Sunday, March 22, 2015

State of the state, turning 49 and feeling 29 - I choose this! Soap box rant included

Tide Pool selfie, La Jolla Shores, 2015
When I set out to lose weight, I never dreamed I would feel younger as I aged. Ever see the movie, Benjamin Button ?(Brad Pitt!) It's like aging in reverse.

Here's my state of the state at age 49

 I turn 49 this month. No, it's not all rainbow-kitty-unicorns that have wings (it's particularly hard to watch friends and family members, classmates have diseases and die.)

But, I'm better off over all. I've been self efficient at reducing my own risks.

 Have you read Dr. Berkeley's post about menopause and aging?    I'd recommend reading that post and her suggestions.

The first thing I did after I lost 70 pounds was go through menopause. In a way, it forced me into an eating/exercise/sleep plan that was very clear and purposeful for the next few years.

Quick, get out the soap box!
If you are setting up sustainability in your life template, don't forget to change when your body does.  Weight loss does not = weight maintenance. Ever. You'll have to change it up. Your age will change, your body will change.  Change, then sustain that! Until your body/life changes. Again. Because it will. So can't get too comfy.  Because that's life. Don't think that change management is not a part of it. Getting over not being 30 anymore is part of it. But it doesn't have to mean a sedentary, static life style.

Become a boss of your own life.Of your own change management. Less talk, more n=1, experiments, exploration. If I had chosen an old food template from my 30's, well, I would have regained my weight.

Yes, some things are genetic, or the result of things I did when I was the low fat, moderate all foods schemes.  I can't ignore having had an auto-immune disease or being a binge eater in recovery. But, I can make choices every day that have me feeling young.

I choose this!

What's working now:

1. Eating from a low inflammatory, lower carb (40-50 grams/day) higher natural fat Paleo-ish food template

2. Getting support for being in recovery for binge eating/food addiction

 3. Continued strength training (2x per week)and walking 5-6 miles per day, for bone health, stress, and  weight management

4. Using food and some supplementation to take care of things like my skin, headaches,  lid on binge eating.

5.  Using stress techniques and change management to sleep well. Including practicing my photography.

6.  Being mindful and being proactive at managing my prior chronic illnesses while being active about my normal age changes. So, so much is within my control. So much. Thoughts, food, actions, habits, beliefs. I'm as old as I think I am.

What  life was like back then: 
  My weight in my early 30's combined with my thyroid disease (Hashimotos in 1997) had me feeling like I was age 80.

  • My joint ached
  •  I was obese
  • I fell down a lot while walking
  • I had dry weird hair
An MD close to me told me "Karen, once you get your thyroid meds worked out and lose weight, you will feel younger in your 80's an 90's than you are feeling in your 30's with high TSH and the extra weight".  He was right.

My weight combined with of the binge eating. 2009 to early 2011.

  • My joints ached
  • I binged to numb out
  • I stopped doing the things I loved to do like photography and hiking.
  • I felt miserable on an hourly basis doing common things like driving, sitting, walking
  • I took 300-500 ibuprofen a year to deal with aches, pains, migraines
  • I bought a book "Diabetes for Dummies" because I was resolving to live well with what could have become pre-diabetes/diabetes. I was getting ready to "settle" with another chronic disease.

Dang. Some of it I did to myself. Eating cookies and cupcakes was just not sustainable. My cure is your disease. Not sorry.  Some of it was genetics combined with my moderation mentality. Grains, Dairy, Sugars. Life is a whole lot better now. Now that I got the heck out of my own way.

Here's do knowing what we can change, knowing what we can't change and the courage to change management as we age.

Oh, yeah, the cool critters came out to play on my walk. Dolphins, an osprey, cool tide pool creatures. Weird beach historic structures. rainbow-kitty- unicorns that have wings

My birthday celebration walk was as expected.  Eh, putting away the soap box for a little while...

La Jolla Shores, 2015

View under Scripps Pier,

Cool barnacle life under Scripps Peir

Always funny to see this structure on the beach.

Gliders, Scripps Pier, seagull and beach goers. Torrey Pines golf course in the upper left
The cats consider the possibility of  rainbow-kitty-unicorns that have wings. Not buying it for one second ,Tortitude


  1. Great pictures, Karen! You are a model of what to do in menopause and your determination to maintain during this time is inspirational to me. I worry about gaining weight in menopause and having to eat like a bird--and I like how you do not have to do that because you feed your body nutritious healthy food and not junk or crap. You are not subsisting on 1200 calories, which I admire! Do you walk every day? Or do you ever take a rest day?

