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Losing Weight In Your Thirties

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In my experience, losing weight is might harder in your thirties than your twenties.  I gained quite a bit of weight at the end of college.  And then I continued to gain when I started working.  I eventually said enough is enough and easily lost close to 40 pounds.  I barely remember what I did to lose it.  I started doing some moderate exercise, started paying a little more attention to what I was eating.  That was about it. I don't remember it being difficult at all.  Before I knew it, I was back to a very healthy weight again.

This time around, several years later, not so much.  I started eating out less and less, and cooking in more and more.  I started running (jogging) several times a week.  I went to the gym.  I continued to gain.  I finally tried the South Beach Diet and it worked.  Here are the top four things I changed that helped me lose weight over the last year:


  1. I replaced my usual cereal (bran flakes, shredded wheat, rice krispies) with quiche and turkey bacon.  I make the quiche with egg beaters so my cholesterol go out of control.  I use the South Beach Vegetable Quiche Cups to Go recipe. I bring 2 with me to work each morning and heat them up in the microwave.  My co-workers are always commenting how amazing they smell and wishing they had them.
  2. I greatly reduced the number of carbs with dinner.  I stopped eating large plates of pasta, white rice, bread and started eating a lot more meat and vegetables.  As a result I've actually greatly expanded my horizons and come across some really great recipes as a result. 
  3. I replaced my usual sandwich for lunch with leftovers from dinner the night before.  We make some great dinners and we always cook an extra serving of everything so I can have some for lunch the next day.  As with the quiche, I get comments several times a week how amazing my lunch looks and smells.  It's funny how people are so jealous of my "diet" food.
  4. I found other ways to satisfy my chocolate/sweets cravings.  I always have  fudgsicles (of the no sugar added variety) in the freezer and occassionally make chocolate milkshakes in the blender with unsweetened cocoa and artifical sweetener (splenda).  This really helped me get over the hump of the terrible cravings at the beginning.


What has your weight gain/loss experience been in your thirties?  What are some things that worked for you?

Eat This, Not That

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eatthisnotthat.jpgI have been trying really hard to eat a balanced diet.  I try to eat well most of the time, but not completely remove anything from my diet.  I eat whole wheat bread, yogurt, apples, salads with light balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  When I buy chips I buy the baked kind instead of the regular.  I stopped going out to lunch with co-workers except for rare occassions.  I cook at home a lot more often than I used to (and by "I cook" I mean "my boyfriend cooks").  For example, tonight he made an absolutely delicious meal of grilled tilapia, rice and broccoli. 

So this is why I'm frustrated that the scale has been moving in the wrong direction over the last 2 years.  Not long ago my older sister recommended I buy a book called Eat This, Not That.  And last night while at the grocery store I looked for it, and found it (at 20% off no less).  I already read through quite a bit of it and found it very interesting.  Interesting in an informative kind of way.  It is very easy to read and has lots of pictures.  It explains why you should choose something over something else and has a ton of neat little tidbits.

I found there were a few things I was doing right.  Yoplait Light yogurt, for example, is what I have been eating gor a while now and is on the "Eat This" list.  As are my Baked Lays and Nilla Wafers.


After reading the At the Supermarket section of this book.... 

Instead of grabbing a random pasta sauce off the shelf the next time I buy it, I will grab Ragu Light Tomato & Basil.  The Ragu light has 60 calories and 0g fat in it as opposed to the Prego Tomato Basil Garlic which has 80 calories and 2.5g fat in it (per 1/2 cup).

Instead of grabbing the Hellman's Light mayonnaise, I am going to try the Hellman's Canola mayonnaise.  It has 2.5g monounsaturated fat instead of 4.5g of fat (3 of which is saturated or polyunsaturated).   

Instead of grabbing my usual Arnold 100% Whole Wheat bread, I will grab the loaf of Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat bread.  It has 80 calories in 2 slices instead of 90 calories in 1.

Instead of grabbing the store brand of creamy peanut butter I will look for Simply JIF creamy peanut butter.  Slightly less calories, saturated fat and sugar.

And since I am not perfect, and loooove me since ice cream now and then, I will opt for Breyers all Natural either Cookies & Cream or Vanilla Fudge Swirl.  The Cookies & Cream has less calories and half the saturated fat as Edy's Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip.


