Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Sometimes I ask myself why I am succeeding on losing weight when I've failed so many times before. That's a tough question, but I decided to just list some of the contributing factors.
1. I'm in a period of stability. Stable job, stable family members, structured routines, etc.
2. I've failed in the past but learned key lessons. For example, in 2001 I lost weight using weight watchers. Even though I gained all the weight back, I learned some important lessons about food preparation, journaling, exercise and staying accountable.
3. I understand it's going to take time. So many times I wake up and want the weight gone already, but I've been fat for years. If I don't use this time to learn healthier habits, once I lose the weight, I won't keep it off.
4. I'm an empty nester and (for the most part) live alone. I don't have to cook for anyone and I have total control over the food that enters my house. When I dropped weight 10 years ago, I joined a gym with a child care facility and had my then-10 year old daughter help me prepare WW recipes. I would also buy snacks she loved but stuff I could resist.
5. My commute to work is shorter. For seven years I drove 45 minutes one way. That was 90 minutes out of my day. Now, my commute is 20 minutes. I use the balance to exercise.
6. My job is not too demanding and I work a regular schedule.
7. I was "ready". Just tired of being fat. Scared of becoming diabetic. Tired of looking old. As I've mentioned before, black women don't get wrinkled when we age, we get fat. As an aside, I feel sorry for teen girls who are 30 or more pounds overweight. It's tough to date and fit in. What will they weigh by the time they're 30 or 40? I was only 15 pounds overweight as a teen. I might as well have been fifty.
8. I ditched the all or nothing mentality. On this journey, I've eaten cake, bbq, pizza, fried chicken, ice cream. You name it. And I still lost weight. It doesn't work for me to quit eating less healthier stuff. The difference is, those are treats not staples.
9. I eat the same stuff over and over again. I really LIKE my unfried chicken, pistachios, smoothies, sandwiches with guacamole, carrots and hummus. These are things I would eat anyway.
10. I'm serious about exercise. Ten years ago when I lost weight, I got up at 5:50 a.m. every weekday morning and walked 2 miles. Now, I go to the gym 3-5 days a week. Sometimes I walk around the neighborhood or go hiking, but mostly I spend time in the gym on the machines or lifting weights.
11. I'm consistent. I blow a weekend? So what? I get back on track. Eat too much pizza? So what? I get back on track. Every week you have 21 meals. If you screw up two of them, that's only 10% of your meals. Eat clean 90% of the time and you'll lose weight.
12. I stay accountable and focused with SP. I blog, read other blogs, look at my inspiration pics and the pic of me near my goal weight 10 years ago. I read health and fitness magazines and information from other websites. Anything to keep me in the mental zone I need to stay in.
Whatever you do, find an eating and exercise plan that's uniquely yours. Keep it healthy, stay patient, be accountable and consistent. I'm still going strong after seven months. I probably won't reach goal until after 2013, but I'm still here, planning my work and working my plan.
Onward and downward.
Monday, July 23, 2012
This weekend was fun, fun, fun. I kicked off Friday night with happy hour on the town with friends that morphed into club hopping, which is funny when you're in your forties. The main difference is that we preferred venues with live music because unless it's "grown folk" night at the lounge, we're not going to like today's club music. I didn't get home until after 1 a.m., which is late for me these days.
Saturday I went to the wedding of a young man that I watched grow up. His mother is a good friend of mine and when she was pregnant with him, she was due on my birthday. I've bonded with the kid ever since. The wedding was beautiful, and, as expected my ex-husband and his family attended. The refrain I kept hearing after losing nearly 40 pounds? "You look so YOUNG." And I FELT young. At the reception, I was on the dance floor for all of the line dances--the electric slide, the cha-cha slide, the wobble. Just full of energy and having a lovely time despite club-hoppin' on the previous night. Energy like this is a blessing!
Sunday, I attended a Royals baseball game. We lost because our team has been terrible for years. Still, there's nothing like the experience of being in the ball park.
How did I do with my eating and exercise? I give myself a "C". The good was that I stayed conscious of what I was putting in my mouth and tried to make wise food choices. I also managed to stay within my calorie limits. The bad is that I did not eat many fruits and veggies, so those calories came from stuff like alcohol, popcorn, hot dogs, and snacky-snacks. I haven't exercised since Thursday.
Well, today, I'm home and ready to get back on track. I've had my smoothie and have packed my lunch and my gym bag. Here we go.
Onward and downward.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Today, when I weighed in, I discovered I had dropped another pound. Needless to say, I'm delighted. Now, I've lost a total of 38 pounds. The weight that I am at today symbolizes something else. I have not weighed less than this in more than seven years.
Five years ago, I lost weight because my family went on a trip to Las Vegas. A well-connected cousin hooked us up with tickets to a celebrity-studded awards show. I wanted to look my best so I lost a lot of weight. I was feeling good about myself until I arrived in Vegas and realized that I was still a big girl. When you live in the south or the midwest, most of the people around you are overweight, so it's no big deal. Not so on the east or the west coasts.
