HEALTH: After years of being overweight and hating my “fat” I’m saying goodbye to my old self

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After being fat most of my life and slowly but steadily increasing, I woke up one day back in the fall of 2014 and decided enough was enough. I’ve posted about the journey here before, but it was such a huge lifestyle switch. It started with the basics; tracking calories and then getting into the routine of working out. I was too fat to really run but joined my local YMCA and started going every night. I lost the bulk of the weight between the fall of 2014 and early spring of 2015.

At that point, I had started to make friends through a Reddit fitness group and they encouraged me and held me accountable. One of them lived near me and we started doing races together and I caught the running bug. And now here we are. I’ve done 7 marathons, 1 ultra, and just qualified for the 2021 Boston Marathon.

The journey hasn’t always been smooth, but as you know, that’s how it goes. I wish someone told me at the beginning of this that weight loss is a choice EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And that never goes away. Even now, I track every day and make stupid choices like bike commuting in the Chicago winter as a way to maintain. Most of those in my life never knew me when I was fat and make snide comments about my body and lifestyle and I’m always quick to point out that I earned this.

Don’t lecture me about being a size 0, I have worked VERY hard to be here and I have every right to feel bad about how I look.

​Which brings me to why I’m posting this. I wish someone had told me at the start that I would not have a chance of looking like how I wanted without surgical intervention. Weight loss takes a toll on the body. Size 16 to a size 0. Not only is there extra skin, but my abdomen has stretched out. I have a pooch. A pooch of my sagging muscles that gets bigger the stronger my abs get. Yes, I know I look better, but I am deeply unhappy with how I look. Despite all the working out and calorie counting that I will always do, I have done all that I can. I still look in the mirror every day, or just look down at my abdomen, and see fat me starring back. I hate fat me. I’ve done so much to move on and evolve. Even those who knew me back then barely remember because I am such a different person. But I carry her still.

​I started to think about plastic surgery a few years ago, before I was at a “goal weight” and decided that if I could hold steady for at least a year, I would pursue. Well, it’s been over 2 years. So I started to go on consultations. It was a relief in many ways because they confirmed that I had done all I could have. The only way to get rid of the pooch was to repair the muscle and remove the extra skin. And that’s happening tomorrow.

Tomorrow we send off fat me. I am not her and I am elated to finally move on.

Intermittent Fasting: 5 Golden Rules

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting. Intermittent fasting can be used along with calorie restriction for weight loss

A 2014 review described that studies done in animal models have shown fasting improves indicators of health—blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation—likely through adaptive cellular responses to better handle stress. These findings suggest intermittent fasting has the potential to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases; however this has not been reproduced in long-term human studies. The review concluded that intermittent fasting has not been studied in children, the elderly, or the underweight, and could be harmful in this population.

They also suggest that those choosing to fast for periods of time greater than 24 hours should be monitored by a physician, as changes to the gastrointestinal system or circadian rhythm can occur.

Why Are Vitamins Good for Our Health

When it comes to obtaining the micronutrients your body needs, your best possible source is food, especially fruits and vegetables. But circumstances may prevent you from eating optimally every day. The main reason I take supplements is for insurance against gaps in my diet. Also, researchers are finding that some important vitamins (D and E particularly) and minerals are protective against disease in amounts that may be difficult to obtain through diet alone, no matter how conscientious you are. This is another reason I take supplements faithfully and encourage my patients to do so as well.

I recommend a comprehensive antioxidant and multivitamin for women and men as the basic foundation for nutritional insurance. My recommended daily antioxidant regimen includes 200 mg of vitamin C, 400 to 800 IU of natural vitamin E (or 80 mg of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), 200 mcg of selenium, 15,000 to 20,000 IU of mixed carotenoids, and 30 to 100 mg of coenzyme Q10.

Supplementation to cover dietary gaps is only one aspect of optimum health, which also includes the following lifestyle approaches:

Be active
For optimum health, I recommend walking every day.

Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
Vegetables and fruits are the best sources of antioxidants, although tea and dark chocolate contribute as well. Cold-water fish, freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts all provide omega-3 fatty acids.

Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable major illness. The best defense against the harmful effects of tobacco is to never use it.

De-stress
Practice breathing exercises and explore other relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to find ones that work for you.

Question and answer
Q. What is the optimum time of day to take vitamin and mineral supplements? Are there certain foods that interfere with absorption?

A. There are no rules about the best time of day to take supplements. My advice is to take them when they agree with you most. Many people find taking pills of any kind as part of a morning routine makes it easier to remember, so taking them with breakfast is a popular option. Vitamin and mineral supplements can cause nausea, heartburn, and other gastric disturbances, especially when taken on an empty stomach. For best absorption and the least irritation to the stomach, I generally suggest taking your supplements with a meal containing fat. This is particularly important for the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and E). Experiment with taking your supplements with lunch or dinner if they cause you problems with breakfast.