Professional Grandma, Social Butterfly, and Reformed Chocoholic.
“I realized that, if I was to be a fun grandma, some changes were needed…”
It all started with a baby (actually two babies) and a long-ago dream of an incredible adventure.
I have always loved walking. As a teenager, I walked miles to work every day and it was the only exercise that I ever really enjoyed. Fast forward through years of college, early career and parenting, and there never seemed to be time. Lack of exercise coupled with love of sweets made for additional and unwanted weight. Once I became an empty-nester, I was able to find more time for me and built walks into my daily routine. I felt better than I had in years. However, I changed jobs and all the travel of my new work schedule had made my walking sessions less frequent, and I had the knees to prove it. We moved to Florida, which meant that hills were not a factor in any walking that I did, decreasing my fitness level. Climbing stairs hurt; so I was glad to be all on one story. Stepping over the dog gate hurt. I started using an elevated toilet seat to make getting up and down easier. I finally went to a doctor to see if I needed surgery. Her advice was to move more; that surgery was eventual, but that exercise and physical therapy would help tremendously. I gave it a try, but the PT seemed to do nothing and my exercise efforts faded at warp speed.
In the fall of 2012 we learned that we would become grandparents – times two. During the weeks of helping my daughter, I struggled with going up and down the stairs in their home multiple times in a day. I couldn’t carry both girls up or down the stairs at the same time. I realized that, if I was to be a fun grandma, some changes were needed. I started with knee strengthening exercises at home and prioritized walking. Soon I was up to four miles a day. I could do squats! – and the pain on my knees receded. I seriously began to think about a long-abandoned hope to hike the Appalachian Trail. I started training in earnest and in March of 2015, set out to attempt a thru hike of the entire 2189.2 mile trail.
*Only about 10 – 25% of all hikers complete the trail in one go and, sadly, I wasn’t one of them. I was “done in” by pain in the ball of my feet that shoes and orthotics couldn’t solve. However, at the age of 60, I had hiked 600 miles of a difficult trail up and over multiple mountains every day, carrying 25 pounds on my back. I was proud of my accomplishment – especially considering where I had been just a few years before.
While I gained a higher degree of fitness on the trail, I still felt I was somewhat overweight – especially in my midsection. At this point, I had pretty much decided that, if I couldn’t get the weight down burning 4000+ additional calories a day while hiking, that it wasn’t going to happen to this post-menopausal body. Living in a retirement community, it was easy to see where the “too much eating out, too much wine and too many desserts at parties” could lead you. Many of our neighbors had “all the usual suspects” of health issues, compounded by the unhealthy eating habits. I was determined not to let that be me.
My daughter had her 3rd child just 18 months after the twins and was struggling to lose the last of the baby weight. She had recently moved to Nashville and discovered S2. The results she achieved were amazing. Already strong, she built on additional lean muscle and lost that baby fat and then some. I’ll go ahead and brag on here too…
She encouraged me to try working with Dr. Tiff to see if she could help me gain some muscle and lose some fat. I now had three reasons to want to be a healthy, fun grandma!
I remember when Dr. Tiff sent me the intake questionnaire which asked what I typically ate as a snack. My answer: chocolate! I found that by keeping a food diary I was able to focus on progress and not just food – and that the plan seemed to reduce my cravings for chocolate and other sweets. It created a mindfulness about what I was eating. I have always been a bit of a planning nerd, so it really fit into my neediness to plan and plan some more. I loved that when I had major goings on (a Girl’s Cruise one month after we started, a Disney trip with the little ladies, prolonged business trips) that I could deviate a bit and still lose or hold steady.
*I found that a protein shake in the afternoon was my best ally in avoiding the pre-dinner munchies. I discovered “overnight oats” and began adding oatmeal to my usual breakfast concoction of yogurt and fruit. The oatmeal added fullness and made the meal “last” longer. I could eat many of my favorite foods – but needed to be realistic about portion size.
Keeping a weekly spreadkate-revealsheet of our progress was such a motivating process, albeit tedious at times. *By combining a daily weigh in with an average of pounds lost over a week, Dr. Tiff eliminates the discouragement that often comes from weighing in on a day where you retained water overnight and having to wait another week to see positive results. I watched friends continue to try “diets” and fail for all the same reasons I used to. It is amazing how simple following Dr. Tiff’s plan is – but I don’t think I could have gotten where I am on my own. While I am fairly well-read on nutrition, there is so much conflicting information out there that it is hard to make an informed decision.
So, the big reveal…
*At 5’7” tall, I initially weighed in at 161 pounds with a body fat of 34%. Today I weigh 138 pounds with 23.8% body fat. Total cholesterol is down, “good” cholesterol is up. And I can carry the 3 ½ year old twins up and down multiple flights of stairs at the same time!