A Healthy Adventure

The adventurousness in this post is partly in the act of posting it, and partly in me doing something different for myself. It’s a personal kind of thing to share, and I don’t usually do personal unless I know you really well. So, after considering a little, I decided what the hell, it comes with the territory… and so here it is for you to read!

This last winter, I discovered I’m deficient in Vitamin B12. I learned this when, after a few years of waistline creeping up and energy levels creeping down, and what with being A Woman of a Certain Age and all, my doctor did some bloodwork and found neither hide nor hair of anything resembling B12 in my system, so she had me begin monthly B12 shots. I give them myself, and am happy to report levels of energy I haven’t felt since my wild and crazy Thirties, and the added bonus of a few pounds disappearing into thin air. Since that glowing start, however, despite continued monthly shots and regular exercise and salad most days for dinner (which I’ve done for years, just because I love my exercise and my salad), the remaining pounds have stubbornly refused to exit the temple.

And so something has to change. Which I’ve apparently been avoiding due to some stubborn inner insistence that I must be doing everything right (I AM a nurse!) and it’s just some error with The System. Ha! Try picking that one apart. But once I actually stopped for a minute and stared all this in the face, I see that of course if I’m not getting the results I want, I need to do something different (darn logic). I guess if anyone could disagree with physics on principle, t’would be me! (Cue memories of my dad telling me I needed to be a lawyer when I grew up because I’d argue with a fencepost. Of course I’m not like that now. Well. I’m not. Just don’t ask my dad.)

I’ve decided that Changing Something is for some odd reason a little scary! Here’s why: If I’m going to have to think about all this change or put effort into it, then it will never last. Sure, I can change for the short-term, but isn’t this just what my body does naturally? If I’m going to have to try or think every time I put something in my mouth, then I’m doomed to fail. And THAT is scary. Because who wants to have to work that hard every moment of every day for the rest of their life, just to eat and live? Not me. This thinking, it seems, must be partly responsible for the existence of such a thing as the Menopausal 15… the Midlife Muffin… BUT guess what? It turns out it’s not really valid thinking after all.

If I really look, I see that of the two times in my life where I’ve lost a few pounds that needed to come off, neither was due to me making small, gradual, healthy changes which could be grown into new lifelong habits – they were both times of extreme emotional stress, when I had things going on that upset me to the point that I hardly ate for weeks on end, and then even when I did begin to mix in healthier habits to keep it going, I still wasn’t taking care of the whole picture in a way that was sustainable. And so, here I am. Fifty and… fluffy?

Enter Noom.

I honestly don’t even know where I heard of it or what gave me the idea to try it. But apparently some Nutritional Fairy Godmother steered me there because I signed up for it. Just over a week ago. What’s Noom, you might ask? It’s an app. You download it onto your phone, do some questionnaires and quizzes, and it tells you the plan. Mine told me I’d need two months to get where I want to be, and assigned me to a coach.

It seems I lucked into the ideal thing for me. It’s primarily a psychological tool, which I really feel I might need (see “The System” above). It’s also a learning tool, and a tracking tool. I have daily tasks and short articles to read.

I’m already seeing things I’ve been doing wrong. Not that they’re huge things necessarily, but things that, over time, equate to the dreaded Fluff. I just realized this morning while sipping on my coffee and reading one of the Noom articles, that while I’ve always considered it a good thing that I like to eat dinner early, if I’ve eaten so lightly that I haven’t had enough to fill me up at lunch and then also don’t have enough to fill me up at dinner, then in that big gap between dinner and bedtime I get hungry again. At this point, the She-Devil on my shoulder whispers “You’ve been soooo good all day, so here, munch on Cocktail Peanuts!!” She explains it’s not a BAD thing because I’m actually hungry, not just absentmindedly nibbling. Oh, and by the way, because this isn’t a true Meal, it doesn’t count. Whew! That’s a lot of places for a psychological tool to come in handy, for any of you who may have doubted my earlier sentiment.

Now, I don’t always do this, of course. There’s plenty of times when I do eat enough protein or eat dinner later or have an evening snack that’s light and healthy. I’m starting with a wonderful preference for fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and not much in the meat department. I like to exercise, and have a tiny little sled-dog that drags me down the street most mornings.

Tiny in real life

But Noom is helping me to organize and plan all this better, make better choices and see immediate results, inside and out.. It’s helping me to eat in a more balanced way throughout the day, including protein at all three meals, fill up on low calorie-density foods (another Noom thing), and include a snack or two that I budget into my day just like they’re regular food – because they are! It all counts. See? I’m not a lost cause.

I have goals, and a YBP (Your Big Picture) to keep me motivated and help me take the necessary steps to meet said goals. I don’t have to think or investigate or do math. Thank. Goodness. I just track the food I eat or plan to eat, and check the analysis telling me which category of food it is (red, yellow, or green, which are not bad/okay/ good, but instead different groups which you should have a balance of and a certain number of calories from) and where I’m short or over. It’s got me thinking ahead more about what I’m going to eat for the day, so I don’t find myself at the mercy of She-Devil and the Cocktail Peanuts. It’s especially helpful if I know I’m going to be going out with friends for dinner or drinks, because it lets me plan so I don’t have to turn down any of the fun.

Another big revelation is that I’ve apparently been putting myself on a back burner in some ways. I tend to not cook for myself much – just put together a Big Beautiful Salad or grab something quick and easy. Noom is helping me see that the act of feeding myself is good self-care, an idea I love but haven’t ever really considered. So I’m enjoying cooking for myself more. I have time in my life to do this, so why not? This week, I’ve made chicken fajitas, which are wonderful and so filling, and also veggie omelettes, and even chocolate pudding (yep, it fits). There’s my protein! I think that’s why I tend to not have enough protein in my life – because I don’t often enough stop to cook for myself. A happy solution, all around.

What about those “Oh no, I ate too much! Gobbled Cocktail Peanuts like they’re going out of style! Had a Lazy Slug of a day!”? Bad me? No, not bad me. Not even a negative, as it turns out. THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE. Sticking to tiny good habits over time, and not depriving myself or kicking myself after a less-than-stellar day, is what makes it all work. Slow and steady gets the job done. Little slip-ups are all just part of normal, healthy living and eating.

The best part about the whole thing? I’m actually having fun! Between the chuckle-worthy nerd-talk on the app and the interesting learning, it’s quite entertaining, which is one thing I never thought weight loss would be. I’m not having to make big changes. I eat (and drink) whatever I want. I shop at the grocery store like I always have. I don’t go hungry or unsatisfied.

So when it comes down to the scale, how’s it all working out so far, you might ask? Well, I’m down about four pounds. My cheekbones are peeking out and I can see my abdominal four-pack lurking just under the surface. I feel great, and believe it will work. I never doubted I could lose it, but I did have doubts about the long-term. Now, I don’t. Now, both She-Devil and Ms. Mary Frances (the angel, of course) have a shoulder to ride on for the long haul.