Last year I lost 50 pounds. Congratulations to me! It was a present to myself for my 70th birthday. Here is what happened.
I have had fibromyalgia since I was 58. I was sitting in my recliner playing computer games and watching TV and realized that was what my mother had done the last years before she died – she also had a lot of pain. Besides the considerable pain, I was tired all the time and depressed. Who wouldn’t be? It was hard to move around. I also had blurry vision, memory loss, chemical sensitivities, food intolerances and memory loss. Oh, I said that already.
I was not ready to die, so I decided something had to change!
I read a LOT of articles and found out that for me, with my body and symptoms, a low glycemic index, gluten-free, plant-based diet would alkalize my body, reduce the inflammation which caused the pain, and begin to heal my gut, where I believe the problem started after years of drinking diet sodas with Aspartame.
I jumped in with both feet. I completely changed the way I cook and what I eat. It wasn’t even that hard once I stopped thinking of meals as “looking like” they used to. Meat, vegetable and starch, even home-cooked, simply did not provide enough servings of fruits and vegetables. I had little desire for “fake meat” to make the meal look like it used to.
More Matters – Did you know that the USDA now recommends not 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but seven to THIRTEEN? They have named the new program to promote increasing fruit and vegetable intake, “More Matters.” The only way I have found to do that BTW is with daily “green” blender drinks.
My symptoms are much better, though the arthritis in my back still makes it hard to move around. The weight came off as a surprising side effect – surprising because I was actually eating much more food than I had been.
The thing is, as far as weight is concerned, I would rather have lost about 20-25 more pounds, but I have been at a “plateau” for a year. I consulted a dietician, who suggested I keep my calories below 1200 and my fat below 30 g/day. Other than that, she didn’t have any advice.
So, I opened my trusty Google and looked for help online.
I have used the free membership website “sparkpeople.com” in the past for support with weight loss. The site is supported by ads but I guess that’s the cost of “free.”
Sparkpeople helps me to track my food intake and fitness and it does much more.
- Every day the front page features quality articles on nutrition, recipes, health and wellness. Today I find the top article has a huge photo of bright green peas to illustrate an article on growing vegetables, a recipe for chicken burgers, an article on recognizing the signs of depression and one on skin care.
- There is always one featured exercise, with a BRIEF demonstration video. Today they feature a “desk” exercise.
- You are encouraged to join groups or “teams” of people who share similar issues or interests. I joined a team for seniors, one for vegetarians, one for fibromyalgia. The teams provide discussions, tips, goals and encouragement.
- There are online “Condition” Centers with information about health conditions from catching a cold to heart disease.
I think the recipes may be my favorite feature. After all, when you change the way you eat, it’s hard to imagine new dishes. There are many thousands of recipes in every possible category, complete with nutrition trackers (carbs, fats, proteins, etc./serving). Some have been posted by members, others by Sparkpeolpe’s professional nutritionist/chefs The discussions after the recipes are as educational as the recipe itself.
There are other popular free sites offering online support for weight loss, including Peertrainer where you form small 3-4 person support teams to keep each other honest, and My Fitnes Pal, a very simple tracking site. There are many more. A simple “Google” should give you plenty of choice to find what’s right for you.
OH, BTW, I discovered my problem and am back on track. Although I remained a vegetarian, packaged food had begun to sneak its way back onto my plate, gradually crowding out some of the fresh fruits and vegetables I need.