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Now that I have finished the foundation portion of the WONDR Health program I’m ready to tell you all what I did, what I’ve learned, and how my body feels. But first for those who may have missed it let me catch you up on how I got here.
Last summer after losing almost 20lbs through sheer will and a heck of a lot of restriction, my body gave out. It was determined that I had subclinical hypothyroidism (as my thyroid numbers were at the very edge of the normal range) combined with very high cortisol levels. In order to reverse this and heal my thyroid, the advice was to stop doing everything, let your body rest, give it all the nutrients it needs, and then begin again. So that’s what I did.
It took months of dosing with things like selenium and iodine to get my body aches to go away. To make my hair start growing again and to generally feel like my body wasn’t begging for help. Along with this I also had to implement a pretty extensive stress reduction plan. I stopped reading political thrillers and science fiction novels. I wouldn’t watch an action movie within two hours of going to bed. I started reading romance novels before going to sleep. I did tons of restorative yoga. I started taking CBD. I made sure I got adequate sleep every night and protected my sleep hygiene. I was like a woman possessed with getting better.
After several months of doing these things I was ready to reintroduce exercise. In May I started working out 3 days a week. Two cardio days and one strength day. If I felt too achey I didn’t force a workout. I drank BCAAs after every single session. I made sure I ate enough. Once I got into a rhythm with 3 workouts per week, I knew it was time to take things up a notch, but I wasn’t sure how to go about the nutrition aspect. I knew that my food choices were pretty good for the most part and I didn’t have a binging problem but maybe I was missing something. That’s when in the mail I received an advertisement about the WONDR Health program and how it was a free benefit through our health insurance. I was intrigued enough by the postcard to go on the website and check them out. It billed itself as working on behavioral techniques to help you lose weight without worrying about things like calorie counting. So, I signed up because what else did I have to lose?
Here we are 11 weeks later and 10lbs lighter.
The WONDR program is designed to change your behavior, not tell you what to eat. Each week you receive videos that cover psychological, nutritional, physical, and medical aspects of healthy eating and losing weight. Some of the key concepts of the program are things like eating slowly, eating when you’re hungry but before you get ravenous, drinking lots of water, and finding ways that you enjoy to move. A couple of the concepts that have helped me the most are using small snacks, called hunger savers, to prevent me from getting ravenous when I know it’ll be a while before I get a formal meal. Something else that has really changed my relationship with food is being okay with saying ‘no’ in social settings. Just because I go to a party doesn’t mean I have to eat everything that’s offered. The weekly check-ins have kept me accountable and reminded me what my goals are.
Along with starting the WONDR program I also decided to give up drinking Coca-Cola. I was pretty addicted to the stuff and honestly often used it for comfort. I thought of an old speech that Eric Thomas gave where he said, “when you want it as bad as you want to breathe that’s when you will be successful.” I certainly didn’t need Coca-Cola, so I figured it was a small thing to give up to show my commitment to getting healthy. But then it occurred to me I put sugar in a lot of things. Some mornings my coffee was packed with as much as 25g of sugar. 25g happens be the very top of what the American Heart Association recommends a woman should consume of added sugar per day. I was downing it in one 12oz cold brew every morning. I resolved to put Stevia in my coffee instead.
The Coca-Cola I stopped cold turkey, along with forsaking all other sodas until I fully kicked the habit. I didn’t even touch diet soda until I reached the 60-day mark. I drank seltzers, mainly Bublys and flat water. In coffee I gradually reduced my sugar over a couple of weeks, using first some low sugar creamer and adding some stevia, until I got used to the taste of stevia. By week 3 I was only putting stevia and milk in my cold brew. I noticed my bloating decreased, with only very mild bloating from my cycle. I was also sleeping better, and my hunger felt more stable. I was getting a lot less hangry, even though there were many mornings that I wasn’t hungry for breakfast at all and because of the WONDR program’s guidance if I wasn’t hungry I didn’t eat. I have found that I usually don’t get hungry until about 9am. That on the rare occasion I wake up hungry, it’s usually because I had a very active day the day before.
For the first month of the WONDR program I tracked everything I consumed on my Lose It app to see what my patterns were, what I was gravitating toward and how many calories they represented. I noticed that generally I was hovering between 1400-2000 calories per day depending on my activity levels from the day before. I usually felt very hungry within a couple of hours of lifting but wouldn’t feel that way after cardio. I would be really hungry the next day after a good cardio session. Once I had a feel for my typical portions, I stopped tracking. I’ve continued to lose weight even without keeping meticulous records of what I eat.
Along with my nutrition changes I also increased my exercise activity to 4 days a week; two strength training days and two cardio days. My strength workouts consist of one day of traditional strength training and one day of functional strength training, with the option to swap out a strength day with a barre or pilates workout, if I’m not feeling quite up to lifting heavy. Cardio consists of interval runs, often with inclines ranging between 25-40 mins long. And on cardio days I often do 10-15 mins of core work.
Slowly but surely, I’ve regained strength and endurance. My belly looks the flattest it has looked in this postpartum journey even though I’m still about 10lbs from the lows of last year before I got sick. But most importantly, even though its required diligence, it hasn’t felt like work or punishment.
I’m now entering Week 12 which is part of the second phase of the WONDR program, WONDRUP, and I am continuing to do what I have been doing. I have no plans to change anything. I don’t think I need to add an additional day of exercise or restrict in any kind of new way. This means that my journey may take several more months to get where I ultimately want to be but I’m okay with that. I’m still eating things like burgers and pizza when I feel like it. I still enjoy a cookie with Rigel after dinner. I’m okay with bringing my own sugar-free drinks to the party so I know I’ll have something fun that I like to drink. And I no longer feel pressure to clean my plate.
I’m feeling good, I have energy (even when Rigel conducts a very aggressive sleep strike). I feel excited and look forward to working out. And I even feel motivated to do other things. I’m feeling very optimistic that I now have the tools and knowledge to get to a healthy weight for this new and improved body that I have. I can’t wait to see what it’ll do next.
If you have any questions about my journey so far don’t be afraid to post them in the comments and follow me on Instagram to see how the journey’s going. I’ll be writing a future post about how I supplement now to make sure everything keeps humming along in tip top shape, so stay tuned.
And Keep Going,
P.S. I’m weighing in on Wednesdays and report my weigh-in on instagram if you want to see how the coming weeks go.