EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: MAY PROGRESS REPORT
It’ll be a year on Evolv Health Total Reboot June 14. I could not bring myself to write this reflection last weekend. I purposely put it off until after my 9 am appointment at the University of Alberta’s Human Nutrition Research Until for a whole body calorimetry reading. What? What is that, I hear you say? Well, let’s back up a little bit.
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: The Three Month Weight Loss Plateau (Maybe More?) Problem
First, if you have been following my Evolv Health Journey and Project 2019, you know that I have been struggling, and I mean sincerely struggling, to lose weight since March. It’s June, people. I am frustrated. I am not unhappy, but I am very confused and even conflicted.
I understand a weight loss plateau. I had one during October and November last year. That was a stretch that did make sense, eventually. I don’t understand a 3-month weight loss plateau, particularly as I have significantly, even dramatically (I thought) increased my activity level during these three months.
In June of 2018, I was so sedentary that any unexpected or unusual activity, not even at a moderate level, would find me hurting like I’d run a marathon the following day. When Ragan and I started to add activity to our week because we were feeling so much better, sleeping so well and waking up early, it was all we could do to walk the mall in the mornings. I recall hurting the following day, and we were essentially just walking and shopping.
We kicked it up a notch, heading out at 7ish in the mornings, joining the crowd of “walking grandmas”, as Ragan called them, and we found our pace increased dramatically. We really came alive and started to percolate. She is short. I am tall. We were finding an increasing gap between our pace and ability which didn’t make the walk fun any longer. One of us would have to walk slower or the other so fast it was painful.
The answer? Join the local Y. We did that mid-April. Scroll down to the Intermittent Fasting and Exercise Section in last month’s reflective piece if you missed it. What a difference exercise has made. Oh, my! The first day, I could barely accomplish anything. In May and June, I have found I go 5 mornings a week and ride about an hour on the stationary bike for about 10 miles or 20 kilometres. I can barely dismount afterward. My legs feel like they’re going to buckle under me. But I am truly Superwoman for the rest of that day. The positive energy coursing through my veins after a morning workout is how I would imagine one would feel after drinking from The Fountain of Youth.
Still, no weight loss. Up a pound. Down a pound. Up three. Down a few ounces. The Intermittent Fasting absolutely helped and still helps, but it appears, with about 5 pounds only this past three months. I have worked hard enough for 40. At least 25. What to do? There must be something I can do.
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: Metabolic Measurement is the Answer
Heidi Kermen, an Evolv Health Colleague, friend and Registered Dietician from New Hamshire in the US, advised me to get a metabolic test. She explained how she works with her clients to determine a caloric deficit and that is one of the first steps. I called my friend and Registered Dietician in Edmonton, Emily Mardell, to ask advice regarding setting me up for one of those tests. At this point, I completely believed that my metabolism was completely shot due to my Hashimoto’s Disease.
In theory, my resting metabolism for my height and weight, according to universally accepted charts would be about 1500 calories. However, I could barely handle eating 1050 calories at the onset of this program and lost 70 pounds eating 1150 a day. Now, as I stopped losing weight, I added 100 more calories to the mix, thinking I might be in starvation mode, particularly as I had increased my activity level. I did this in April. I didn’t gain weight by eating more, but not did I lose.
I had reached out to family and friends and my Social Media world via Facebook and Twitter asking everyone and anyone to refer me to an independent “Functional Dietician” in Edmonton. I got many kind responses to many health practitioners. Primarily Naturopathic practitioners were referred and no referrals were covered under my Alberta Health Care plan. That’s not going to work for me in the long term. Heidi had provided me with the questions to ask and the term “functional dietician”. I knew that I wanted someone to work with me in a holistic manner. Someone who would listen to my story and support the Total Reboot Gut Cleans program with guidance toward my final phase. No easy task.
Emily referred me to two lovely gals who are each private dieticians in Edmonton. Each provided me with a consulting appointment to determine my needs and whether we’d be a good fit for step two. I spoke to Karol first as she was my only referral. She provided information about the Human Nutritional Reseach Unit to me and I was over the moon. Ok. It would be 175 CA plus tax. The whole body calorimetry unit (WBCU) is one of two units in Canada and less than twenty in the world! It is a sophisticated research suite where a complete assessment of my energy balance (calories in versus calories expended) is performed using indirect calorimetry. The WBCU is the most precise way of studying energy metabolism, and provides information regarding the number of calories burned:
- At rest
- During sleep
- During activity
- While food is being digested
I had struck gold. Laura, the second Dietician Emily referred me to had actually worked in this department during her practical training. Both dieticians provided me with this information. Both work independently. Neither knew what a functional dietician was but both were lovely and willing to work with me afterward to devise a plan.
