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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Losing woman's experiences

A few readers have asked me how I went about losing weight, so I've decided to write a post about it. First of all some 'history'...
When I was 18 I was a 'bonded student' of the Queensland Education Department, which meant that I had to have a medical with the government RMO. During that medical, it was noted that I had elevated blood pressure. In my 20s I was eventually put on medication after a battery of tests found no medical reason for the hypertension. So life went on over the years with occasional changes in the medication and increased doses if the doctors felt it was needed. But I was active and an acceptable weight for height until I hit 50...Suddenly I was packing on the weight...not really noticeable at first but by my mid fifties, very noticeable :-( I started eating much smaller helpings at main meals and walking but it wasn't really doing much. For the first time in my life, I had a GP telling me I was overweight.

Around this time I was sent to a cardiologist because for the 20 or so years since DD2 was born, I had had a racing heart. He organised lots of tests and thankfully no heart disease was found and no reason was found for the racing heart. I would see this doctor very 6 months and each time he would 'nag' me about losing weight. He would increase my doses of the medication every now and then and last year he added yet another 'family' of hypertensive drugs to my I took 3 different ones! My GP has always considered my sugar levels are fine but the cardio seems to be always concerned that I will become 'glucose intolerant' as well as having hypertension.

Twice now he has 'acted out a little pantomime' where he 'plays the part' of my pancreas when I eat something sweet, potatoes, white flour, rice or pasta...(did I mention that he's Malaysian and quite OTT with humour and chuckles) ...I got the message that the pancreas suffers terribly if I eat these high carb foods and then don't exercise for hours.

When I stopped work in December 2010 I started exercising in earnest but I didn't lose much weight...and that went on all last year...and into this year. Then in early May this year, with a cardio appointment coming up in the 3rd week of May, I realised that I had put on even more weight and then the penny dropped...duh! Why not finally follow Dr N's advice. (I had been exercising, eating less at main meals but still stuffing my face with cakes, slices, iced bun loafs and mars bars) So I went basically 'cold turkey' with sugar. I remember once reading that the actress Gloria Swanson described sugar as toxic...and I knew others said the same...but I thought that was rubbish. But I decided to avoid it nevertheless. lifeline! lol

It isn't and wasn't easy in the early days. I think I suffered from withdrawal symptoms for days where I craved something sweet like chocolate. Sometimes when I had the cravings, I would ride my exercise bike for 15 minutes and after that I wouldn't be craving for chocolate. Other times I would have 1/2 a banana as Dr N allowed all fruit, or a handful of almonds or 2 water crackers with cheese.

After a while the cravings went. Another thing that disappeared was my constant hunger...I didn't want to snack. I take healthy snacks to outings so I'm not tempted but I don't feel envious any more when people eat sweet treats in front of me. I have eaten small slices of 2 birthday cakes in that time since May but it can only be a little slice as sweetness seems to be a 'very strong flavour' now to me.

I also water my 3 veggie garden beds with a 9 litre watering can. That requires a lot of refilling at the tap and a lot of walking for about 30 minutes early in the morning

I try to do 30 minutes on the bike each day...

Riding with music sure helps the time go quickly!

The best thing though is that I've retrained my body to be able to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee without eating something sweet with it. It had become a bad habit and now I really savour the flavour of the coffee or tea just on its own.

This is the snack that I packed to take to Sisters of Stitch yesterday; love the strawberry season!
So I continued to do my 30 minutes per day (usually in 2 fifteen minute blocks) on the exercise bike and suddenly tops/blouses started to get a little loose; I was losing weight at last. The only thing I've done differently to last year is that I avoid sugar and limit rice and pasta meals.

And my BP readings are consistently lower and I'm hoping for some lessening of doses in the future. 


Sue Grier said...

Well done Maria, I to crave madly in the afternoon after work. I smoked for 30 years and gave up 4 years ago but piled on the weight. I have my first cardio appointment next Wednesday. Looks like I will be investing in a exercise bike as well.

Anonymous said...

well done Maria.xx

Helen in her garden said...

Hi, the title of your post caught my eye and I was delighted to see that it was about your efforts in giving up sugar. I, too am trying this, having bought a book called "Sweet Poison, why sugar makes us fat" by David Gillespie. He is a Sydney lawyer who writes that in the space of 150 years we have gone from eating no added sugar to more than a kilogram a week, and there has been a corresponding rise in many now common diseases. So good luck with it, I think it will be very worthwhile to persist with this. There are websites and blogs on the topic now, all reporting significant benefits. Best wishes, Helen.

Naturally Carol said...

I definitely think this is the way for me to go as well. Thank you for such an inspirational post.

Dorothy said...

I can relate to all of that Maria and I think you're marvelous to have been able to kick the sugar habit. Sometimes I wish chocolate had never been invented !! Keep doing what you're doing - its obviously doing you a lot of good.

Susan said...

Thank you very much for sharing your story Maria. You've had quite a battle with blood pressure etc from such an early age.
Since your post the other day, I've been purposely checking out the sugar content of anything processed before I eat it. Now, reading how you achieved your weight loss, I am more determined to stick with avoiding sugar.
I read with interest what you do when the cravings hit and while I don't have an exercise bike, I do have a treadmill which I enjoy using. Knowing that all fruit is allowed will definitely help too. I also enjoy bananas and strawberries!
Your use of the watering can which involves exercise as against standing with a hose makes so much sense too.
I really appreciate the inspiration you've provided Maria... thank you again as I was really starting to stack on the kilos through this Winter and kind of got stuck in a rut of bad eating habits. It's good to know those cravings lessen with time.
Cheers and I bet you get a big gold star from your Dr this next visit :D)

Maria said...

Thanks for sharing about your about your journey of weight lose... Well done Maria!!
Well done as it is hard to give up the sugar....

duchess_declutter said...

Good post Maria - food for thought for all of us I think. Certainly sugar is something we can easily go without, it's just there to tempt us I think! cheers Wendy

kaiteM said...

Well done Maria and thanks for all the tips. My addiction is for a little chocolate, not much mind you but a couple of times a day. With Summer coming i'm hoping i can wean myself off it.