Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Being an experienced dieter is definitely a bad thing. Weight fluctuations and the emotional roller-coaster that comes with them are bad, really bad! There's only one good thing that comes with the multiple attempts to lose weight: Knowledge!
Anyone who has followed a healthy weight-loss plan even for once in their life knows exactly what you have to eat and what you have to avoid in order to lose weight. And I have to stress the word "healthy" because things like crash diets or diets that completely forbid certain types of foods are not considered good for our health. And along with the meal planning knowledge comes the more specific one of how our bodies react to the changes we've made. If you've been there once (or twice or more times), you are wise enough to know when you have to try more or when you are allowed to cheat a little.
The last time I tried to lose weight - about four years ago - I did it with the help of my endocrinologist who is an obesity specialist. She taught me how to eat healthy and I'm grateful for that. Another thing I learnt is how my body reacts to weight loss. Back then, I had started at 89 kilos and it took me six months to go down to 75. It then took me another three months to go from 75 to 73! And that's when I stopped visiting my doctor. And at my last visit, I left my motivation and all my self-discipline at her office...
Fast forward to today - you can imagine what happened in between - and I've reached 75 again but in a much better way. This time I wasn't following any specific weekly meal plans. I was just making healthy choices. So, I don't feel tired by the whole procedure. Most importantly, this is my lifestyle change and I have no intention of stopping or going back to my old habits. But I'd like to reach my goal weight. And here comes the knowledge to help!
I know that from this point down, my body loses weight very slowly and with a great difficulty. Maybe it's because I'm getting closer to a weight that my body considers normal. So, what can I do? Make a few changes. And why not make these changes challenging to add some motivation?
Starting from today, I'll try to make a big streak of the following:
1. Increase cardio days from 3 times a week to 4 times a week. I also do strength training 3 times a week.
2. Completely avoid sugar and white bread. This is going to be hard as I make my own bread at home for the rest of the family and the smell of it when it's freshly-baked is irresistible! But I CAN do it!
3. Fix my dinner time at 7 pm and not put anything in my mouth after that time until I go to bed.
My first goal is to do these three things for a whole week. Depending on how successful I am, I might try to make a bigger streak!
Wish me luck! And if anyone is interested in following these challenges or needs help with their own, just let me know. They say that two minds are better than one. In the same way, double motivation is better than single!
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Last week was really difficult for me. First of all, I was sick. A sore throat and a runny nose throughout the week. I think it was a combination of cold and allergy because I still get it in the mornings. Anyway, there were days that I felt really awful. And all this was accompanied by all kinds of sad news. Relatives who are seriously ill, friends who lost their jobs, people who struggle due to the economic crisis, our own financial problems, etc, etc. Tough!
Some time ago, I would have had the perfect excuses to skip exercise. I would convince myself that it's ok to fall behind on my schedule for just a week. But it seems I've come a long way since then.
I didn't miss one single workout! Not even one! Getting my workout done in the morning was the first thing I would think about once the morning rituals were over and the kids were at school and my husband at work. Everything else could wait. Nothing would happen if I took an hour for myself. After that I could be sick again, I could make phonecalls and visit the people who needed me. But this was MY hour. Not some kind of torture that I used to grab every opportunity to avoid.
I was really bitten by the fitness bug. I'm researching the internet for new ideas, I'd like to start running, I joined a dance class, I tried zumba, I do everything I can to include exercise in my everyday schedule.
After many years I feel proud for something I've managed to do by myself. When people ask me how much weight I've lost, I tell them I've lost 10 kilos but I mostly point out that I did it all by myself! No dietitians or personal trainers included! And that's what's most important for me. I don't feel a failure any more.
I believe in me!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I love helping other people. Always have and always will. The simple words "thank you", when honestly said and are meaningful, are music to my ears. Even when they're not said, just a look or the smile of someone I've helped can really fill my heart with joy. For a thing as simple as a present, I have to think days ahead, find out what someone really needs and make sure that what I give them will bring a smile to their face. If I could be 18 again, I would definitely start a career as a doctor or a nurse. All this time that I've been here on Spark, there's nothing that makes me happier than leaving comments to people who need support. My comments may have meant nothing to some people or a lot to others but to me each and every one of them is an act of trying to do something for someone.
