People are Noticing

When you’re as large as I am, you have to lose a lot of weight before anyone notices. But several times this week I’ve had people look at me twice, and comment on the weight loss. Which, to be fair, I’ve advertised on Facebook as part of being accountable for what I’m doing. At least six friends have followed up privately to get more information about Noom after seeing my results.

It’s been two months now, and Nooming is normal. I’ve navigated parties at the club while staying on plan, and eat out regularly with friends. We even went for Chinese this week and I brought home a BIG container of hot and sour soup, which clears the sinuses for not a lot of calories. I feel good figuring out how to enjoy things I like while not going overboard. Some things are still off limits, not from Noom but because I haven’t figured out how to really work them in. Makes me a bit sick to think about what I ate on a regular basis before begining this program.

And as of this morning, I’m down 31 pounds, which is 10% of my starting weight. Since you are smart people, that will tell you where I started even if I’m embarassed to put the actual number down in public. Anyway, this was my first goal, and I’m there. The next one is 19 lbs away – 50 lbs, putting me at the weight I was when my lapband was removed in 2014.

I’m shopping in the closet now, although I don’t have that much stuff in smaller sizes. I ruthlessly weeded out clothes before moving here and some of what I brought was donated about 2 years ago when I gave up on the idea of ever being smaller. But I do have some things and am regularly wearing one size smaller than I did in January. I have to – I’ve lost 9 inches so the old stuff is just hanging. Since at some point hopefully soon there will be a season change as well, I’m just making do for now. But Catherines had a sale and I picked up some things I know will fit one or two sizes down. There are always thrift and consignment stores, and eBay is great if you know sizes and brands.

Oh yes, one other thing – I bought a new car last weekend. After 11 years with my beloved Prius, I now have a candy-apple red Honda HR-V. I’d wanted something taller than the Prius, which is very low to the ground; that’s hard in a state where everyone drives giant trucks and SUVs. It was not only getting hard to get down into the Prius, it was a safety hazard for me not to be able to see anything.

Getting a red car was necessary; I’ve had them for 35 years and didn’t want to break my streak (14 years with the Nissan Sentra, 10 with the Saturn, and 11 with the Prius). Plus I can find in parking lots! This one is much easier for me to get into than the Rav4, Forester, or CRV and I do sit taller, so it’s a win-win all around. One of my neighbors told me this morning that this one suited me, and it does. I’m naming her “Carmen.”

Let me tell you about Noom

Almost nothing about a diet/weight loss program surprises me anymore, having been on a zillion of them in my life. Most boil down to being legalistic and rigid, and the second you tell me that I can’t eat something is when it becomes the only thing I want to eat. I don’t really like being in groups or classes and prefer working through this on my own, though I did like the accountability of having someone else weigh me – except when I’d gained.

On the other hand, they didn’t work long-term. None of them, even when I lost over 100 pounds, which I did several times. I’m good at losing when I want to pay attention to what I eat; I’m not very good at keeping it off and maintaining a target weight. Why? Because I was paying attention to the food and not to my inside self and the triggers that were setting me off.

Noom is a different kind of program. It’s app-based so you and your phone become very close. You weigh yourself once a day in the morning and record it in the app, and you also log food in the app. Those aren’t all that different; lots of plans do that, and tracking food is pretty essential to actually being accountable for what you eat. The app also has a pedometer to track your steps; many of you already do that with FitBit or other program, but this was new for me and it was nice to have it integrated.

Food tracking is common to all weight loss programs; each puts its own spin on it. In Weight Watchers, you count points. In others you’re counting carbs or grams of protein or fat. Noom does it with color groups based on caloric density. Foods are Green, Yellow, and Red. But you can eat anything, as long as you account for it, and you do look at the calorie count. Green food has a different caloric density than red food; you get filled up with food that has more water and fiber.

I’m a visual person and thinking of food by color groups makes it easier to picture and then make a choice between a Green Food snack such as fat free yogurt and a Yellow Food choice of 2% yogurt. Chicken is a yellow food; steak is a red food. Grapes are green, raisins are red. Mostly I just pick what I want – but then I use their food analysis tool to give me feedback on the choices. And since I log my food BEFORE I eat it, I can (and do) swap out one thing for another to keep things balanced.

But what’s really different about Noom is the psychology components. Each day has several small little articles on related things, such as mindful eating or breaking habits. Some of the style is a little cutesy but the information itself is sometimes new, or at least presented in a new way. And there are little quizzes to see how much you retain. It’s actually a lot of information in small enough bites that I’m absorbing more than in a lecture or reading a book.

You’re also assigned a goal coach, and after the first 2 weeks, are put into groups with a coach to help work through and respond to the articles. I’m honestly not finding that to be that much help because I found another option that works for me and that’s two Facebook groups for Noom users, a general one and one for those with large amounts to lose. I prefer typing on a keyboard over using thumbs on a phone, and like the more instant gratification of responses to questions from other users.

The thing is, I know my goal and I know how to break it down into smaller bits. I know there will be plateaus and slips as well as progress. I have a realistic idea of where I want to end up and how to celebrate the NSV’s (non-scale victories) along the way, things like behavior changes that become new habits or fitting into clothes another size or in a different store.

For me this is about getting healthier, and as of this morning I’ve lost 18 lbs; my BMI has already dropped 3 points. I got on a scale at the doctor yesterday and saw a number I haven’t seen since I retired. I’m happy with this program, how it’s working for me, and what I’m learning about myself and my habits.

