Week 1 lessons –

This has been an interesting week.  For the most part, I’ve done really well food wise.  As I mentioned before, I’ve decided to stop having cow’s milk and wheat wherever possible.  That has been surprisingly easy.  I’ve replaced tasty cheese (for the non-Australians amongst us, tasty cheese is like cheddar) with goat’s milk feta and drastically cut down on the amount I eat.  I switched out normal bread for gluten-free mixed grain bread which is surprisingly delicious.  I’ve also added loads of vegetables to my diet.  I know it sounds absolutely feral, but I used to go literally a week or two without having a single vegetable.  (How gross is that?!)  Now I’m eating them every day.

After doing this for most of the week, I did slip up twice and have things I shouldn’t have.  One night, I went to Maccas (McDonalds for the non-Aussies) one night.  I used to love that shit, but honestly I was less than impressed with it.  Sure, it tasted okay but I wasn’t doing my happy food sway when I ate it.  On Friday night, I ended up caving into my kryptonite: Pizza.

This is where it gets interesting.  From the first bite, I was like, “Ehh…so what?”  It was just your average local pizza shop pie – nothing spesh whatsoever.  Usually I would be in full happy food mode with that.  This time, I ate it simply because I had committed to it for dinner and I ate half as much as I usually would.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  That’s right, folks: Just one week of avoiding cow’s milk dairy and adding greens broke my bad pizza cravings.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still LOVE pizza!  But now, if I’m going to do it I’m going to do it right.

Some observations this week:

  1. When I caved and ate cow’s milk cheese and wheat-based bread, it felt like someone had beaten me with a frying pan.  I was SO physically exhausted most of the next day, and my lower back was screaming at me even after just a short walk.
  2. This is going to sound gross (and I apologise for that), but I’ve noticed that the general taste in my mouth has changed.  It’s hard to describe, but I’ve noticed it.
  3. I don’t know if this is a side-effect of Point 2 or what, but I’ve also noticed that my cravings have curbed way back.  I’m generally only hungry at normal meal times now, and I’m eating a fair bit less than I usually would.  This is (you should excuse the pun) huge for me.

As of this morning, I’m down 1.1kg (2.42lb).  On Friday morning, I was down 2.1kg but I made some bad choices since then (the pizza and I had some hot chips last night – so bad!) messed it up again.  Still, I’m really impressed with how much simply changing my diet has helped me.  I’m going to start adding exercise into the mix this week.

Hubby and I just got back from our weekly grocery run, and I’m pretty proud of how it went.  Usually five minutes into it, my back would be screaming at me.  Not today!  It didn’t start getting sore until we were at the car ready to leave.  I’m also REALLY proud of the food choices I made.  Hubby caved in and got himself a few bad things, but I did exceptionally well.  I got enough bananas and frozen fruits to make a month’s worth of breakfast smoothie packs.  Out of sheer curiosity, I worked out how much it costs me to do a month’s worth of breakfast smoothies when I got home tonight.  The grand total: $3.50 per smoothie.  Not at all bad!

There’s a bit more going on with me than the health stuff, but I’ll form my thoughts around that and post at some stage.  For now, it’s time to cook a nice dinner for my man.

Navigating diet changes –

It’s funny the lengths people will sometimes go to in order to enjoy something they love.  I will be the first to admit that cheese is my kryptonite.  I fucking love it!  You say the words, “Let’s visit the cheese counter,” and you’re my friend for life.

Problem is, cow’s milk is bad for my body.  My mom revealed to me years ago that I was allergic to cow’s milk when I was a baby.  When I grew older, I drank loads of milk because clearly I started being able to tolerate it.  It didn’t much matter back then because with the dancing, I metabolised anything I put into my body.  It’s only has I have grown older that it has become more of an issue.  But despite knowing that I have a problem with it, I’ve ignored it for years simply because I love cheese and milk so much.  I’ve let myself suffer over and over again for a momentary pleasure.  How stupid is that!

