So it has been quite awhile since my last post, and there has been a lot of change in my life. I moved to a new state, started a new job with little to no travel, and finally got to cook for myself regularly for the first time since starting this WOE.
It has been great. The past year and half of practice helped my taste buds change, so that I do not carve heavy foods anymore and finally prefer the lighter fare. In addition, my digestion is a lot better, my eyesight has improved (but the doctor refused to attribute it to my improved diet), my skin is less sensitive and noticeably softer, my joints ache less, my skin is clearer and looks younger, I am not puffy like I used to be, my melasma has finally faded completely (after 10 years), my sense of smell (which is terrible) has improved some, I move much more easily, and I am happier overall.
Oh yeah, and I lost some more weight.
I still have to work really hard at the weight loss, and I do not lose unless I allow myself to get hungry in between meals. My body seems to need an empty stomach before it will burn up some fat, but I am okay with that now. I have found that if I get too hungry that I will go off plan, but that there is a certain amount of "mild hunger" that does not bother me too much and that seems to help me thrive. I never would have been able to do this a year and a half ago, but now it seems to be a good routine for me.
Lurking on this board has been invaluable, because no matter what challenge I was facing, I found someone else who had the same issue and who could provide some advice or perspective.
So, with 95 pounds lost and 65 more pounds to go, it is time to return some of the favors. Here is what has helped me the most so far:
1. Oatmeal and potatoes - My go-to foods when I am hungry enough to think about breaking the diet. They are cheap, quick and travel really well. Once I eat them, I find the bad craving almost always goes away.
2. Salads - I never used to eat salads. I just did not find them satisfying. Now I enjoy them, and when I have a salad as a meal I usually notice the difference on the scale the next day.
3. Fasting between meals - I know this is the "eat all you want as long as it is whole food, plant-based, low caloric density and low fat and you never have to go hungry" place, but for me, I get the best results if I let myself get a little hungry. It is the one single thing that makes the most difference in speed of weight loss for me.
4. Staying Inspired - Whether this watching videos on plant-based eating on youtube or nutritionfacts.org, reading this forum or studying vegan cookbooks, I make sure that at least once a week I take time to try to learn something new or remind myself of all the good that I can do for myself by making these changes.
5. Learning that your body can be shrinking, even when the scale is not moving - It is true. It has happened for me several times now. I get smaller, even though the scale does not budge. I am not working out (don't judge, I will get there too), so it is not new muscle. It is my body changing and becoming healthier. It is a great reminder that the weight is just a part of the story, and that there are a lot more changes that need to happen for me to be truly healthy. So when the scale stagnates (and it always does) but I am staying on plan, I try to think of it as my body parts taking turn, and maybe now it is my heart or my blood vessels that need the TLC. Thinking this way really helps me from being discouraged.
I hope this is helpful. This is a great community, and I want to contribute more. I still have a long way to go, but I have faith I will get there - in no small part thanks to your inspiration.