three weeks, I noticed very slight changes in how my clothes fit. I went out and bought a scale. In a short amount of time, maybe a month, I lost eight pounds. Fricken whoo-to-the-hoo, y’all.

Then it stopped. I stopped losing weight. I hit a plateau. It was annoying. I had been losing weight so quickly, I thought I’d drop 30 pounds by July. It had been easy up to that point. We still weren’t eating fried foods, cheese or saturated fats. The next step was to eat lighter and less. We hadn’t really paid much attention to portion sizes. It’s amazing how little food you are actually supposed to eat. Your “protein” is supposed to be the size of a deck of cards. Two or three ounces. Come on! That’s crazy talk!

We cut back. I had a giant spinach salad for lunch every day, with tomatoes, carrots, some sliced turkey lunch meat. We made smaller meals for dinner. And when I started to feel full, which happened more often, I was able to share my food with Dave. I lost another five pounds.

Then it stopped, again. I noticed my weight loss fluctuated in a monthly cycle with my goddamned hormones. So depending on what time of the month it was, I either seemed to lose weight with little effort, or I didn’t lose anything at all. Women’s bodies are programed to save our butt flab for baby making. It’s bullcrap.

So I thought about the next thing I needed to do to keep the trend going in the right direction. Exercise, sure. But I have to find the time. And our schedule has been nutty. I can control what food I’m eating, and it doesn’t require more of a time investment. And despite omitting some foods we formerly enjoyed, it still doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice. I’m pretty good at maintaining will power. We’re not militant. We will occasionally eat something “less than healthy,” but we get smaller portions and we share. I still haven’t eaten mac and cheese. Dave still hasn’t eaten fish and chips.

If I can turn something into a game, and it requires some vigilance, I like to play. And the reward has been remarkably swift. The goal was to lower my cholesterol naturally. But losing weight is an awfully nice side benefit. I may need to buy myself all new pantaloons.

I went to the doctor last week and I was down fifteen pounds in three months. She almost couldn’t believe it. She advised me to be careful. People who lose weight too quickly have a harder time keeping it off. I explained we weren’t crash dieting. I’m watching cholesterol. We just cut out saturated fat and are eating smaller and healthier. She remarked that very few people try the lifestyle change and actually make it happen. She was proud of my progress. She told me to come back at the end of the summer, after six months of eating healthy. We’ll test my cholesterol again then. I’ll be pissed if it’s not under 200.

And if I lose another 15 pounds by then, I may roll around naked in a spinach salad.

Comments

  1. So, did your cholesterol go down? Did you say somewhere and I missed it? Anyway, good for you. And now you get a whole new wardrobe as an incentive to maintain your healthier lifestyle! Win-win

  2. Congrats on the great work Heather! Keep it up! (Or down!)

  3. My doctor doesn’t want to test again until the end of the summer, after a full six months of the low cholesterol diet. It’s been high for a number of years now. So it may just be the way I’m built. But I’ve never made a concerted effort to bring it down. I will be very curious to see the results in a few months.

    I’m holding off to buy new clothes until then too. Then I’m going to go crazy! I’m going to lose my mind buying new clothes! Whooo!

  4. Meredith says

    Buy one or two new pairs of jeans. It helps you stay motivated if you feel good and feel like you look good. It isn’t much but just to keep you feeling like you’re on a path. And, you can use those new jeans as another starting point, once those get droopy, that feels good!

  5. congrats!! that is a HUGE accomplishment. and you are bucking the trend: most couples move in together and get fat. yippee! you moved in together and are get heathier and thinner. who doesn’t love proving the establishment wrong?

  6. I’ve had a couple people tell me lately that they can see that I’m losing weight…in my face. Which is natural, I suppose. But then it made me wonder, what percentage of fat have I lost is “face fat”? Like, if I lose 20 pounds, is a pound of that coming off my face?

    I just like contemplating face fat. My face is on a diet. My face is down to a size 8. Better not eat that cheese burger, it will go right to my face.

  7. Eric Berg says

    No french fries? No cheese? No fried foods? What is this?

    http://www.portlandpoutine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/laurelwood1.jpg

    ;)

  8. I buy all my jeans at Goodwill. That way, when my weight changes (down, up up up up up or up) I don’t feel bad about the $7 I paid for the pants. I find lots of good-quality stuff, too.

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