My motto all year has been: 30, flirty, and thriving. The past year has not been good to me: I gained a lot of weight and outgrew everything I owned and on top of all that, about a month before my 30th birthday, I took a fall and broke my elbow. But I’m bouncing back and now I’m healthier than ever. After a long and stressful 2015, the universe helped me get my fitness and health back in focus and it all started with an unexpected physical.
All I wanted was a refill on my prescription, but I couldn’t see my doctor just for that reason. I actually had to make an appointment for something, so I went with a standard lady exam. Only, when I checked in that morning in December, the assistant had me down for a full physical. That’s not what I wanted and I was terribly annoyed by this. A month later I saw my doctor for my physical results and she let me know that it was not good news: I have a non-alcoholic enlarged, fatty liver and my cholesterol is pretty high – almost to the point where I would need to control it with medication. The good news is that with a little diet and exercise adjustment, I can reverse that. Since that day, on January 27, 2016, Joey and I decided to start our journey to become healthier Hazletts.
My doctor suggested I start a calorie diary to help me monitor how many calories I was eating and her one suggestion for me was to stay away from carbs. I was excited to use my Ryan Gosling diary, but sadly this was not a task for it. Joey and I knew that we couldn’t do this alone. The first thing we did was download the My Fitness Pal app. It was easy to use: I put in my current weight, how much I wanted to lose per week and it calculated how many calories I should eat. I was given an allowance of 1460 calories. I decided one pound a week was a small goal that I could easily obtain. I had a little over five months to lose the weight. I told myself, I could just lose 20 pounds by July, that seems like a reasonable goal. I had a long way to go. At 5’4″ and 189 pounds, my BMI was considered obese.
On my very first day of working toward my goal of being a healthy Hazlett, I decided not to make any changes to my diet and see what a non-diet day would be like. I was surprised to see I ate a total of nearly 3000 calories. My day started with a latte from Starbucks, then a visit to the food court at the mall for lunch. I had a large soda and a BBQ chicken sandwich at Stone Oven and completed the night with a burger from In-n-Out. This wasn’t a regular day, since I usually take my lunch to work and occasionally I’ll have a latte, but I wanted the data of my fattest day to see what I needed to pare back on: turns out it was everything.
As you can see, I was rewarded with some calories back for my daily walks, however, that didn’t help me get close to my goal at all. I ate nearly double my allowed calories. Since this day, I’ve made some drastic changes to my diet. I replaced nearly all of my carbs and sides with vegetables, I usually have either a salad for lunch and a sautee for dinner. I am no longer eating pasta, potatoes, rice, or flour tortillas. Instead, I’m eating more zucchini, spaghetti squash, onions, bell peppers, asparagus, and mushrooms. It was a difficult change to make since I am a huge fan of all things carbs. Sometimes I really miss bagels and macaroni and cheese, but the switch from carbs to veggies has helped me maintain steady weight loss.
The problem with produce is that you can’t really stock up on it. I was making frequent stop at Vons, Albertsons, Trader Joe’s and Target to get everything that I needed at reasonable prices. Joey decided that we could probably save some trips to the store if we grow some of these vegetables ourselves, and we might even save some money. He built a raised garden in our small backyard in April and today our spaghetti squash and zucchini are ready to harvest, with at least one new squash a day. Our carrots are still growing and our late-blooming bell pepper plant just produced its first flower this weekend!
Along the way, the MFP app has sent me encouraging messages, cheering me on with my weight loss.
I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to lose any weight or what it would take for me to find the right balance of diet, so I set my goal low: 20 lbs. by July 1. When I lost 20, it was early April, so I updated my goal to 30 lbs. by July 1. I’ve lost 37 pounds so far. On July 1, I did the lab work required to test my blood for lipids and other things in preparation for my follow up appointment on July 13 — tomorrow! I’m not sure how much weight loss will be enough reverse my liver or how drastic my diet needs to change to lower my cholesterol, but I’m hopeful that I did enough to improve my health. Today I feel so much better than where I started nearly six months ago. I’m eating better and overall have a better attitude. One month in 30 and I am thriving.
Drink of Choice: La Croix Mango Sparkling Water