This past week, I decided to avoid having cow’s milk products wherever possible.  For cheese, I selected goat’s milk feta which I’ve been eating in moderation.  For milk, I’ve started using almond or soy milk.  It’s amazing what switching to alternatives for a short amount of time will tell you about how your body responds to things.

What have I discovered happens when I eat cow’s milk?  First of all, my skin looks like crap.  I’ve always had issues with my skin, but I’ve noticed that it’s already clearing up since giving up cow’s milk.  The oil pockets that are in there now are starting to come out which is temporarily making my skin look worse, but they haven’t come back yet once they’ve gone.  The colour of my skin has also improved, particularly under my eyes which are usually rather dark.

The second thing I noticed is how much less sore I feel without cow’s milk.  I’ve known about this one for a while because if I eat something with a lot of it such as pizza, it feels like someone has beaten me with a frying pan.  Even just walking makes my lower back hurt like you wouldn’t believe!  I’m still experiencing some pain because of how out of shape I am, but I don’t hurt nearly as much since I gave up the cow’s milk.

The third thing is that I have more energy.  I don’t feel like I need a nap or to veg out in front of the TV after I’ve eaten when I avoid cow’s milk.  I’m not saying that I feel like I could run a marathon, but I don’t feel like asking my hubby to do the grocery shopping by himself anymore.  It sounds so simple, but that’s a pretty big step for me!

Needless to say, I’m on the right path.  I did make the mistake of having a slice of pizza and some cow’s milk cheese at dinner last night and started paying for it as early as an hour after eating it.  I’m still feeling it, but luckily not that much since I didn’t have a lot of it.  That was definitely a wake-up call, though!

Switching cheeses was easy for me since I love goat’s milk cheese so much.  (Not having as much cheese is going to be the hard part!)  The big question for me with this transition has been what type of milk to use.  I’ve previously tried rice milk and absolutely hated it, so I tried both almond and soy milk this week.  Almond milk has been fantastic in everything, particularly smoothies, oatmeal and coffee.  The soy milk hasn’t been bad (except in coffee – ugh!) but it’s not as flavourful.  I’m thinking almond milk might be the winner for me.  Looking at the two purely from a health standpoint, 1.5 cups almond milk has a couple more grams of sugar and less calcium than soy milk, but it has more protein, less fat / saturated fat and half the calories.  Clear winner as far as I’m concerned.

On that note, I’ll finish this post with my new favourite recipe: Breakfast smoothies!  I’m not a huge fan of a full breakfast unless it’s a brunch situation, as I grew up rarely eating breakfast.  Nowadays, I feel better if I keep it light.  I dusted off my poor, neglected Nutribullet this week and got back into smoothies with a dairy-free twist and am loving it!  This is my basic breakfast smoothie recipe:

  • 1.5 cups Vitasoy Almond Milk Original (113 calories, 6.8g fat, 0.8g saturated fat)
  • 3 tablespoons Nudie Natural Coconut Yoghurt (71 calories, 6.7g fat, 6.3g saturated fat)
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana, frozen (68 calories, 0.1g fat, 0g saturated fat)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (20 calories, 0.2g fat, 0g saturated fat)
  • 1 packet Uncle Toby’s Oats Quick Sachets, Original (130 calories, 3.1g fat, 0.6g saturated fat
  • 5 ice cubes

Total Calories: 402
Total Fat: 16.9g
Total Saturated Fat: 7.7g

To ensure consistency day to day, the only part of the recipe I would recommend changing is the berries.  Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all fantastic, but I’ve also used apple with a bit of cinnamon as well and it’s equally lovely albeit a slightly different texture.  You could even add another 1/2 cup of banana and perhaps a bit of honey or vanilla if you just wanted to keep it simple.  I split up the fruits I use for these into single servings in my freezer, so it takes me about 2 minutes to whizz it up in the Nutribullet and walk out the door.  Then I drink it slowly on the train ride to work.

