Weight Loss, Diets, and the SAHM

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Dearest readers…that above is my newest before and after picture. I take them from time to time so that I am confronted with the actuality of my progress. I share them on my Instagram account, and on my personal Facebook profile (linked to both, in case you want to be my friend, lol).

My friends have been so instrumental in motivating me to keep moving forward, and I have gotten many comments such as “How do you do it?”, and “You’ve gotta let me know your secret!”. So while I did type up a “Battle of the Bulge” post, I will attempt to go a little more in-depth for everyone.

I have made it known very well that in October, I was diagnosed with ADHD and placed on Adderall. I have also been very open about the fact that prior to my diagnosis, I was a comfort eater, my diet sucked, and my body was continually in starvation mode because I did not put enough into it. What did go in was full of fat, sugar, and empty calories. In response, my starving body took a look at what I was putting in it and said “Nope, can’t use it, put it on her thighs/belly/butt/arms”. Hence, yes, I may have only been taking in 700 calories a day, but my body couldn’t actually *use* any of it. Or rather, it took the fat and sugar it needed, and deposited the rest around my body.

When I was diagnosed with ADHD, I pretty much told the doctor that I thought he was full of crap. I wasn’t hyperactive, I was exhausted. “Well, yes, Merry, your body is exhausted, but what about your brain?” “Oh, my brain? It never shuts up. I can’t keep up. It overwhelms me. A lot.”

“Merry,” he says “just try the Adderall. If it doesn’t work, we take you off it and that’s that. What have you got to lose?” It made sense. So I agreed to try Adderall. “I just want to let you know, Merry, Adderall will decrease your appetite.” Oh…darn…*eyeroll*. So I go on the Adderall and immediately I notice a difference in the symptoms that had earmarked me as having ADHD. I’ve written about my ADHD here and here.

So. I was a compulsive eater. I ate if I was sad. I ate if I was happy, hungry, depressed, angry…you get the point. But I didn’t shovel food in my mouth 24/7. My feelings had to be particularly strong. I would get a craving, and I’d have to eat whatever I was craving, or I wouldn’t feel satisfied. The Adderall didn’t just decrease my appetite. It killed it. I didn’t want to eat, but I didn’t want to not eat, either. I had an…ambivalence, an apathy towards food. I didn’t care. But on the third day after starting the Adderall, I realized that I could no longer rely on my body to tell me “Hey, I’m hungry here!”. So I made a conscious choice to eat, and thought that while I was deciding to eat, I may as well decide to eat healthier. I began eating less junk. More protein. More fiber, less sugary stuff. More water and juice, less soda. More fruits and veggies. You get the idea.

About two-three weeks later, my appetite came back…kind of. But by then, I was used to eating healthier. I was used to making what little food I put in my mouth actually count, nutritionally. I still have a hard time giving up soda, but I have drastically decreased my intake.

I am a pretty sedentary person. Being a SAHM, the only real exercise I get is cleaning, laundry, chasing kids around, etc. Over the winter, not much of that changed. But as the weather has grown warmer, I try to walk to SchoolGirl’s bus stop more often. I plan to be taking more walks, and in an utter surprising moment, the Wench-in-Law is transferring her gym membership (that she never uses) to me. So I’m really excited to get shaping and toning, and fit in some cardio.

I really can’t say this enough: If you eat foods that are good fuel, foods that are nutritious and not full of preservatives, chemicals, empty calories, etc…your body will thank you. It has been truly amazing to see how much just a few simple dietary changes will bring about on your body. I saw it on a Facebook page “If you *eat* healthy, you will *be* healthy”, and I completely agree. I’m not saying my diet is perfect. It’s far from perfect. I still don’t eat enough. But what I eat is nutritious (most of the time!), and my body uses it, and in the process of digesting it for that use, I burn calories. Even the tiny elevation of activity I have done has been wonderful for me.

