I am slowly slogging my way out of the second puberty that came with my early forties. This is an OptaVia update post but the reality is so much larger than that.
It would be unfair to claim my way out of the foggy forrest of mood swings, hot flashes, sloggy brain, involuntary weight gain and my body’s refusal to lose it, migraine and thyroid conditions, ETCETERA was due to any one thing. It’s taken a whole list of things. Trial and error. Blood, sweat, and tears. Excellent female doctors. An IUD and a uterine ablation. Time. Consistency. And yes, the best eating re-programming program I’ve ever seen for boosting a stalled metabolism.
The parallel to when I was a pimple faced, pudgy, pubescent pre-teen with permed hair and a rotation of Garfield T-shirts and jeans is unmistakable. By the time my first four years in my forties were done with me I didn’t know how to dress or do my hair. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Make-up wasn’t enough…now we’re supposed to contour?! Just like I did when I went from a tree climbing, adventurous kid to a fleshy, confused slug gnoshing daily on french fries and The Guiding Light after school, I felt again that my body had betrayed me. It was a puzzle I couldn’t solve. I was not going to age gracefully and vibrantly as I’d planned; I was going glob-like into that dark night.
Time for an overhaul. I have my shit together on the inside; I want my outside to reflect the same.
For the first four weeks on OptaVia I blogged weekly. Then I hit a true test: a birthday party at a restaurant with NO lean and green options. I ended up with a double gin and tonic. A wood oven pizza covered in goat cheese and drunken figs. Lemon pound cake with marscapone cheese and champagne and raspberries. That’s all code for Humble Pie ala mode with a dwallop of creamy fear on top. Fear that I ruined it. Fear that I’d pay for it. Fear that nothing would happen at all.
I’ve got a long history with diets that didn’t work at all. I’ve also got a long history of throwing my back into whatever project I’m pursuing because progress is my drug of choice. When progress doesn’t result from intense effort, I really, really, really hit the skids.
I did pick myself back up from that splurge. My coach even said she would have done the same thing. We have to still live our lives! Celebrations happen! And a healthy body can handle that and bounce back. I didn’t even gain a pound from that deep dive into pizza perfection. In the weeks that followed I uncovered truths about myself– like how often I turn to food or a glass of something fermented whenever I’m stressed/tired/discouraged. My energy super-surged at the same time I learned some new strategies for my work flow (Deep Work and reverse engineered goals in Girl, Wash Your Face). I started running 20 miles a week. I lost inches. I bought a few new clothes and started the Get Your Pretty On capsule wardrobe training.
But I have not lost any more weight.
They say a true plateau is when you are stuck for 2 weeks or longer. It’s been 6 at the same number now. This is despite clean weeks of on-plan snacks and salads and weeks full of drafty cheating: bites from my kid’s fast food bags, sips of hubby’s beer, a love affair with bread that included clandestine meetings with brie. I’m doing ok when it comes to cravings and sugar. Not so much when it comes to salt and fat. Those, “It’s Just One Bites,” add up faster than impulse buying in a Target cart. And it’s TAILGATING season, people!
Another draft is portion size. The “lean and green” involves a 4 oz. serving of meat and the rest of the plate covered in veggies. No white carbs or starches. No sushi rice with that tuna. Not a 12 oz. ribeye. Definitely not the greek salad from Zoe’s that’s lies upon a bed of grilled potato salad and drizzled with 4 tablespoons of herbed olive oil.
The support from OptaVia is incredible. My coach has a group of our friends that are on it and the shared journey has been what’s kept me on track. Plus, I’m paying for it! It’s not cheap! It has totally meshed with my grocery budget though (without alcohol or my portion, we aren’t over budget). But darn it all if I’m not more than ready to see those numbers drop again.
It works if you work it, not if you don’t. I know what things I can tighten up. Hopefully, the size of my arse will follow. Tight is good, right? I mean, unless it’s like bad plastic surgery that results in a permanent expression of, “Help! My ponytail is too tight!”
The specific ropes I’m tightening:
- Adhering to the 5 + 1 like a beginner
- No alcohol
- Measuring and weighing my lean and green
- No exercise during the tightest phase
Last month I simplified my box to just bars, shakes, sticks, and brownies. There’s a ton of other things available, from mashed potatoes to breakfast cereals and a ton more hashtag hacks on Instagram. But all that variety was landing me back into the quagmire of, “Just tell me what to eat!” I don’t need too many choices. I need simplicity. Within those self-restrictions, I still have plenty of options for flavors.
My favorite benefit of OptaVia is that my insulin spikes are gone. So, no more bloated, swollen red face. No ten pound weight fluctuations due to fluid. My energy is still incredible and my sleep is too.
There are several other things I’ve used to pull out of the second puberty of the forties and I can finally see the other side. I’m thinking about a writing project to capture them all. If you’d be interested in reading that story, let me know. Oh, and if you’re interested in OptaVia, my favorite referral is my coach Donna, a science-teaching former Marine who guides with healthy love and wisdom. Comment and I’ll match you up.