FAQ’s Installment 14

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 2, 2009

Good evening!

It’s that time again-yup, you guessed it! Another FAQ installment.

Missed 1-13?

134.  Lesley asks, “Hi Angela! I just found your blog a few days ago and I have been trying to get caught up. You have a lot of great info here. I have one question, how long did it take you to lose 25-30 pounds? I have lost and gained weight in the past and I am really trying to focus on being healthy this time. Sometimes it just seems like I will never get to my goal!”

Hi Lesley & Welcome to Oh She Glows! :) I certainly did not lose the weight fast. I lost the weight gradually over the course of a couple years! I know that is probably not what you want to hear, but losing weight gradually increases your chances of keeping it off long term! And that is what we want right? In the past, I had lost weight quickly through crash diets but it always backfired on me. The weight would come right back on as soon as I ate normally or binged from deprivation. I think that is why I have been so successful in keeping the weight off; for me it truly was a lifestyle change. Instead of eating nutrient void foods such as iceburg lettuce and Special K bars (I lived off of many of these foods in university), I chose whole, real foods like romaine and nuts and dried fruit. Over a couple of years, I would lose 3-5 pounds and then I would maintain is for several months. Once I was sure that I could maintain the weight and still eat enough food, I would slowly drop another few. Once I reached my goal weight-or the weight where I felt happiest at- I made sure that I could maintain this weight in a healthy way. I always say that our bodies will tell us when we are underweight because our bodies will gain weight rapidly and try to put on pounds fast when normal eating resumes. I knew that I found my happy weight because I could stop counting calories and weighing myself and still maintain my size. I think the most important thing is not to focus on a specific time that you need ‘x’ amount of pounds gone. Sure, it is good to have goals and they do keep you motivated, but sometimes weight loss comes much slower than we anticipate. They say the #1 reason people fail at weight loss is because people hit plateaus and people get discouraged. Accept that these will happen. Don’t think of it as a plateau, think of it as a ‘weight maintenance phase’. Good luck!

135. Sam asks, “Was there a part of your body that lost fat last? For example, some girls don’t like their bellies. However, my stomach is flat but for some reason it seems to carry fat in my arms and I am not sure how to lose it.”

I think everyone has one spot that tends to hold onto fat more than others. For me, it has always been my thighs! I am always told that I have a flat stomach, but for my thighs the weight came off very slowly. Painfully slow. And eventually it just stopped. So for example, my thighs would lose some weight, but instead of steadily decreasing in size with more weight loss, it just halted, and I kept losing it in other places like arms or stomach. We have to remember that our bodies are designed to be a certain shape genetically and no matter how much weight we lose, the body parts that are programmed to be a certain size or shape will generally hold that shape even with weight loss. However, you can certainly improve your arms with toning exercises. I find simple moves like push-ups and tricep dips to be very effective!

136. KT asks, “Wow I admire you for drinking that monster down. Did you have anything else for breakfast or just the smoothie?”

Due to being limited for time in the mornings (I blog before I am out the door!), I don’t have much time for breakfast. That is why I love smoothies. They are quick and portable. With that said, the smoothies tend to only hold me over 2 hours max., so I have a big morning snack to tie me over until lunch. I have an apple and carrots and almond butter most mornings.

137.  Marafaye asks, “I found some Honest Foods bars at one of my grocery stores….they are so little! Are they really satisfying?”

After trying out all of the Honest Food bars, I saw them as a great food additive in a sense. They are great on cereal and oatmeal or as a sweet dessert after a meal. I would not eat them as a powersnack though because I just didn’t find them hugely filling. They are quite sweet so I prefer not to eat a full one during the day but I instead loved them as a dessert  after dinner.

138. Nikki asks, “How did you stop the binging? I know that my issue is I don’t seem to be balancing my meals and may be over exercising then I over eat, over exercise, etc. Could you please give us an example of a typically day and the foods you eat….how much do you exercise?”

