Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This blog was supposed to have been posted yesterday but certain things came up and I only found time at about 2 am! Being too sleepy to type and upload pictures, I postponed it for today.
19th June 2011. Thatís the day my serious attempt here on Sparkpeople began. I had already been a member for almost two years but with no success. The date wasnít chosen by chance. My husband is the person who talked me into seriously trying hard to reach my goal. He is the one who made me believe that if we really want something, we can work hard and achieve it. So I chose his birthday to start my journey. And finish with this weight battle once and for all.
19th June 2012. One year later. Letís see my progress in numbers.
Weight: From 87 kilos to 69. From 191 pounds to 152.
A total loss of 18 kilos Ė 39 pounds.
Waistline: From 99 centimeters to 82. From 39 inches to 32.
A total loss of 17 centimeters Ė 7 inches.
Resting heart rate: From 94 to 66.
Blood cholesterol: From 254 to 220. (I still have to work on that one!)
Size: From 16 (occasionally 18!) to 10. From XXL to M Ė and sometimes S!
But the things Iím really proud of donít involve numbers. They are the non-scale victories, my fitness achievements, my strength and health proofs that I trade for nothing. All these things that a year ago I couldnít imagine myself doing and I couldnít actually do more than one or a few no matter how hard I tried. Iím talking about pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, planks, reverse planks, bicycle crunches. Iím talking about jogging all my way to my kidsí school. Iím talking about running up three floors in my apartment building. Iím talking about chasing my kids in the park. About health. About endurance. About strength. About freedom.
The benefits of exercise are the invaluable gift I got from my fitness journey. My strength is much more important than reduced sizes, clothes that fit or the number on the scale. Not that these didnít make me happy of course! But what makes me even happier are all those everyday moves that I can do freely now. I can bend and tie up my shoe laces without feeling that the increased pressure will make something burst! I can run if Iím in a hurry Ė no, I couldnít do this simple thing before! And numerous other things that I know many of you can imagine.
This is how I looked before:
And a before-and-after picture:
The picture on the left was taken on the day I joined SP in 2009.
I havenít reached my goal yet but I really donít mind. It just seems so difficult to lose any more weight and to break through this plateau and Iím not sure I want to go to extremes in order to see a smaller number on the scale. After all, I feel happy with the image in the mirror. And those few things that bother me can either be fixed with exercise or can never be fixed! They are just ďtime and experience marksĒ as I usually call them - just like face wrinkles. The only thing that bothers me is this cholesterol which is still a bit high and my doctor is sure that a few more pounds lost will definitely make a difference. Iíll just keep on with my healthy habits, wait and see!
What I really hope is that in 2013 on my husbandís birthday I will be able to post a blog here with the same maintained numbers and maybe some fitness accomplishments. Until then, I decided to launch a blog series about my journey. Iíll remember and share with you my thoughts, my struggles, my feelings, my success strategies. If I can help just one person to find the key to their own success, it will really be worth this journey.
Iíll just spread the Spark! Thatís my new mission.
Friday, June 15, 2012
When I first joined Sparkpeople back in 2009, her story was the first inspirational success story I read. I was amazed by her courage, by her struggle as a parent, by her choices and her hard work. She became one of my first Sparkfriends. Without knowing it, sheís been one of my best sources of inspiration. She became a runner. I would always read her training blogs with enthusiasm because they would always help me find the strength inside me to follow her example and find the athlete in me. Her race blogs would bring tears to my eyes. Tears of pride and happiness for a friend Iíve never met, I probably never will but has made a great impact on my life.
Her name is Jess. In the Sparkpeople world, she is known as WANT2BEFIT10.
Tomorrow sheís running her first marathon. I really wish I could be there to support her, to tell her how much I believe in her, to celebrate her successful journey in the runnersí world. But since I canít do that, I thought Iíd write this blog to offer wholeheartedly my best wishes for good luck.
So, Jess, this is for you. A little inspiration for tomorrow. For YOUR day.
You can do this. Your mind and your soul have been ready for this for a long time now. Your body has no other choice but to follow.
Iíll ďseeĒ you at the finish line!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
During all those past years that I had been experimenting with weight loss and different kinds of diets, me and my fellow-dieters Ė some friends that had been in the same time-consuming, energy-draining, frustrating and disappointing dieting nightmare Ė would always keep in mind the same word: maintenance! Why? Simply because in the mind of a veteran dieter that would mean the end of the torture! Going into maintenance means we have reached our goal weight and we are finally allowed to indulge on some of our favorite treats that we were forbidden to even look at during all those months of dieting! What a huge misconception!
