Getting off the SOFAs

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Now that the birthday celebrations are over and I’ve had a minute to catch my breath, I’ll take some time to explain how I’ve lost these most recent 25 pounds.

I discovered Chef AJ back in 2015 and became a member of her Ultimate Weight Loss program. It was great, I lost some weight, but I wasn’t able to stick to it for one main reason: alcohol. I’ll dive more deeply into this at a later date, but for now I’ll just say that while I wasn’t an alcoholic nor even a “problem drinker,” my beloved chardonnay had taken up too much space in my life. I wasn’t willing to give up my lifestyle that included happy hours & wine tastings, and the subsequent poor food choices that inevitably followed. I’d follow my whole food, plant-based, oil-free meal plan all day long, and then blow it every evening. I lost a couple of pounds, but grew frustrated and gave up.

For the next few years, I maintained my weight, losing a couple pounds here & there with the help of WW, but it was so freaking hard! I was restricting calories, counting Points, walking my proverbial butt off, and still I couldn’t lose consistently. I was beginning to think I was doomed to be a size 12/14 forever. Then, something changed.

Last July, growing tired of the cycle of drinking/eating/anxiety/headache, I decided to quit drinking. Again, more on that later, but this decision proved to be one of the best I have ever made for my health, both mental & physical. The lack of booze didn’t immediately result in weight loss, but it was a turning point, a launching pad for more positive changes. By eliminating the wine, I was able to make better food choices. My emotions stabilized. My mood improved. My brain got sharper. I felt amazing! Not only physically, but emotionally, and I wanted more. I wanted to get the other monkey off my back. Literally, the 25 pounds that was causing aching joints and back pain.

In May of this year, Chef AJ offered a mini program, a 21-Day challenge called Lose Weight with a Full Plate. It was affordable and offered two things I really needed: accountability & support. There was a group Facebook page, weekly Q & A sessions, recipes, tips & tricks and just so much feedback from Chef AJ and her coaches. I jumped in with both feet. The pillar of this program is abstinence, and the things to abstain from are as follows: Sugar, Oil, Flour, Alcohol & Salt, which go by the acronym SOFAS. So, I cleaned up my environment, tossing my non-compliant food and moving Chip’s to hidden drawers & cabinets where they wouldn’t tempt me.  I’d already stopped cooking with oil years ago, so that was easy. I didn’t eat a lot of sugar but there was some vegan chocolate lurking around. The alcohol was gone, and while I enjoy salt it wasn’t a deal breaker. My biggest problem was the flour. Sigh. I’m a bread-a-holic, and rarely did a day go by where I didn’t indulge some form of it. As much as I love it, I knew it was an issue for me, a red light food that I had a hard time moderating. So, out went the pasta, baguettes, buns & rolls. Even the “healthy” sprouted grain version got bagged up and donated to my daughters. With a clean kitchen, I was now ready to fill it back up again, but with what? What could one possibly eat after eliminating so many foods?! How could I possibly live on such limited options? Well, quite nicely as it turns out!

For 21 days I kept it very simple. Two to three meals a day, depending upon how hungry I was, and a couple of snacks. My days looked like this:

Exercise while listening to Chef AJ podcast. Veggies for breakfast. Potatoes. Fruit. Salad. Potatoes. Fruit. Steamed Veggies. Potatoes. Fruit. Sleep. Repeat. 

The weight started dropping off, sometimes as much as one pound per day! While we were discouraged from obsessing over the scale, I couldn’t help but jumping on because the dropping numbers kept me motivated! I was in shock, honestly, could not believe that I was actually doing this! It was hard sometimes, yes, especially when dining out with family, watching them eat the decadent vegan meals I’d enjoyed in the past. But I kept at it, and it got easier, to the point where I actually preferred my simple food over the highly processed ones. I was on a roll, and it felt amazing!

This is where I’ll leave you, for now. I’ll be back tomorrow to continue the story and share some resources.

Have a beautiful day

Michele