Of all the bad habits I had to break, binging was the hardest. Actually, it doesn’t even feel right calling it a habit, because it was for me at times much worse than that. You are right about the deprivation part. When your body feels deprived, it goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode, which means that it senses a threat and will do everything in its power to get food either by running to the nearest fast food store or raiding your kitchen cabinets (Flight). Do you ever feel really moody and snappy when you are depriving your body too? That is the fight. I learned in my evolutionary psychology class that you become snappy when food deprived because your body sees other people as threats to your food. When I was depriving myself and not eating enough, I found that I became grumpy and pretty snappy with my university roommates. I got annoyed when they took my food without asking. I think this was my body’s defense mechanism kicking in as it felt a threat. My main point here is that as long as you are depriving yourself (and only you can judge if you are) you will probably always have a tendency to binge. It is a survival mechanism. Our bodies are very smart and when we under eat or over exercises certain hormones are released (i.e., leptin) to trigger hunger. Our bodies will not lay down and let us die, they fight back!

So my best advice is to stop the battle. Stop the deprivation and stop the need for your body to be on guard all the time. Let it be. It is smart so listen to it. It may take some time to learn to listen to your true hunger cues but you will over time. When I first started listening to my body and giving it what it needed I still binged for a while because it was a habit! That was the most frustrating part. I was like why am I still overeating when I ate normal and balanced all damn day??! Well, the truth is habits can take a while to break. For me it was a few months of normal and balanced eating to stop the urge to binge, and even still I had a couple relapses when doing through particularly stressful days/weeks. But it does get easier, let me tell you this. And I wouldn’t trade all of the hardship for one moment because it was so worth it and I am so glad to be free from the up and down emotions associated with binges. It is a vicious cycle.

As for what I eat in a typical day- stay tuned to Oh She Glows. I will be posting a full day’s worth of eating next week when I am home from work. I will finally have the chance to show you what I eat in the run of a day. This will give you a better idea. And for exercise- I have always aimed to get about 40-50 mins. of exercise 6 days a week. This varied here and there, but I would say that is what I have been doing on average for the past several years.

Ok that is all for tonight! I still have a page of questions to get to so stay tuned for more this week! :D Keep em coming!


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You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.
Sam Keen

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

marafaye February 2, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Aw you answered my question!! Thanks! I’ve held off on buying the Honest bars for now, mostly because I”m decreasing my bar intake :)


Lesley February 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Angela- Thank you so much for answering my question. That is actually EXACTLY the answer that I wanted to hear! I needed to hear that someone had done it slowly and gradually and not crazy fast. Knowing that helps me to stay motivated to know that if I stick with it I will eventually get to my happy weight! Thanks so much!


glidingcalm February 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

love these! you are such a great role model!


Kris February 2, 2009 at 10:50 pm

You should write a book! Love this!!!


Sweet and Fit February 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm

thanks so much! your response to the binging question really meant a lot to me – balance has been reallllly difficult to find for me lately.


Dave February 2, 2009 at 11:57 pm

LOL on the pics! What are you doing there?


hjartas February 3, 2009 at 12:19 am

your first picture cracked me up :) i’m not sure i know what is happening in that picture …

first, thanks for answering question 134. i’ve been on a healthy-eating path for almost 5 years now and i have plateaued a lot lately and was feeling very discouraged, to say the least. but if all i need to do is be patient and hang on, like you say, i’m still in! :)


hjartas February 3, 2009 at 12:20 am

edit: oops, the second “first” should have been “second.”


Sally February 3, 2009 at 12:53 am

My thighs are also my “trouble” spot. I wish they would get smaller but they seem to like the size they are so hopefully I can learn to like it, too.


brooke February 3, 2009 at 7:27 am

you are such an old soul and you give great advice that is grounded in a solid understanding of nutrition and how it is connected to your mental state.


quicky question:
i usually work out at 7 am. up at 5:40. i need some pre-breakfast workout eats but can’t seem to find the right balance. either i am too full or starved.

note: i do spinning and then maybe some weights. average workout time is 1 1/2 hours.



VeggieGirl February 3, 2009 at 7:54 am

Fabulous FAQ’s!!


Melissa February 3, 2009 at 11:26 am

awesome post. I have never had a problem with binging, however, I always want to snack after dinner. I almost can’t sleep unless I eat right before bed. I also found it frustrating that when I started eating breakfast for the first time since grade school the problem didn’t disappear. I still wanted to eat at night even though I wasn’t hungry. Even trying to replace eating with other relaxing activities didn’t help for a long time. I discovered that I need to eat a larger breakfast to truly shut off the desire to eat at night. I am just reaching the point, so wish me luck :)

Thanks for all the awesome advice, although it is distracting me at work because I just want to keep reading!


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