I don’t advocate going on a fad diet and spending every waking hour at the gym. One, fad diets work, as long as you stay on them. You go off, and the weight comes back. So why not just train your mind to be happy with nutritious foods? You don’t need to starve yourself, and it doesn’t work either. Just be nutritionally conscious, start off with slight increases in activity level, and then maybe work your way up to going to the gym a few times a week. Don’t kill yourself trying to do it, your body won’t like that either.

Every diet has its advantages and drawbacks. Atkins wants you to cut carbs. Some are calorie-counting diets. Here’s the thing about calorie counting. A lot of calorie counting diets only go off how many calories you take in, and even if it’s not what the diet-inventor had in mind, it puts most people in a mindset of “Oh, I’m on a 1500 calorie a day diet. I can eat whatever I want as long as I don’t go over 1500 calories each day”. Wrong.

What do you think is better for you? 1500 calories of chips, candy, fast food, and soda, or 1500 calories between chicken breasts, salads, rice, water, juice, and fruits and vegetables? The person taking in 1500 calories of junk is still going to gain weight. The other person is going to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight. It’s not how many calories you put in your mouth…it’s how those calories are used by your body that counts.

I guess you could say I’m kind of anti-diet. Now, I don’t mean diets like raw diets, or paleo-eating, or clean eating. I mean crash diets that deprive your body of something that it needs (in moderation), like carbs. Yeah, seriously people, don’t completely cut out carbs. I mean, if you’re taking in way too many, then yes, cut back to what is within the nutritional guidelines, but if you adjust your intake of sodium, sugars, fats, carbs, etc, to what is within guidelines, you will lose weight (if your diet was like mine and just totally sucked before the change).

It hasn’t been easy. Contrary to what some people think, I didn’t just sit around eating deep-fried sticks of butter because hey, Adderall, man. I have put in my sweat. It’s especially hard during “Shark Week” (you ladies know what I mean). Nothing can defeat the chocolate and wine craving during that particular time.

I still eat junk every so often. Sometimes I don’t eat three meals a day. Sometimes I devour everything in sight. I do try to make sure that on “hungry days”, I just devour all the yogurt, all the veggies and fruits, etc. I don’t always succeed, but sometimes I do.

So, here are some links to a few healthier recipes I’ve made…I will try to make a dedicated recipe post soon.

Blue Agave Nectar (I use this in my tea instead of sugar, and I also use it in smoothies instead of simple syrup…not a recipe, just a review)
Horchata (A delicious drink made from rice…it’s not dairy free, but I’m sure you could sub a dairy replacement like soy, almond, or rice milk.)
Tilapia w/White Wine Lemon Sauce (use EVOO instead of butter…1/2 a tablespoon instead of a whole T.
Quinoa & Zucchini with Mushrooms (and sundried tomatoes! If you must use butter, try to sub EVOO for it. But it isn’t necessary)
Sauteed Zucchini with Sundried Tomatoes & Garlic (sub 1/2 T EVOO instead of butter)
Salmon with Sundried Tomatoes & Lemon Butter (It says butter, but the recipe calls for EVOO…it’s better for you anyways!)

Also:

DISCLAIMER: I do NOT advocate the usage of any medication for weight control. I am on my medication for a diagnosed condition and some of the side effects are not worth the risk to simply lose weight. Besides, the average weight loss amount on Adderall for people who made no changes to diet or activity level are right around 5-10 pounds. I was diagnosed with ADHD, was put on the medication, and decided that I would take advantage of one of the side effects and overhaul my diet. Talk with your doctor before starting any weight loss plan/exercise routine. I’m not liable for anything…just a normal person sharing an experience. 

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One response to “Weight Loss, Diets, and the SAHM

  1. Yet another very good share! May I share an effective suggestion for weight loss: Running on the beach gives you a great workout. Pavement and grass are easy to run on because they don’t offer resistance, while sand will really test your limits.

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