Want to read a more detailed review of Noom? Check out this review in USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/01/09/noom-review/4422490002/

Facing Anorexia

Lean or Anorexic?

Tonight I watched a profoundly disturbing intervention on A&E with a stick-thin woman suffering from anorexia. She is 5’8″ tall, weighs 94 lbs, and eats 800 calories or less a day, and thinks her belly is distended when you can see her bones. They look so sharp and angular that you could use them to cut things.

She is a twin and seeing her on screen in contrast with her healthy sister was particularly hard to watch. It was so obvious to me and my friend watching with me (and 99% of other people) that someone so skeletal looked scary and unhealthy. It was really hard to watch her talk about how she doesn’t deserve to eat, how she has rituals around stretching out the food as long as possible. Her clothes were baggy but they still didn’t disguise her true body shape. Her hair looked awful and her eyes were haunted. Her family was afraid that she would die soon.

Part of me watched in appalled discomfort as she justified her not eating, her appearance, her self control, her right to do what she wanted with her body. Because I know I say some of the same things, only I’m challenged by my obesity, not my anorexia. I’ve had fears that my family would stage an intervention with me — we love you, we need you to live and be healthy, we need you to see that you are killing yourself with food.

I’m afraid that I would not deal with it well. However true it is, there is nothing I haven’t told myself. So instead of allowing myself to be carted off to a treatment center to eat bread and water and have counseling for 90 days, I would probably stuff my face and cry.

The show was sobering and left me with much to think about. I can still see her face.

Be It Resolved?

It’s All About Me

I know, I know – another post about resolutions? Well, yes and no. I don’t sit down and write out a list of things I resolve for the new year because I’ve done it so many times before and failed miserably at accomplishing any of them. And then, having failed, I managed to work myself into self-loathing and resentment that I needed to accomplish those resolutions in the first place.

Losing weight and working out more are naturally two of those failed resolutions. Been there, done that, more times than I care to count. So instead of resolving things this time, I’m looking at what I want my winning outcomes to be. Yeah, I know, WW talk. But for me, it works.

There are really two big things on my mind and heart as I go into 2008. To be healthier and to live with grace.

To be healthier is the stuff I already know about but am, for whatever reason, not doing. Living with grace includes not beating myself up for who I am and the choice I make, and also making better choices because they are the right ones. It means accepting failure without whining and success without gloating. Living with balance.

And yes, it means doing the things I know I should be doing to be healthy. To eat less and move more, without complaining or trying to find ways to cheat and be lazy.

I read on someone else’s blog today about looking back over the year, finding herself 60 lbs lighter than when the year started, and I was hit by a wave of sadness that I wasn’t the one to say that. Not jealousy, just sadness, because I haven’t done anything to deserve being 60 lbs lighter. I do have the power to do something and my fresh start begins tomorrow.

My mom came home from the hospital late today and starts the new year in her own house, much to everyone’s relief. She will have her little vacuum bag and pump with her 24/7 for the next 6-8 weeks but can get out and do things as she has energy to do them. Just being home is big medicine and I’ll see her for myself next week. Good for all of us.

I have my food planned out for tomorrow and activities lined up to keep me out of trouble. Though if I wake up to snow … ah, well. It’s winter and some things just come with the territory.

May your new year get off to a happy, healthy start.

Watching My Mother Eat

My parents are visiting and I’ve been paying particularly close attention to the way they handle their food. My dad has always been a little plump and has battled his weight ever since I can remember. My mom, on the other hand, is a tiny size 8, down from the size 10 she wore when she got married. Dad says that in the 56 years they’ve been married, she’s only varied about 4 pounds from her current weight except during pregnancy.

I, on the other hand, can vary 4 pounds in a week if I’m not careful. So I’ve been observing how she eats and approaches her food, not to judge or complain that we’re different, but almost as an anthropologist would study a different culture. It’s been interesting.

Balanced PlateShe eats a small breakfast with dairy (usually yogurt), fruit and natural fiber. Usually Mom makes her own bran muffins and has one with a little carton of yogurt. But at my house she’s having steelcut oatmeal with half a banana and a little milk, eating slowly from a small bowl that’s full and putting her spoon down between bites. I don’t know if she’s always done this but I can see that it’s a factor that lets her eat less and spread it out until she’s really satisfied.

Lunch is usually a half a sandwich on low-cal wheat bread and about 2 oz of protein, with a sliced apple and maybe a cookie for dessert. She eats slowly, the food nicely arranged on a small plate, while seated at the table. Unlike her daughter, she eats all her meals at the table with an occasional sandwich outside on the patio. I, on the other hand, eat mine in the recliner with my feet up.

For dinner, she mostly prepares simple meals balanced with unfussy protein, vegetables, and half a potato or sweet potato. And maybe there a small ramekin of low-fat ice cream for dessert, eaten with a small spoon.

That’s it. Simple food, small portions, served on smaller dishes and eaten slowly at a table with almost no snacking. Mom drinks water and her evening glasses of wine but no soda, goes for regular short walks, and gets plenty of sleep. When she eats out for one meal, she cuts back on what she has for the next so they balance out.

She doesn’t sit around and obsess or lament about the things she cannot eat; she can eat anything she wants but makes choices that let her enjoy flavors and foods in a sensible way. And she doesn’t act or talk as though she’s deprived, she simply does the next thing.

Mom does the things that we talk about in Weight Watchers and I’ve heard about for years in behavior modification programs. She doesn’t talk or complain, she just does it and moves on. I think there is a lot for me to learn and emulate here.