The truth about maintenance is far from this. And there is one single, ugly truth about it that if you have adopted the way of thinking mentioned above, you probably donít want to hear about. But youíd better realize it now before you go into the above kind of maintenance and ruin all your hard efforts to lose weight.
Maintenance is not the second part of your diet. Itís not a specific period in your weight loss attempt.
Maintenance is actually the rest of your life. Period.
If you persuade yourself that now that you have reached your goals, you are actually allowed to go back to your old habits, youíre literally fooling yourself. Itís like having quit smoking. After a year of being smoke-free you decide that itís ok to have a cigarette at this high school reunion. After all what kind of harm can one do? But one leads to another and before you know it, you find yourself purchasing a brand new packet of cigarettes. And you might be thinking right now that the example is not very successful because smoking is an addiction. And Iíll agree with you. But think about when you started your weight loss journey. Do you remember how hard it was to quit on that every day soda or how difficult it seemed to resist those tasty hamburgers at the fast food restaurant at the corner? Didnít it seem like an addiction back then? Do you remember how hard you had to push yourself to go to the gym or get out the door for that run or push in the dvd and do a workout for 30 minutes? Do you know how easy it is to allow yourself to ďtake a breakĒ? And this break could actually become so long that it could easily bring you back to square one!
And at this point you might be wondering: ďSo, what? Do I have to diet for the rest of my life? Do I have to run a marathon every week in order to maintain my weight?Ē
Of course not.
While on your weight loss journey, you should always keep your mind on maintenance. No, Iím not kidding here. You should do exactly as I did when I was on diet after diet but you should look at maintenance from a very different point of view. It shouldnít seem like the life-saving oasis at the end of your strict and depriving dieting desert! It should be your guide to choosing your new way of life. Maintenance in your mind should be the equivalent to lifetime habits. Every day of your journey you should take small steps into changing your bad habits with new healthy ones. And before establishing it as part of your healthy lifestyle, you should consider: ďIs this a habit that I will be able to maintain when I reach my goal weight? Is this something that I can do for the rest of my life?Ē And make the right adjustments where necessary.
It will take time. Lots of time actually. But youíll be fighting with the right weapons. Strict diets and exercise schedules designed for Superman can bring results fast. But you have to choose if fast is more important to you than long-lasting. If you want to lose weight and keep it lost forever, you just canít choose the fast way. Because itís just changing the surface not the roots of the problem. So, at some point youíll have to do it all over again. Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It makes sense, doesnít it?
So, if youíre just starting out with your weight loss journey or if, for some reason, something is just not working out and youíre not getting results, rethink about your battle. Choose your weapons wisely. Lead yourself to victory. Succeed. Because you can.
Monday, June 11, 2012
What happens when an adult is brought in a situation where they have to do something that has long been forgotten since their school years? When, all of a sudden, you find yourself in a school surrounded by hundreds of kids, parents and teachers who are actually staring at you and are waiting for your performance?
Well, if this was some kind of research, we could easily provide some really interesting results. For those of you who havenít read my previous blog, Iím talking about the parentsí dance performance at the schoolís end-of-year celebration last Friday!
Now that I think about it, it was kind of funny. You could see a group of parents who usually preach their children daily about being strong and courageous and taking chances and not be afraid of trying new thingsÖ being the exact opposite! One could track down hundreds of anxiety symptoms just by looking at us! Trembling legs, racing hearts, over-sweating, stomach butterflies, to name just a few. In addition to this, we were the first parents to try something like that in our school. If you could see the look into the eyes of the other parents who were seated comfortably in front of us, you could ďreadĒ the high expectations in their eyesÖ
But, we did it! Iíll borrow the words from a good Sparkfriend of mine. We surprised them! And we surprised ourselves! We were good, really good! Yes, of course we made a few mistakes but we were enjoying this so much that we managed to pass on our positive energy to everyone. And, yes, we got, a big applause, and yes, we felt proud! And yes, weíll do it again next year if we have the chance.