    1. Thanks, Ali. It isn't always easy to figure out what to do next, but even small changes like getting the dried fruit out of my diet in weight maintenance has had a large effect on my day to day life.

      So no bird like eating. I eat until I'm full. That's why I started my IG account. I eat fairly decent sized meals. Although it took a ton of work to feel full vs hungry signals. A post coming soon about my particular genetics, but I do think that a combo of the Paleo style template and my current hormone system really help. I do have certain foods that override that system. Thought processes, too.

      One interesting thing is that when I intermittent fast, I cannot eat above the 1200 calorie range. And, I'm not that hungry. Future post coming about that, too. I IF on weekends occasionally. With good outcomes.

      I'm smaller than most middle school kids at 5'1", so when I don't IF, I eat somewhere between the high 1,300 to the high 1,600. Everyone cries 'that's not enough" I say BS!!! Be in a middle school body, with a desk job, 2. 5 hour daily commute, be in menopause and have two copies of the FTO (aka fat gene) with many SNPs on that gene. Far more important in menopause are carbs. I won't sleep very well above 50 grams a day. I feel so much better when I sleep.

      Yes, many will get their undies in a bunch about all that I just typed. I don't really care. Most importantly, I'm sleeping well. Plus, I feel full. If I'm hungry, I'll eat. Should I eat more when I'm full to the gills and cannot think of eating just because some internet randoms say I need to eat 1,800 2000 or more calories? No way. I take the Mark Sisson approach- eat to maintain muscle mass, good Primal blue print laws. Don't pack back the calories beyond that (carb back loading, etc).

      Walking- yes, I walk every day. Some days I just walk a minimum of 10, 000 steps. I average 13,00 or 14,000. I try to get 5-6 miles in a day. That seems to work well for me. If I didn't use a fit bit I would BS myself into thinkining I was burning tons of calories at 5,000 steps a day. I know because I was doing that at 70 pounds overweight. Sigh! better late than never. :)

      No rest days, unless I'm sick.

    2. Thank you so much for your detailed response, Karen. I really appreciate it! You may not eat a lot of calories, but you are not goofy about your food like some other people I have seen. Your meals are generous, and they look filling. I am short like you at 5'1", and I know I can't eat the amount others do. I do intermittent fast, too. through breakfast though I don't know what my calories are like on those days. I do the arc trainer about four times a week for 40-45 minutes, and I lift for at least two hours total a week. I used to do way more exercise, but I have adjusted my food, and I am happier eating less and exercising less.

      I do need more than 50 carbs a day. I have tried to steadily reduce my carbs, and I don't eat more than 100 grams, but I would like to decrease them. I am now finding that I feel better when I eat protein, veggies, and fat for most of my meals rather than starchy carbs. This past weekend I went about nine hours between lunch and dinner due to cir circumstances beyond my control, and I found myself noshing on too many carbs for dinner. I wasn't full, and I felt, "Blech!" So I am learning what works best with my body. I don't know how people take care of themselves if they can't eat regular meals. And I also mentioned sleep is so key for me. When I am tired, my food choices are not wise.

      I am really looking forward to your future posts. And I look at your IG account all the time!!! I love it!

  2. Just came across your blog , you are a true inspiration!

  3. Happy Birthday!!! You have made a tremendous success out of yourself. You're stronger, happier, and more confident for it!!! I have another blogger friend with similar thyroid problems, and I will recommend your blog to her. :-)

    1. Thank you for sharing, Marion. If I did what regular medicine told me, I would have been on 5-8 meds by now, thinking that between the post auto-immune disease, post 40 years of on and off obesity- that I would be doing the best I could do and all the aches and pains were a normal part of aging.

  4. Happy Birthday, Karen! Yes, our lifestyle can make a huge difference as to how we feel. I definitely felt A LOT older in my 30s than I do today.

    I'm off reading Dr. Berkeley's post about menopause!

  5. Have a brilliant birthday .......

    All the best Jan

  6. 'view under scripps ' pier' makes me think of ancient things as well as an alternate future thing. Lots of ideas come forth. I may sace it and blow it up. very meditative

    1. PJ, Yeah! If you can't get the right file size form the save, hit me up and I'll send you a full sized digital file. :)

      It's a very interesting place, waves coming in, different colors in the water, different critters around the pylons, and people interacting with the structure in different ways. There are all kinds of research-y stuff on top of the pier, too, since it's a working area for the Oceanography institute.