It’s frustrating. I feel like I’ve spent the last 4 years dedicating myself to eating healthy and exercising regularly and absolutely none of the work has paid off. Wait, let me rephrase that – none of the work is visible to other people. Internally, I always get a clean bill of health. My cholesterol and heart rate levels are perfectly normal and my antioxidant levels are through the roof due to all of the vegetables I consume. However, I still don’t have that “fit” body you’d expect of someone who is as healthy and active as I am. It’s a little painful to see my friends and coworkers chow down on pizza, burritos, and candy bars all day while I’m eating my baked egg inside of a mushroom (in all fairness, this is a DELICIOUS meal and it makes me pretty content). I mentioned awhile ago that I was joining a gym. I’ve been attending fitness classes ranging from cardio to strength to yoga 4-5x per week, most days for 2 hours at a time. It is a great stress release and I’m positive I would continue doing it even if I was perfectly content with my weight. Most of the ladies who go are extremely fit already! However, after a little over a month I was barely seeing progress. I know these things take time, but from my level of dedication, I had expected the scale to move at least a little! That’s when I decided to start researching dietitians and take this journey to the next level.
I am still on my parents healthcare plan, so I started by searching for dietitians that would be covered by our plan. I found one with a fairly immediate availability located in downtown Portland. Our first meeting lasted about 45 minutes and was so beneficial. After I told her the obligatory background health information and my current eating habits, she said that I was one of the healthiest eaters for someone my age that she’s ever seen! I had always read that you were supposed to eat every 2-4 hours to keep your metabolism up, so I would always bring almonds to work with me to snack on. Over the course of a day, I would probably eat about 3-4 handfuls. I know this is a lot, but I figured it was healthier than a lot of the other snack food alternatives out there. She said that almonds (and my love for almond butter) is probably the source of why I was struggling to lose. She estimated that I was eating an extra 400-500 calories JUST of almonds per day! Whoa! She also debunked the 2-4 hour myth and said that it is all about calories in/calories out.
We worked together to create a weekly meal plan influenced by my likes and dislikes. She actually tried to get me to make tuna salad with MAYO – I diligently refused. I’m sure my dad would love to hear his doctor try to persuade him to eat more mayo, but I just can’t handle the stuff. The meal plan isn’t too different from what I had previously been eating. Just a lot less snacking. I admittedly have a problem with snacking during my downtime (which isn’t often!) during the evenings. I’m trying to drink more tea in place of it and keep my hands busy with some Play-Doh my roommate bought me when I was job hunting!
There are 3 days left until the weekly mark and I’ve maintained my weight, but I have noticed that I’m not as hungry as I thought I would be. Hopefully over the next month, I’ll see improvements and learn more little tips and tricks to correct my media-washed way of thinking about diet and exercise. The best news she gave me? Exercise should be about strength and stress release, not weight loss. Food is where you should focus your efforts if you want to lose weight. She also told me that my estimated “goal weight” (which I thought was extremely modest and reasonable!) was ridiculous and I would look like I “was just liberated from Auschwitz.” Sure, she has a dark sense of humor for a sassy old Jewish lady, but it is certainly memorable!