This whole thing may seem irrelevant to Sparkpeople and our health journeys but itís not! Itís been almost a year since I consistently started trying to change my lifestyle and myself. A year ago, I would never have tried something like this. First of all, I lacked the physical endurance. Being obese and with little to no exercise in my daily schedule, I would never have made it through a half-an-hour non-stop dancing performance. Secondly, I didnít have the required self-esteem, determination and, well, guts to go ahead and dance in front of so many people! And these changes were made with the invaluable help of this community.
There are people here who have made a great impact on my life and with whom I feel like Iíve known them for years even though Iíve never met them in person. Which is kind of weird for me because I never believed in human relationships over the internet! And for months now Iíve been feeling like my relationship with these Sparkfriends is not on equal terms. I mean, when I ďtalkĒ to you by leaving messages on your page or commenting on your blogs, I ďseeĒ you. I have a visual image of you in my mind. What do you have of me? Probably, my little girly image in my profile pic Ė which is actually very characteristic of me because Iíve always loved Sarah Kay images, but, still itís nothing real. So, I made a big decision for me. I decided that itís time to meet my Sparkfriends ďin personĒ! So, Beth, Jess, Nikki, Carole, Sharon, Tammy, Suzanne, Annie, Jennifer, Minna, Sarah, Shannon, Tambi, Debbie, Whitney, Leela, Liss, Carolyne, Mitzi, Bren and all of you new or old Sparkfriends whose real names I donít know, thatís me just before dancing last Friday.
You have all inspired me, helped me and been part of my health journey.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
Thursday, June 07, 2012
And not only physically! Iím about to do something that requires lots of other characteristics which I didnít know I have, or maybe I donít! But let me be more specificÖ
Last September, at the beginning of the new school year the parentsí committee at my daughtersí school announced the beginning of a parentsí dancing class. Now, when I say ďdancingĒ, donít let your mind go to rumba, tango or other ďdancing-with-the-starsĒ kind of dances! Weíre talking about traditional dances of our country Ė I think itís called line dancing Ė which is performed in small or big groups and usually in a cycle. Still, itís difficult. It requires learning the steps, counting and being adequately fit and having lots of physical endurance. Iíve always loved dancing of all kinds. And having already lost some weight and embarked on my fitness journey, I decided to join!
The classes were really fun. They were once a week and they were a stress-relief for me. And as a stay-at-home-mom, they were also a good opportunity to get out of the house and meet with other people. But a few weeks before Easter we realized that there was a bigger challenge ahead of us! Our teacher told us that all kidsí classes traditionally take part at the end-of-the-year celebration, dancing in front of the whole school. So, we will have to do the same!!!
Now, let me point out a few things. Iím as shy as a 3-year-old hiding behind his mom every time someone smiles at him! Iím self-conscious beyond imagination! Iím the kind of person who gets sort of ďparalyzedĒ under circumstances of stress and feeling nervous! As a student, I used to dread days like these where I had to talk, dance, perform or just stand in front of so many people! I absolutely love pictures and videos as long as I stand behind the camera! I blush when I talk in front of people I donít know very well! And tomorrow Iím going to dance in front of a whole school with so many students, parents and teachers looking at us, with cameras and lights in front of us and with my two little girls waiting to feel proud of their mommy Ė thatís the toughest one!!!
Comfort zone: circumstances under which you feel comfortable with yourself. In physical terms, when your heart rate is as high as you can handle, you can still talk without being out of breath and you feel like you still have enough endurance to keep you going. Itís surely difficult to step out of it. You must push yourself to your limits, you must be ready for more. But thereís also comfort zone in emotional and psychological terms. We usually choose activities that we feel weíre better at, that we think they are more suitable for us and we donít want to step out of this ďcomfort zoneĒ for many reasons. Weíre scared, embarrassed, we have low self-esteem, we donít believe in our abilities, and the list goes on.
But this site can do miracles! The motivation and the inspiration found here together with the changes on our bodies that weíve worked so hard for can cause a change in our attitude, too. We can take risks and try new things! We can stare back at the comfort zone weíve boldly stepped out of and wonder: ďDid I really do that?Ē
What did your weight loss make you want to try? How did you step out of your comfort zone? Were you successful? Iíd like to hear your stories and try to feel more positive for my attempt tomorrow. In the meantime, some "good luck" wishes and lots of positive vibes could be greatly appreciated! I donít want to be humiliated in front of my little girls and my husband! Keep your fingers crossed!
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