Until next time!  ❤

The swan song of an unhealthy lifestyle –

This is an incredibly difficult thing for me to do.  To me, this post is more than just an introduction to my situation – it’s a glimpse into previous failures.  It’s acknowledging all of those times I said, “I’m going to make a change!” and never really did.  I guess that’s healthy though, right?  Isn’t admitting you have a problem the first step in pretty much any support group?

Okay, so here goes: I have a problem with my health.  I could easily start this by saying that I’ve struggled with weight my entire life, but that would be a lie.  I was a classical ballet dancer for 12 years of my adolescence.  While I was never skinny by any stretch of the imagination – a size 12/14 at my healthiest adult size – I was certainly not overweight.

What I have struggled with my entire life is confidence, and that is what eventually bit me in the ass.  As I grew older, I slowly started to let my self-doubt creep into everything I did.  I listened to people that I should have ignored.  People like my ballet teacher, who refused to let me bump up to the advanced class simply because of my size.  “You’re too big to be a real ballerina!” she would say.  So after several years of waiting and trying my hardest – of skipping my classes just so I could make them up in the advanced class and dancing circles around most of the girls in there – I quit.  I listened when I should have told her to go to hell.

Then the weight really did start piling on.  It was a slow trickle at first, but definitely enough to notice.  Suddenly, I was the ‘fat one’ and I hated every pound of myself.  I listened to the stupid high school boys that poked fun at me for my weight.  I always thought I was the most hideous, fat, disgusting blob of a person in the entire world.

I couldn’t see myself.  Long story short, I steadily gained weight from graduation onto today.  Now that I’m 34 years old and have more life experience under my belt, I realise that there’s more to a person than their looks.  I also realise how wrong I was.  My mother has my senior picture on her desk, and it breaks my heart to look at it.  Back then, my size was nowhere near what I always saw in the mirror.

Now, it is.  I don’t think I’m the grossest person in the world anymore – not by a long shot.  But size wise, I am exactly what I always feared becoming.

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I need to make a change, and I need to really mean it this time.  There are so many reasons why, but the overarching reason is to save my life.  I am at a real risk of dying if I don’t get my shit together.  But the other reason is that I want to be a mum.  I haven’t ovulated in years – YEARS – because I’ve been acting like nothing’s wrong.  If I don’t change my life, I don’t have a prayer of having a child.

I’ll go more into my plans in a future post, but here’s my jumping off point (of sorts).  Consider this the swan song of an unhealthy lifestyle whose departure is long overdue.  Today I commenced a new way of life, and I’m doing to do my damnedest to make it a great one.

Who am I, anyway?

Writing the first post in a blog is, quite literally, the worst.  Even if you have a set blog theme or you’re writing for a specific business, the very first one is most likely going to suck.  I mean, what exactly do you write about?  Do you channel your AOL days and restrict it to an “A/S/L” style introduction, or do you go straight into developing content without context?  And even if you do choose to set the scene with a proper introduction, you tend to think to yourself as you’re writing, “Am I giving enough information so that they’ll understand my future posts?”  This vicious internal monologue inevitably leads to one of two conclusions: Either you write the longest blog post in the history of the world, or you give up blogging altogether.  (#thestruggleisreal)

So fuck it!  I am going to make an introductory post, and I will endeavour not to turn it into half a novel.  My name is Dev, I am a 30-something woman living in Melbourne, Australia.  I’m married without kids, American, morbidly obese, a marketing professional and a lover of beautiful places and things who appreciates history.

This scant information will, in no significant way, set you up for what you will read in subsequent posts.  How do I know this?  Because I have absolutely no idea what this blog is going to be.  It could (and probably will be) about my struggle to lose over half my body weight so I can have kids.  I’m sure genealogy will factor into this somewhere because of my recent work on my own family tree.  My random thoughts and feelings about being a mature age university student will undoubtedly make their way into this thing.

All I know is that, at this time in my life, I feel the need to write.  I’ve learned so much about myself and my family lately, and this has made me recognise importance of leaving a legacy.  Maybe this is mine.  I would love to think of this blog in so great of terms.  Regardless, I’m just going to see where this goes.