I'm a total n00b and could seriously use some help. I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar weight loss/gain experience to mine, and if the SLD has helped them (which would give me some hope!). So I guess I should explain my predicament (and sorry to be all rambley at you guys!):
I'm a little over 5'4" and weigh somewhere in the range of 125lbs. A lot of those pounds are muscle, as the size clothing I'm wearing hasn't really changed. (Depending on the store, between a size 0 and a 4 on the bottom and XS on top.) Although the way my clothes fit TOTALLY has. And not in a pleasant way.
But yeah, yeah, I know. My BMI is just fine. (Can you tell I've already sought out professional medical opinions to help me? I've been getting a pretty standard answer.) And a quest to drop 5 - 8 lbs would seem, I suppose, like I have body dysmorphia or an EDNOS. Which so isn't the case. But I get why my GP and GI are full of, "But you're healthy!" protestations. I'm fully cognizant of the fact that I'm pretty well proportioned and am not overweight or even remotely unhealthy. (I had a physical in the fall and the doctor was floored by my cholesterol - my HDL was 104.)
The problem is that last year, until the fall, I weighed somewhere in the range of 112 - 114lbs. I was much, much happier at the lower weight. My pants fit well (a problem so severe in college that I wouldn't even go clothes shopping, for fear of not finding anything and needing to leave stores in tears of low self-esteem), I had great energy, was in control, and I just felt right at the smaller size... my body finally felt like my own.
I'm 29 and have struggled with my weight since puberty. (I was a very undersized child and then BAM! suddenly it was all hips and breasts and stomach pooch and GIANT thighs. Even at my heaviest, I was never bigger than a size 10 & in the mid-140's. But it was pretty much all fat and bones (no strength at all), and those were some very non-confident 140 pounds. From ages 13 to 27, I have never felt right in my own body. My skeletal frame is very small (my wrists are ridiculously small and my hands and feet are comically tiny), so carrying around 140+ pounds always felt really off. And I always felt I looked so silly. But I'm also impossibly lazy by nature, so it took a very specific instance to finally jar me into health-action.
In 2004, I resolved to stop eating bacon & potato pizzas at midnight and stop eating an order of mozzarella sticks for a light snack. I started to reduce my caloric intake... and then I started to walk for exercise, then to walking with ankle weights. The walking turned into using my elliptical machine (which had basically served as a coat rack for several years)... the elliptical became a stair stepper and weight training... and now I'm using a recumbent bike and a ballet barre. Over time, as I've gotten healthier - and I eat LOTS... just lean meats, lots of veggies, only whole grains, fat free dairy etc - I've consistently shrunk in size, gained muscle, gained confidence in myself, etc. By the summer of 2007, I had hit my goal of 115 pounds. My body fat % had dropped below 20. I could eat what I wanted (and sometimes, yes, I wanted the cheesecake), and still felt in control and like my body, mind, and emotions were all functioning in harmony. It was wonderful!
That lasted about a year.
Last fall, I started a new job which basically gives me a strange schedule (teaching in a college setting - my hours vary from day to day). So I can't spend 90 minutes working out every day anymore... (and there are 2 days per week where I'm lucky to get in 45 minutues) I'm always, always tired. Which, of course, has led me to eat a bit more.
So suddenly (though not surprisingly), I find my weight climbing back up. Not shocking, I guess. Over the past 4 or 5 months, my pants have gotten tighter in the "saddle bag" region of the thighs, my abdomen pooch (which, I totally swear, had basically gone away!!) is hanging over my jeans in an icky and uncomfortable "muffin top" (pants cutting into your waist really, really hurt!), and my arms are starting to jiggle again. Not good. And I'm totally at a loss re: what to do.
Because here's my issue: the actual number of calories I'm taking in vs. burning doesn't seem that wildly different, proportionally, from the number of calories I was taking in vs. burning a year ago. The "more" that I'm eating has tended to be vegetables or fruit or fat free yogurt. On the weekends, I do go a little nuts (Sunday dinners with the family mean food to tasty to resist!) - but I was doing that last year, too! I don't eat any refined carbs, and I don't eat any processed sugars (or any sugars at all, currently, as I'm dealing with a candida issue). I only use heart-healthy oils when I cook (which I do a lot) and I never free-pour. I snack on raw or dry-roasted nuts.
There just seems to be this really, impossibly stubborn increased layer of fat over the muscle I've built up. The muscle is totally under there (I can feel it/see it, depending on the movement I'm making)... I'm just all flabby on top of it! My body fat % has gone up to 24%. I know it's all about calories in, calories out; but when I try to lower the number of calories I'm taking in, the muscle - which has raised my metabolism - demands more food. I can't seem to win. Which is seriously depressing. Which makes me want to snack. (The snack was typically yogurt or an orange or those nuts... but now it's getting to a depressing stage where the snack is some leftovers from last night's dinner or some frozen yogurt.)
The fat increase almost seems like it's hormonal (in which case, if it's age-related, there's little I can do, I guess?). But I'd hate to think that since I'm one year away from 30, the battle I seemed to have won at 27 is actually going to be lost simply due to changing hormones and time. That would seriously suck. Hence my confusion, feeling of total helplessness, and tinge of depression.
And so I turn to the SLD.
Basically, I'm just looking to share my struggle with some people. My friends (and boyfriend of 10 years) think I'm insane, as they'd love me no matter what (and they all loved me just fine when I was heavier). And, of course, I am wearing baggy sweaters to cover my muffin top (which the boyfriend doesn't notice/couldn't care less about). And none of us is judgmental, so no one is staring at how my jeans are now, like, glued to my thighs. Ick.
So first: Has anyone else here experienced this type of long-term WIN! over their weight due to a total healthy change in lifestyle, and then experienced a total backslide?
And second: Can people PLEASE reassure me that AS happens w/SLD? Because the thought of being hungry PLUS having added in an extra 250 calories per day is a little scary.
Thanks so very, very much!! And again - sorry for being so long-winded. (I guess I just needed a little cathartic sharing!)