Another great section is what to choose (and to stay away from) at many popular restaurants.  For example, at Uno Chicago Grill stay away (and I mean far, far away) from the Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza.  IT HAS 2310 CALORIES IN IT!!  AND AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF FAT -- 162g!!!  Seriously?  Are they really allowed to have something so horrifically bad for you available on the menu?  Next time you go there, please order the 7oz. filet mignon instead.  It only has 300 calories and 12g of fat.  If you must order a pizza (which ok, I understand it IS a pizza place) the book recommends the Cheese and Tomato Flatbread Pizza.  


Discussion:  Do you own this book?  If you do, did it work for you?  Do you think that small changes like the ones promoted in this book can actually work?


Resisting Temptation

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This afternoon I resisted the temptation to go out to lunch with a bunch of co-workers to a Chinese restaurant.  I instead opted for a lunch of an apple, yogurt, and then later some pretzel rods and a diet coke. 

I later resisted the temptation for a piece of cake at work during the monthly birthday celebration (incidentally, my b-day happens to be on Friday).  I ate only half a piece of cake instead.  :)

When I came home from work I resisted the temptation to lay on my super-comfortable couch and instead opted to go for a run.

After my run I resisted the temptation to eat 3 slices of leftover pizza.  I instead opted to eat 1 slice of pizza and a salad.

Now, I am resisting the temptation to have one of those hostess chocolate cupcakes that are oh-so-yummy.

So many choices.  So many temptations.  But I think today is a day I can feel good about.

Thinking Out Loud

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It has been 10 days since I started the medication for the periodic limb movement disorder.  I am still feeling amazingly well.  AMAZINGLY well.  I wake up in the morning and feel only ever so slightly groggy and like I don't want to get out of bed.  By the time I am driving to work I am wide awake.  Fresh and alert.  Everything seems so... clear.  I have not felt like that in years and I cannot possibly adequately describe how this change has made feel or how large an impact it has had on my life. 

I think people may be getting a little tired of me trying to explain. When others are tired because they are kept up all night by new babies or pets or anything else going on in their lives don't want to hear how wonderful you are feeling. Someone actually said, "quit bragging!"

Something that has been irking me, but I haven't really wanted to say out loud, is how others responded or treated me when I was going through this. I heard the following so many times from so many people:

    1. Everyone is tired!
    2. You just need to start drinking coffee!
    3. You just need to go to bed earlier!
    4. You just need to exercise more!
    5. You just need to force yourself to get up even when you are tired.
    6. You just need to reset your clock.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
    7. Fatigue is an indicator of depression. You are probably depressed.
    8. There is nothing wrong with you. You just want to be sick. You are just looking for something to be wrong.

Yeah, that last one had me in tears more than once. 

It was a very long and exhausting two years.  I saw my pcp so frequently I saw him more than a lot of my closer family members.  I also saw a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, and a psychiatrist.  I was put on countless medications -- one of which caused me the worst discomfort I have ever felt in my life and to miss work for two weeks due to the allergic reaction.  I wasted way too much money paying for copays and medications I didn't need.  It was the psychiatrist who actually saw me twice and then said, "I don't think you are depressed.  You need to have a sleep study done."  I credit him with saving my life.

I was too trusting of the doctors and others who voiced their thoughts on what was going on with me.  I didn't trust my gut enough.  I knew I was not depressed.  I suppose it was a lack of self-confidence, coupled with being a naturally trusting and anti-conflict person, that allowed it to go on as long as it did.

I have not mentioned it to anyone yet, and probably never will, but I am still a little bitter and hold some resentment about how I was treated by friends, family, and my doctor.  I reached out for help so many times and got very little support or assistance.  There was basically only one person that understood, took me seriously, and tried to help as much as he could.  He stuck by my side no matter what.  No matter how difficult I was being.  That person being my pretty amazing boyfriend.  I really hate saying this, but I feel disappointed and let down by almost everyone else.  No one took me seriously when I said I couldn't continue like this any longer.  That I was not able to function well enough to work.  They just ignored it, I suppose hoping it would eventually just go away.  No one tried to help me come up with a plan to take a leave of absense or to work part-time or... something.  No one offered to finally come to the doctor with me to speak up for me, since I obviously wasn't doing a good enough job for myself.

