My weight loss history has been, like many, all over the freaking place. Weight is a huge issue in autoimmune patients, so let’s talk about it for a minute.
Here’s the single most important thing you need to know, regardless of what any reality TV show tells you.
75% of weight loss happens at the TABLE, NOT at the gym.
Diets are designed to help you lose weight, not make you healthy, so yes…you will likely lose weight if you go on a diet. If you don’t stay on your diet, you WILL gain all the weight back. Simple. If you want to KEEP it off, you need to change your lifestyle…permanently.
Currently, I am thinner than I have ever been in my adult life. Truth be told I haven’t weighed this little since probably junior high/early high school. No joke. When I started the autoimmune protocol (AIP) my weight plummeted, and I actually got down to 125 lbs, which in my opinion is much too thin for a person my height, I’m 5’ 10”. I’m at about 135 now and could stand to gain another 10lbs in order to look at bit healthier, so yeah…I’m trying to gain weight. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth.
I don’t know anyone who has gone on the AIP and not lost weight. Does that mean they don’t exist? No. I’m sure they are out there I just haven’t met them yet.
My late 20’s to mid 30’s were what I called, “the food years.” It is when I started upping my game professionally and working in more catering/restaurant environments as a cook. It was before the TV Food Network took to the airwaves and spare time with friends and co-workers was spent consuming large amounts of alcohol, talking about food, cooking it and then eating it. ALL of it. I surrounded myself with foodies and every day was like Thanksgiving.
Packing a cooler for the beach was laughable. Charcuterie, cheeses, pasta salads, smoked fish, wine, beer, cocktails….ridiculous. I inhaled food and alcohol with no concern whatsoever about what I was putting in my mouth. I ate A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G I felt like eating with little to no concern about how it might affect me.
During my life I have had my own barometer for not getting “too” overweight. Up until my early 30s my weight had fluctuated a maximum of 20 or so pounds and I usually fit into a size 12, sometimes I got up to a 14. I vowed NEVER to buy anything over a size 14. I have SQUEEZED myself into a 14, but stuck to my commitment to never buy a larger size. Those stretch pants from the 90s probably would have been a 16 if I was buying regular old straight cut pants
Here’s what the bottom line was for me. When I got to the tipping point, I started dieting. I would lose 10-15 pounds and stabilize for a bit then over the course of months, climb again. It was up and down for years, by a handful of pounds usually tied to the season; less weight in summer and more in winter.
My first major adult weight loss came in the mid-90s when I owned my restaurant and was diagnosed with candida. What a freaking nightmare that was. I actually lost 40 pound because I had to restrict all carbs, sugar and alcohol. People started asking me if I was sick, like cancer sick. At that time I weight about 10 pounds more than I do now. I went from 185 to 145 in 4 months.
At the time I had no idea that the candida diet would be my intro to AIP.
I stopped looking at the scale when I got to 185 pounds. I know I gained a few more than that, but not many before I started making some changes.
So not to bore you with a LONG story, let’s just look what happened after I left New Orleans in 2007. At that time I was about 190-195 lbs (above photo).
- I went on a raw food diet/cleanse and dropped 20 pounds within 6 weeks. I was able to hover close to that for about 6 months.
- I left the United States on my 2 year solo backpack adventure through Mexico and Central America and got a ton of exercise schlepping my life around on my back. I reduced my alcohol consumption greatly but developed what I liked to call my “rice and beans ring” from changing my diet to the staples offered where I was traveling. I was eating most meals in restaurants and bakeries and almost never had salad because I didn’t trust that the veggies were washed appropriately. Hence, carb overload and subsequent weight gain. I’m back up 20 pounds.
- Returning to the U.S. and to smoothies, salads and some healthier living and viola’ 15- 20 pounds drops quickly. At this point I am at about 165 pounds. This is when I start really changing my overall lifestyle and am in the very early stages of planning my current biz. It’s late 2008 early 2009 (7 years ago).
- I am prescribed a thyroid med called armour thyroid in Spring of 2010. Researching it before I start taking it I realize that there are actually some doctors (crazy ass nut bag doctors) that prescribe this drug as a weight loss for women. I’m told I need it to stabilize my thyroid because it is sluggish (usually making it difficult to LOSE weight). I believe this doctor and start taking it. I lose 10 pounds during my first three months of use.
- I pretty much maintain at about 155-160 for several years. But I am traveling a lot and finding it difficult to stick to the diet I know is best for me. I gain a few pounds but then when I decide to try getting off gluten to see how that works for MY system, I lose what I gain and stay at about 150 for an extended stretch. I’m also off of alcohol for good and it seems like 150 is my rock star weight.
I finally find a doctor I trust to help me with my Hashimotos and he puts me on a very strict food regimen to CURE my problem, not manage it with drugs, and I lose 30 lbs!!!! The autoimmune protocol (AIP) has made it difficult for me to keep a healthy weight. I am horrified by how I look. One day I call him because I need help staying within the confines of my dietary restrictions but need to know how to gain weight. I get way too skinny and I don’t think I look healthy.
So what’s the point of all of this? At my absolute worst emotionally and physically in those post Katrina days, I weighed in at 190+ pounds. In addition to being over weight, this was the straw the broke the camel’s back for me health wise. This was the crescendo of my health problems and there will be an entirely different post talking about my post-Katria health issues that kicked this business into overdrive.
I am now 60 pounds less than I was at my fattest (and unhealthiest) Katrina weight. That’s a LOT of weight, 60 pounds. Getting down to where I am and STABILIZING my weight has been a process. It has involved major lifestyle change that has not only created massive weight loss, but also improved my overall health. You can’t exercise your weight off. You MUST change what you eat in order to lose and MAINTAIN weight loss. It’s called LIFESTYLE change.
All of us autoimmune patients need to change our lifestyle in order to have success.
It takes work.
Emotional work, physical work (shopping and having food prepared) and time to do it all.
It will NOT happen overnight and STAY off unless you are willing to maintain the lifestyle necessary to keep it off.
But Here is the GREAT News
I feel physically STRONGER than I ever have in my entire life. At 54 my energy level is through the freaking roof. I don’t feel as if there is anything I can’t do. I am USING my body in ways that I never dreamed possible at my age. Because I was willing to do the work, all of the work, I’m physically and emotionally stronger than ever before.
Many of my autoimmune symptoms have drastically reduced or completely disappeared. Aches, pains, severe depression, tightness in my throat, brain fog….reducing inflammation via diet is the key to knocking some of our symptoms back.
Here is how my activity and lifestyle changes have played out for me.
Build on your successes, one small step after another.
Let go of overwhelm.
Nip and tuck and you too will get where you are going.
What you eat matters. The autoimmune protocol is a game changer for most of us.
Please, stop beating yourself up for not living full tilt.
All your small successes will add up to bigger ones. ALWAYS. Do not think they are insignificant.All your small successes will add up to bigger ones. ALWAYS. Do not think they are insignificant. Click To Tweet
Pat yourself on the back for what you are doing rather than focusing on what you are not doing.
And remember, please share this information with anyone you think might benefit from it.