With my metabolic rate being measured, I would know, without guessing, what my caloric deficit should be and I could then knock my goal out of the park! Woot.
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: Whole Body Calorimetry
You can only imagine how excited I was Friday morning. The instructions:
- no rigorous exercise 24 hours prior
- no food 12 hours prior
- arrive as soon as possible after waking up (I chose 9 am)
I was not expecting a vault-like chamber. I was expecting a bed with an overhead panel and hook-ups to my body or something. I was ushered into a room with a vault-like door. There was a TV with soft music, a clock beside it, plenty of room, a blanket, a bed and phone. I was instructed to lay as still as possible for an hour, to not fall asleep, to call the gal if there was a problem, and she would call me when my time was up.
I had her cover me completely with the blanket as I tend to get chilly in a room at rest. I chose to listen to a podcast so she turned off the soft music on the TV. She said she’d be back to check me through the window every 15 minutes to ensure I was awake. I never saw her appear once, but I remained awake.
I was a bit itchy. Hard not to scratch. Kink in my neck. Don’t move. I was cold. I was freezing. Don’t shiver. The podcast was interesting and finally, the hour was over. I might not have been so stressed if it wasn’t so expensive. Advice to others? Get more blankets. It was very cold.
I was then ushered into a room to wait for a Dietician to explain my results to me. My heart was literally in my chest. I had worked so very hard this past 11 months to feel good, lose weight and regain my health. Now, in the home stretch, at 180 pounds, and 20 away from my goal weight, I would learn my metabolic rate at rest! From there, I can determine a caloric deficit and make this happen! I had a goal and I was going to achieve it. That’s what I do. That’s what we all do, right?
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: Surprise!
What was I expecting? I really had not thought of it. In retrospect, I was expecting my metabolism to be at about 1000 calories at rest. I was expecting I might have to go back to 1050 calories a day with my workout regime to create that caloric deficit necessary to actually lose this last 20 pounds.
My metabolic rate at rest measured at 1540 calories. Right where I should be! What? What? What? Where does that leave me? Confused. So confused. So very very confused. I didn’t know what to say. You can only imagine the questions I asked.
But, but, but, I am only eating 1250 calories a day and working out rigorously without losing anything!
Blank stare: “I am very sorry, Valerie. This is just a window in time. I don’t know your health history or your story. I cannot give you advice or devise a plan for you.”
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: Activity Level Shock
But, what does this mean? Does this mean, theoretically, if I ate this much, I would lose weight – as, in theory, one’s resting metabolic rate would be a good standard to set for a caloric deficit? Of course, I knew the answer was yes and I knew the answer was also no. “In theory, yes. How active are you?”
I thought I was moderately active. “Let’s discuss this. Tell me what you do every day, activity-wise and food-wise.” Proudly, I showed her My Fitness Pal filled out religiously every day. Then I showed her my heart health app on my iPhone that records my daily activity: “Yesterday I rode 20 kilometres on the stationary bike at the gym. It is hard, but I do it 5 days a week. I maintain a good fat-burning heart-rate and a sweat. Nothing like I did in my 30’s, but it is rigorous and though difficult, I do it and feel great afterward.” Mmmmm….
“And, Valerie, what do you do the rest of the day?” Huh? Huh? Huh? Didn’t you forget to look amazed? The rest of the day? Well, I go home.
“Watch TV? Read?” I was insulted now. No! … and ohhhh-nooooo…. I work at my computer for the rest of the day. Almost every day. And here is what the other days look like when I don’t go to the gym (2000 steps 1-2 floors). “Ah, thank you, Valerie. That’s very helpful.”
“Mmmm, I think you might be at the lower end of moderate,” she said so kindly. That’s when I realized the truth. I was not moderately active, at all. I was still sedentary! I looked at her chart. She watched me. I looked up at her. She looked back. I’m not moderate, am I? She smiled. “Well, you could be at the upper end of sedentary?”
Am I even at the upper end? “Well, you could be, if you add a little more activity to your daily routine.” The emotional impact of that knowledge, and the knowledge that I have a strong metabolic rate but my metabolism isn’t working “normally” is still reeling within my emotional soul an entire week later.
“Have you heard the “Set Point Theory“?” No. She explained it. It didn’t matter. I couldn’t take in anything more. She was so kind. So clear.
What I did understand when I left that there was no answer for me in this test. There was no magic answer. I wasn’t expecting an easy solution. I can work. But, I was expecting an answer. I understood that I needed to work at being satisfied with where I am at. I need to be happy with what I have achieved already and I need to let go of the hope or wish or goal for more.
It is like I just saw the doctor and he has told me I cannot have another child. I did not expect this answer and I am still grieving.
