Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Weight Loss & Body Image

April 18th, 2014

This is a post on diet and weight loss — not something I usually blog about — but under the circumstances these subjects have been much on my mind.

I now weigh 113 pounds. Why is this significant? Because before I fractured my jaw on March 6, I weighed about 126 pounds. To give you some perspective, I’m 53 years old, 5’4” tall, and fairly athletic–on the day before my accident I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill in under thirty-two minutes, followed by a weight-lifting session which included a few chin-ups and 120-lb underhand lat pull downs. If you’d asked me at the time, I would have said that I could stand to lose five or six pounds — though I wasn’t too concerned about it.

But now that I have lost weight, I’m interested in the process, especially since our culture spends so much time debating the most effective way to drop pounds.

The emergency room physician and the oral surgeon both told me that I needed to be on a liquid diet until my jaw was fully healed. Other than that instruction, I didn’t get any advice on what to consume, but I had a personal resolve to mostly avoid things with a lot of sugar.

During the first week, I lost around five pounds. After that my weight stabilized for a bit, but then started dropping again, although more slowly.

So what have I been eating/drinking? In summary, a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb, meatless diet. Yes, you read that right. The fat is from milk — I’m using whole milk for the first time since I was a kid. The reason my diet is meatless is because I haven’t been able to smoothly blend meat in the blender.

Here’s what I typically consume in a day:

Banana/strawberry shake made with whole milk.
Poi thinned with whole milk, or cream of wheat made with water. (carbs!)

A bisque soup, either tomato or broccoli-cheese, blended with tofu.
Premier Protein shake (low sugar, 160 calories)

V8 green vegetable juice

Madras Lentils blended with water, or refried beans blended with cheese or cheese soup, and water.
Beer or another protein shake or cream of wheat depending on how hungry I am.

I don’t want to imply that this is a good or healthy diet, but it isn’t a horrible diet. There isn’t a lot variety because I don’t need complications. It’s “good enough” and I can get by for the interim.

I am really surprised though, that I keep losing weight on it. I’m not exercising much. As it turns out, it’s hard to breathe deeply when your jaw is secured shut, so running is out of the question. I have started going on long walks, though not every day, and I’m doing several sets of sit ups and pushups on most days, but only recently. So the weight loss is definitely from diet, and not from activity.

So, onto body image. Yes, it was kind of cool to put on a red dress that I hadn’t worn in years, and to look really good in it. That was back when I was 117 pounds. That’s a good weight for me. 113-pounds is not a good weight.

I have no idea if men would have a similar experience, but for a middle-aged woman like me the cold truth is that weighing what I did when I was twenty does not mean I look anything like I did when I was twenty. The fat does not depart in a flattering way. We need a little insulation to fill out the skin and smooth out the bones. I do, anyway.

So my dental hardware is scheduled to come out in ten days. After that, the trick will be learning to eat again and then, putting weight back on without bouncing all the way back to where I started. Tricky indeed. I’m just hoping that after 7-1/2 weeks on a liquid diet my body will have had time to reset from its former caloric demands, or maybe my mind will have been convinced that I really don’t need to eat just because I’m bored. In any case, it will be nice to add a little variety to my meals, and to return to running again.

Posted on: Friday, April 18th, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Categories: Fitness.
Tags: , ,

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