Week 3: Ready, Set, Go!

Vincent Van Gogh stated, “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” As I start my journey, I want to reiterate to myself and to others, this isn’t just a weight loss journey, it’s a health journey. There are many ways to lose weight however; there are only a few proven scientific methods to fight disease. 

Last week I shared my confessions with you. This week, I’d like to share some of the goals I’ve set for myself to embrace this journey, one day at a time. By the way, thank you for your support! I’ve had over 1100 views on my story in the past 2 weeks. 
This past weekend, I attended a festival in Vancouver, and met some amazing friends and supporters who are reading this blog. Many noticed that I have lost weight, and I have lost some. But really, let’s focus on what I’m gaining during this journey. I’m gaining self-confidence, self-awareness, self-achievement and self-control. Control! It’s much easier to tell others to eat (or not to eat) and not do it myself! This week was hard. I have family visiting, so you could guess the food mayhem there. I’m trying to focus on what I can do rather than cannot do.  

By the way, the accountability part when you’re on a public forum works. There is not one place I can “hide and seek” food without all eyes on me or the dreaded, “you’re eating a burger!”  At work, with the family and of course, in public, there is no place to hide when the world knows you are on a “diet”. Look! She’s eating ice cream. Now don’t think because a dietitian ate it, it’s an endorsement! But I’m human and I do like to indulge.  

So by now, you are all probably wondering, what is her plan? I have a slow and steady wins the race plan. For those of you that like to think mathematically, 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories. Again, not an exact science, but if you were to introduce a deficit of only 3500 calories, you would lose 1 lb. My thoughts on weight loss are quite simple; you must burn more than you can chew and I mean that literally! 

My goal:

5-10. Research shows weight loss of only 5-10% improves obesity-related health conditions. This includes an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol), drop in Hgb A1C (measures diabetic control), and reduction in inflammation (so, I should see a drop in my sensitive-CRP levels). For me this equates to around 10 to 20 lbs. I want to see if this works. I’ll share my blood work at the end of October 2017 with you for a comparison. 

Time frame you ask? I hope to lose at least ½ lb per week. That’s a deficit of 1800 calories/week or 250 calories per day. This means it should take me between 5-10 months to lose this weight. Why so slow? I don’t want to feel like a failure if my fat is too stubborn to melt. My only competition is myself. I don’t want to feel discouraged just because I lost 2 lbs instead of 4 this month. The fact is that if I lose 2 lbs/month, in 1 year, I will be 24 lbs lighter and no longer obese.

So how will I do this? I asked myself, what I can give up and what am I absolutely not ready to. So far, I’ve made 3 commitments: 
1. I broke up with Mr. Mocha. After a long 18 years relationship, I’ve finally separated from my Mocha. Now, it’s hard to forget him all at once, so we have compromised to see each other only on weekends. We are no longer driving to work together. I’ve replaced it with a tall Pike Place in a Grande cup with 2 Splenda’s and soy milk. Yes, I’m using an artificial sweetener once per day because remember, I’m trying to control my blood sugars and they don’t raise my blood sugars! For those of you addicted to math, I’m saving around 1800 calories per week.  Plus, science has not proven that artificial sweeteners are “bad boys”. 

2. Dating Mr. Gym. Now, usually I’d use an all or nothing approach to physical activity. Either, it’s daily or none at all. I’ve realized that consistency would likely transform this frenemy to my friend. I’ve committed to the gym 3-4 times a week. That’s approximately 40-50 minutes per workout. 120-200 minutes/week. 

3. I’m going Vegan. Okay, stay with me here. I know many of you are thinking, yikes, she’s another health-nut, fanatic, dietitian disguised as a fat woman. We knew it! Take a deep breath, I’ll tell you what inspired me to choose this diet and why it’s the best for me. I also want you to know that I’m not endorsing this diet as the “one and all” or “guaranteed to work”. This is my choice for my health. Also, I have not embraced this for ethical means. I do believe in sustainability and love animals, but to be honest, this was not the reason I choose this diet. Oh by the way, Vegan means I will not consume any food coming from an animal including poultry, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy (including butter). 

Now for the love of self, I will: 

1. Having dessert once/week. 

2. Not giving up Mayo just yet. 

3. Not be Vegan when I’m invited for dinner unless you (yes, you, family and friends) would like to make vegetables, but no pressure. I will follow the 80/20 rule and be Vegan 80% of the time. Don’t worry; I’ll still believe you love me. 

4. Not be hard on myself. I will give into cravings (like chocolate) but try to move on as planned.  I will not let my cravings define my goals. 

5. Do weekly weigh-ins. Need to keep on track and reflect. 

6. Find support, at home and work (my other home). 

The supporters: I have to ask, how many of you know people with “weight issues”? Given that you are likely a healthy individual yourself, ask yourself, are you understanding and compassionate towards them? Are you a catalyst or an inhibitor? Really dwell on this, do you participate in their “new” choices. Do give them advice or do you give them encouragement? Are you fast at pointing out that they are not following “their diet?” or are you there to embrace their change without judgement? If you want to be supportive, be a part of their evolution. It’s easy to tell people, looks like you gained weight (I come from a frank family); it’s harder to drive them to the gym! Sometimes as a supporter you have to be the driver. Let’s go Laila, it’s gym time! 

The recruiters: You may have to enlist your supporters. When I started my journey, I had a long discussion with my husband and children about what I was about to do and why. I also gave them a time frame to work with me. We also decided as a family what would work for us. For example, my family will enjoy eggs and dairy (which I will happily buy for them) but we have agreed not to buy meat, poultry, and seafood anymore. I have also asked my colleagues to drag my feet to the gym. We are lucky to have a gym onsite with classes! My colleagues have really embraced this journey and it’s a blessing to have a family at work. 

Next week, I’ll share how things are going and why I choose the Vegan diet. I’ve come across some challenges already. You will have noticed by now that the recipes on my blog are mostly vegan. I’ll post some of my favorite breakfast and salad recipes this week as well so stay tuned!  If you want to know more, subscribe to my email and I’ll send out “What I eat in a day!” 

For those of you who are wondering, what does Laila weigh now? I’m down to 86.8 kg (overall, down 1.5 lbs in 2 weeks). 

Have a fabulous week! Be happy and healthy. 

Love, Laila

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