All that being said, I do understand that other people have their own troubles and issues they are dealing with.  I understand that what is wrong with me is rare and was not a likely diagnosis, especially for someone my age.  I realize I am 30 years old -- I am an adult who should be able to take care of herself.  I realize I was probably expecting too much.  Maybe I did too good of a job of covering it up.  Just because they were not able or didn't know how to help, it doesn't mean they didn't care.  I try to keep reminding myself of this when the thoughts of bitterness and resentment creep up.  I am also hoping that getting it off my chest here will help. 

I thank you for listening.  :)     

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

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Tuesday afternoon I had the follow-up appointment to my sleep study test

I can't explain it, but I had another bad panic attack. I was shaking as I drove to the appointment. The nurse practitioner did not take long to put me at ease after I walked into the office. She introduced herself, said it was nice to meet me, asked me to sit and then said, "Well, you have periodic limb movement disorder."


Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a sleep disorder where the patient moves limbs involuntarily during sleep, and has symptoms or problems related to the movement (from wiki). I have no idea what these movements are like in my case. They can range from small twitches to wild flailing. Yes, I can appreciate the humor in the imagery of this.  I guess I am closer to the small twitches end of the spectrum since the tech apparently didn't even notice. I do know that in my case the symptoms or problems related to it are waking up frequently and extreme fatigue.

The report says, "Bursts of periodic limb movements were observed (PLM index 11/hr), causing most of her arousals from sleep."  I was told anything over 5/hr was considered abnormal.


It looks like I had arousals approximately 9/hr.


At first it didn't sound like a terrible number to me. But then I thought of it this way. That is every 6 minutes. Imagine lying in bed and then every 6 or 7 minutes someone going:

* tap tap tap* wake up.

and then 6 minutes later:

* tap tap tap* wake up.

again and again and again.  All night long.  You'd probably feel kinda shitty the next day, right?


Why am I having these weird leg movements while I sleep? Good question! They couldn't tell me. I was given a sheet with a list of possible vitamin deficiencies and other disorders such as diabetes that could cause it. But they said generally it is idiopathic, meaning they have no idea why it is happening.


The treatment is to pop a pill 30 or so minutes before I go to bed. The recommended pill for me is Gabapentin (generic for Neurontin). I am honestly not sure exactly what it is. I haven't been able to decipher all the medical jargon yet. I know it is some sort of anticonvulsant medication.  Is it supposed to stop the brain from telling my legs to move? Is it supposed to prevent the leg movement to happen or prevent me from waking up when it does?


So I filled my prescription later that afternoon and took a pill before bed on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I woke up feeling wonderful. I was actually able to get to work on time. I was actually fully awake as I drove to work. And guess what else? I continued to feel great ALL DAY LONG. Seriously, I was an entirely different person. I did not have a headache. I could focus on my projects at work. When I got up to walk somewhere I actually lifted my feet instead of shuffled like I usually do because I am too tired to pick them up. I didn't slump in my chair. I took my boyfriend out to dinner last night and I remember having a little smile on my face and shaking my head at one point. I was thinking to myself that I couldn't believe I was feeling this good. I didn't have to force myself to go out somewhere after work. I wasn't struggling with all my might to keep my eyes open.  It had been over two years since I felt this good.

It shouldn't need saying, but I was elated. After two years of searching, I finally had an answer. And it seemed I also had a solution. I could barely contain my excitement all day long. And I kind of realized that just like no one could really understand how awful it was to be me, how awful I felt, for the last two years, no one could really understand just how happy and excited and relieved I was. I was trying really hard not to get ahead of myself. It was only one day, afterall. But how could I keep calm and guarded when I was so filled with hope? When it seemed my life was about to change so dramatically for the better.

About This Blog

Stories, advice, and random thoughts from a thirty-something female.

Many people in their thirties are dealing with common issues and concerns. Some of these include buying a home, establishing a career, starting a family, and dealing with aging parents. I will blog about all these things as well as other every day stuff as I make my way through this third decade of life.

You can read more about the author behind thirty-something blog on the About Me page.





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