During this journey, I've learnt a lot about nutrition and exercise. Knowledge that has been passed on from other SP members or that I have acquired from hundreds of articles I've read and videos I've watched. You can't imagine how excited I was when I was asked to use this knowledge to help other people!
A very good friend of mine started her own health journey yesterday by visiting a dietician. So, after setting up her nutrition plan, she asked my help in order to find a way to exercise. I'm already gathering videos and information to send her and I intend to try to motivate her everyday.
My mom was diagnosed with osteopenia this week, which is the first stage of osteoporosis. At this stage, it might not be curable (you can't get back your bone density once you lose it, especially at 70) but we can do a lot to make sure it doesn't deteriorate. What's the key? The same as always! Eat right and exercise! She got the nutrition information from her doctor and I did a research on the right type of exercises for this case. After I talk to her doctor, I intend to help her start a mild exercise schedule.
Yesterday, I went to my first dance class! I joined the parents' dance class at my daughters' school. (Yeah, me!) While we were dancing, another mom complained about calf pain and she had to stop for a while because of that. At the end of the class, we were talking about it and she asked me how come I didn't feel any pain after an hour of dancing. I told her I exercise regularly and she wanted to know what she can try at home, too. I gave her a few ideas and I told her about some good exercises that could help her strengthen her calfs.
Sharing this knowledge felt so great! And knowing that I can help my mom and my friend is just so exciting. Don't get me wrong, I don't pretend to have become an expert on this and I would never suggest anything to someone without the consent of their doctor. I just love helping people. And I want my friend to succeed and love exercise like I managed to do. And I want to help my mom remain healthy for many years to come. Because sharing somebody else's joy is a rare feeling. Knowing that you helped just a tiny bit to create a smile on somebody's face is just priceless!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I've been on Sparkpeople for a long time, actually two years and a little more. My progress has been sloooooooooow. So slow that at some point I thought the SP staff would erase me for being a bad example to other Sparkers!
When I started out, I knew this had to be a lifestyle change. I had been on diets again in the past, successfully I could say, but when the diet was over, so were my newly-acquired healthy nutrition habits. I had even got help from an expert. But I couldn't afford visiting her forever! When I stopped, I just returned to my old ways of eating.
This time I had to do it on my own. I had to make slow changes that would last. I set a goal for myself but I wanted it to be flexible. Ok, I want to lose 20 kilos but I won't set a deadline for this. I don't care when I reach my goal, I just want to establish new, long-lasting healthy eating habits. I want to get into a weekly exercise schedule that will make my body healthier and increase my endurance. So, I shouldn't care about the number on the scale, right?
I admit it! The number on the scale can be my greatest motivation. Even the slightest change (100 grams!) can give me the energy and the spark I need to start my week and do everything right. So, what's the problem with that? you may ask. The problem is that scales move to both directions. Downwards but upwards, too!
That's what happened yesterday morning. I hadn't seen the scale going up for a long time. I don't really know what the reason is. But a gain of half a kilo was enough to awaken the little bad voice in my head...
"Why should you keep trying? If you didn't lose last week, you won't lose this week, either."
"Come on, you can have as much as you like of this freshly-baked bread. Because even if you don't, you'll never reach your goal!"
"You'll never succeed in losing 20 kilos! Not in a hundred years. You'll go back to your old habits at the drop of a hat!"
In short, a slight backward movement of the scale was enough to make me lose all my motivation, my willpower, my energy for working out, and, most importantly, my self-confidence.
And now the good news! I'm still here. Still fighting. Trying to make this voice shut up. I won't quit. No matter what happens, no matter how many times I fall, I will stand up again. Because in my mind, I have already written this blog about my successful journey here on SP. And I want all my Sparkfriends to be able to read it one day. But above all, I've made a promise to myself. I promised to give myself a proof that I CAN be a winner. And I won't let you down myself. Not this time.
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