Some of the celebrities you see in the music videos and on TV are really tiny. So if you are wearing a size 14 standing next to them, you look huge. Mind you, I was never treated rudely, nor were any of my other heavier family members, but the experience made me feel invisible.
The lesson I learned is that my work to drop the weight was not done then and it is not done now. My waist is still more than 35", which means I'm still carrying a lot of visceral fat. A BMI of 28 is not enough to prevent diabetes. I'm glad to be at this weight, but I am reminded from past experience that I have more to do.
Last time I was at this weight, I quit the program at the first sign of stress and gained it all back. This time, I am not going to let that happen. I still have 29 pounds left to lose and even then, I will need to maintain that loss.
This program is totally doable. I just need to stay patient, be persistent and be vigilant.
Onward and downward.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Recently, I enrolled in an eight-week course at work that focuses on teaching healthier diet and exercise habits. Each week, you have to read one chapter in a workbook, fill out a quiz and discuss the day's topic during the class. The classes focus on one theme each week related to nutrition, motivation, fitness, emotional eating, etc.
The class has a total of 12 women, who range in age from 27 to about 62 and range from a few pounds overweight to morbidly obese. Our facilitator is a 32 year-old man who is a certified trainer and has a bachelor's degree in a fitness-related field. He runs at least one or more marathons a year.
Much of the information shared in the class is familiar, but he said some things that challenged my thinking, which I'm listing below:
1. Whatever exercise you're the worst at, go do it. You probably hate it because it's challenging and you need to get past that.
2. You never stop setting fitness goals. Even after you reach your goal weight, set new goals. Run a 5K. Then run a 10K or a half-marathon. Whatever you do, set a concrete fitness goal and get after it.
3. Don't exercise outdoors on days that your city has an ozone alert. It's bad for your lungs.
4. You are never going to LOVE exercise if you don't already. It's hard work and can be a drag at times. Just focus on how it makes you feel and it's impact on your appearance and weight.
5. If you don't have time to exercise, you need to reframe what you're really saying. The fact is, you are not making exercise a priority in your life. If you don't make it a priority, you will fail.
6. Surround yourself with fitness oriented people if you are not getting support from home. Find a runner's group. Sign up for a class.
7. Your new habits are going to threaten the people around you. Overweight is the new norm in our society. As your habits change, your friends and family will notice and start feeling inadequate. People have gotten divorced because one spouse adopted a healthier lifestyle.
8. Find an exercise to do that seems scary or intimidating. Hit the gym and lift weights. Do something to take yourself out of your comfort zone.
9. If you travel, book a hotel with a good workout facility. If they don't have one, don't stay there.
10. DON'T TELL ME YOU'RE TOO BUSY TO EXERCISE. If you tell me that, bring me your work schedule laid out in 15 minute increments. I guarantee I will find 30 minutes during each day for you to get a workout in.
These weekly face-to-face meetings have been helpful to me on my journey. I am considering finding another area support group once this class is complete.
Onward and downward.
Monday, July 16, 2012
The last couple of weeks I haven't felt motivated to do much of anything. I was kicking, screaming and whining about maintaining my new habits.
Today, though, I feel different. I feel motivated and inspired to continue this journey. I've had a series of non-scale victories that have helped me understand that eventually I will arrive at my destination.
Yesterday, I went shopping for casual summer clothes. The summer stock is on sale now, and the stuff I wore last year doesn't look quite right. I must've tried on about a dozen different outfits in several sizes. I hadn't been in the misses sizes in so long I had forgotten that the clothes are cheaper! Plus, the choices in styles and where I can shop were nearly overwhelming. Because I haven't been at this weight in awhile, I was trying on lots of different types of outfits, just to figure out what worked and what didn't. Before, when I'd try on clothing, I would purchase something simply because it fit. Now, I have to think about whether or not the outfit is age appropriate, because the styles are so much more youthful.
My shopping expedition was a celebration of the new me. A chance to revel in the progress I've made and to reward myself with a few items of clothing to get me through the rest of the season. Instead of focusing on the work that's left to do, I was focused on my progress and the results of all those hours in the gym and nearly seven months of 1,200 to 1,600 calorie days. All those days when I was longing for the moment when I'd look in the mirror and be pleased with my appearance.
Somehow, the celebration ignited my motivation to push forward on this journey and see it through. Besides, celebrating success is so much more fun than looking at the work that's left to do. It is reassurance that, yes, I CAN do this. The confidence has given my motivation a much needed shot in the arm. AND it had NOTHING to do with the number on the scale.
So the lesson I've just internalized is how IMPORTANT it is to truly celebrate your success, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant. Reward yourself, nurture your spirit, take a moment to revel in and appreciate the awesomeness of what your body can do. It will make you feel better and keep your motivation ignited.
Onward and downward.
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