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: Health Care Spending Account
I didn’t go to the gym again until Monday. I stayed in bed all day on Saturday. I was worn out. Physically, Spiritually, Intellectually, Creatively and Emotionally. Just worn out. I did not overeat or go off my program. I was hungry all day but knew it wasn’t for food. Sunday, I worked around the yard and the house. I reflected. I cried. I wondered. I had a bath.
Monday I went to the gym. I felt like a million dollars. I am back. I am back. I am back.
But, I am different. I get it. I get it in my head. My heart isn’t there yet. But, I know. I know I need to work at letting go of that goal. Can I do more? Yes, I can. I can spend another hour at the gym. The first half hour each day is already excruciatingly difficult, but I could do more. At what cost, is the question? I am not prepared to go over the deep end to achieve this goal. It is true that I believe part of the reason I am not prepared to do it is that there is no guarantee that if I go there, I will achieve it. That’s the whole point. I thought there was a guarantee. I would do anything if I knew I would get the results and achieve my goal. But, I have just learned, there is no guarantee.
So, I have to work on my own sanity right now. I haven’t slept well for 2 nights. Woke up a mess of itchiness for the first time in a year. But, now, I know. I know why. And, I am going to meet with one of the dieticians. I cannot decide which one. I will need to think about that some more. If I do have a health spending account, as each bills differently, but there will be portions of each I can claim, I will meet with one to move toward a weekly plan for the next three months.
If I don’t have a health care spending account, I will meet with one to discuss my options and learn more about the variables affecting my health goals and take it from there. The money does matter, but if I feel progress, I will find a way to pay.
EVOLV HEALTH JUNE 2019: My One Year Anniversary
So, next week, as I am writing this a week late, is my one year anniversary. I am very proud of my achievement this year health-wise and weight-wise. It has been a massive learning curve. I will write about that next month, but for now, knowing I am closing in on year one is what is bringing the gratification and confusion to the same table. I want to work with a health care team to know and understand how my body works. I feel like I deserve that after working this hard. I am going to work toward developing that kind of a team for my daughter and for the future for friends and family that take this same path. And for me, right now?
I think for me right now, the biggest lesson I have to learn is to be happy with me right now.
EVOLV HEALTH MAY 2019: EVOLV HEALTH TOTAL REBOOT KIT
In my humble opinion, everyone, even those most healthy, needs a Total Gut Reboot once or twice a year. Think of it as a 28-Day Challenge. Invest a little money, discipline and time in a healthy future. You are worth it.
Eating sugar and grain free certainly has contributed to my health and well being. I have too often heard, “Well, no wonder you’re feeling better! Anyone would, not eating sugar or grains!” Absolutely true, however, Diana would be the first to attest to that truth as she was sugar-free and grain free for 2 years before joining us. That comment is usually followed by this question, “How do you know any of those supplements help at all?”
Again, ask Diana. Sugar and gluten-free for two years before her first Total Reboot and her blood sugars are now normal. A diabetic for over 40 years, this is a first for her. Eating gluten and sugar-free didn’t do this. The only addition to her diet was the Evolv Health Total Reboot Kit. plant-based proprietary GMO-free and organic supplements. It happened because of the supplements in the Evolv Health Total Reboot Kit.
The greatest contributor to me being off all of my medications and feeling as revitalized and youthful as I do is the combination of these whole food supplements coupled with the healthy eating that has brought me from a malnourished, lethargic, morbidly obese, sedentary woman to a fierce force filled with hope and gratitude!
- Read my reflection after four months into the program from June 14, 2018, to October 28, 2018. (Password: Evolv ), and further reflections:
- January 2019 update introducing Evolv Health Project 2019.
- February 2019 update reflecting upon January’s progress and introducing Saturday Morning Support Group
- March 2019 update reflecting upon February’s progress
- April 2019 update reflecting upon March’s progress and
- May 2019 update reflections upon April’s progress and
- this one!
- Each month, in the above reflections, I am posting updates of my progress for this project and reflecting upon
- goals I have achieved and am working to achieve,
- actions I am taking to make them happen,
- my strategies,
- my hardships,
- and my triumphs.
- Now that there are 4 others on this journey with me, in the monthly update, as they provide it, I am also including information about each regarding
- weight loss,
- health benefits,
- successes and
EVOLV HEALTH FEBRUARY 2019: JOIN US
If you want to join me, let me know in the comments section below. I am holding on-line Saturday morning “Total Reboot Support Sessions”
Everyone has their story. This is mine. I am still living inside of it and will be sharing it with you as it continues to unfold through 2019.
Disclaimer: I have not been hired by anyone or paid in any way to share my personal Total Reboot Gut Health Story. (password: Evolv)