Losing Weight

I don’t normally overshare  like this…but I wanted to celebrate a milestone that is a big deal for me. I have lost 60 lbs this year!

I started February 1, 2015, so it has been exactly 9 months (Seems like FOREVER…). Below are my “before” and “after” pics.

I must confess it was seeing Sarah’s wedding pictures of myself that finally motivated me. I just didn’t recognize myself in the photos. That which was in my mind didn’t match what I was seeing.

I am now a weight that I haven’t seen since age 26—so that means I’m younger now, right? I would like to lose another 40. So maybe I will do another blog post in another 9 months. :-). For the most part you can look at the pics and stop reading here. A number of people asked how I did it, so I’ll answer that below for anyone curious. Thanks!

Sarah's wedding family Julie

Sarah’s wedding September, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

November. 2015

November. 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I gained the weight in the first place and What has been working for me:

I had to finally accept that I needed a lifestyle change because diets do not work. You might lose, but it will come back on, often with a vengeance. So the changes I’ve made are permanent. But first a little medical history. (If you are going to overshare—might as well go big!)

I gained the bulk of my weight through my child-bearing years (age 23-35). Each pregnancy packed on the pounds (I was pregnant 3x, though I lost the first at 4 1/2 months). I was bewildered as to where the weight was coming from as it didn’t seem like my eating habits had changed. The doctors had identified a serious hormonal problem, but their only concern was to medicate me so I could get pregnant and maintain the pregnancies. Once I was done with that, they told me not to worry about it since I didn’t want any more babies. Problem was I was still gaining, and now, I was also losing my hair.

At age 35 I went to a hair transplant doctor who ran all the usual tests and said, “You know you have a serious hormonal imbalance?” Yep. But I told him the doctors had told me nothing could be done about it. He totally disagreed and sent me off to an endocrinologist. Meanwhile, I got the hair transplant (I was at Stage 4 Male-Pattern Baldness) which was successful.

The endocrinologist diagnosed me with a doozy of a case of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). He put me on meds that almost instantly stopped the hair loss and did slow down the rate of weight gain. The part of PCOS that is important to the weight gain and loss is that it causes insulin resistance. With IR, carbohydrates are a really bad thing. But it took me another 13 years to get through my head that I can’t just stop eating carbs for awhile. They just have to go permanently.

So here I am now. I very rarely eat pasta, rice, or potatoes. Pasta used to be one of my four food groups—I ate some sort of pasta meal at least 4x per week. I really like rice, too. Potatoes I could take or leave. I limit bread but not nearly as much—I use it for sandwiches mostly maybe twice a week. And I never eat straight-up sugar, like candy or syrups. But those were never a problem for me. I’m not a big fruit eater, but I haven’t limited them at all.

So I started in February with removing as many carbs as possible. I didn’t count anything, just cut out those products. I don’t worry about sauces and such—you need some flavors! I didn’t cut back  or limit anything else. This worked for about the first 30 lbs, which I lost by May 1 (three months). Then everything came to a screeching halt. No matter how careful I was with the carbs, nothing more was coming off. I wasn’t gaining, just stagnant.

So then I needed to deal with actual calorie reduction. I still don’t count anything. I eat one meal a day that is meat and veggies, then add in two protein shakes for the other meals that also supply all the extra nutrients and amino acids, etc. I began to lose again at about 1 to 1.5 lbs per week.

Though sometimes that rate feels really slow, I don’t feel I can cut back anymore and still realistically do this long term. Plus, slower at this point is probably better, since I am having some sagging skin issues. (Anyone have any good suggestions for tightening up 49-year-old skin?)

So I hope to lose another 40-50 lbs and if I can keep up what I’m doing this will take another 8 months. After that, I can switch to maintenance. That will still be almost none of the carby foods, but I won’t have to be so restrictive on the fats. I really think I can live with that. I have dropped down three sizes in my clothing, two more will get me back to my high school/college size.

A final comment about exercise. There were periods of time where I regularly exercised 3-5x per week, and there were stretches where I didn’t at all. There was no difference noted in the rate of weight loss either way. I really don’t think exercise contributes much to weight loss, though I think it is still valuable for toning up muscles and maybe maintaining a higher metabolism.

Any constructive comments are appreciated! Thanks for reading through this.

Julie 🙂

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7 Responses to Losing Weight

  1. Stephanie Felsburg says:

    Hey Julie!

    I always want to encourage someone when they have lost weight but struggle with how to say it. I never want to make it sound like they weren’t as great before the weight loss! That being said…..you are beautiful in both pictures….before and after! Congrats to you! You look amazing and I’m so happy for you! What an inspiration you little hottie!😎👏👍💣🎆🎇🎉

    God bless ya! Stephanie Felsburg

  2. Glory Lennon says:

    Julie, how wonderful for you. I do hope you are feeling well though. Every time I try to cut down sugars I feel horrible. You look happy so I’m guessing you feel good. Yay for you!

    • Julie Helms says:

      I know what you are talking about, but the bad feeling from lack of sugar passes within a few days as the body switches over to burning fat (ketones, I believe). I don’t crave any of it at all any more. Thanks!

  3. Michelle Canfield says:

    Congratulations, and thanks for the background on how you did it, it’s always helpful to learn what contributed to others’ success!

  4. Patricia says:

    Hi! You’ve done fabulously! I need to lose another 25 lbs. and struggling with it. What did you eat in place of carbs? And fat? I know of spaghetti squash or zucchini in place of pasta and bell pepper nachos , and that’s helpful. I am struggling with fats too. I agree with you about exercise too. It’s 80/20 Iv’e always been told: 80% nutrition, 20% exercise. Thanks for any reply!

    • Julie Helms says:

      Hi! I hope you saw the follow-up to this blog post–where I lost the other 60! I’m sorry but I tried the zucchini replacement for spaghetti and found it to be a total fail. Lol! Pasta was definitely my weak spot, so I scheduled it as a reward–every 5 or 10 lbs lost got me a pasta meal. It worked–every time I craved it I just remembered my upcoming reward. There really is no substitute but I can say over time the need to eat carbs has diminished.

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