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.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
As I continue to pour over magazine articles, blogs and videos about weight loss. I keep noticing the phrase "weight loss is a by product of a healthy lifestyle." I understand the thinking behind the phrase. The idea is that if we eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly, then we will lose weight. It is certainly better to lose weight in a healthful way, than, say a diet of coffee and cigarettes or adopting some hare-brained scheme like tapeworm pills, body wraps or colonics.
But, to me, the phrase sounds like another "take the die out of diet" cliche. It assumes a healthy lifestyle automatically leads to weight loss. I believe the assumption is wrong and here's why. Ultimately, losing weight is about burning off more energy than you consume. It means that you are either moving more or eating less. If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, there is no guarantee that you will lose weight. You will probably improve your energy level and sense of well-being with healthier habits. But weight loss? Still a question mark.
You could walk for 30 minutes four times a week, eat oatmeal, nuts, seeds, salads and drink orange juice and never lose weight because it still comes down to calories consumed versus calories burned. The exercise might not be intense enough. Maybe the healthful foods you consume add up to thousands of calories a day. There are lots of healthy overweight people out there. They are eating right and exercising. The doctor has given them a clean bill of health. But they are still overweight. Why? Calories in versus calories out.
I've adopted a healthier lifestyle, but I don't view weight loss as a side effect. Weight loss is my intention. My weight is a risk factor for diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. The only way to minimize the risk is to drop the weight. Therefore, every day, I have to create a calorie deficit so that my body will burn fat. And, as everyone knows, creating a calorie deficit through diet or exercise is hard work. If it was easy to do, there would not be a billion dollar weight loss industry begging for our hard-earned dollars.
True, I have the rest of my life to build a healthier lifestyle and I don't knock that line of thinking. But too often, I'll read stuff like. "Don't give yourself a deadline for losing the weight." Advice like that doesn't work for me because my weight is now affecting my health. To me, realistic deadlines, like one or two pounds a week are necessary.
So is it a lifestyle or a diet? It's both if you want to lose weight and keep it off. The diet will create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight. The lifestyle is the culmination of healthy habits you build during the act of losing the weight. Once the weight is gone, you'll add calories back into your diet, but if you ditch the healthy habits, the weight is going to return.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Today, my meetup group went hiking for 90 minutes at one of the most beautiful parks in the metropolitan area. After the hike, we went to lunch at a nearby brewhaus. I handled it well; I had a walnut cranberry salad with grilled chicken and it was fabulous!
When I entered the hike in my fitness tracker, it showed I'd burned off about 800 calories. Wow! Really?! Then this weird message popped up saying that I wasn't eating enough for the calories I'm burning. I don't hike every week, so I'll write the message off as an anomaly. My daily calorie intake averages 1,500. If I want to take off 1.5 pounds a week, that's where I'm supposed to be.
I'm in a really good mood today. This morning, I wore a simple fitted t-shirt with jeans. There were no rolls on my waist or back fat. No more Michelin man look! It's an amazing non-scale victory. Also, at the gym track yesterday, I alternated walking with jogging for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, I realized that I was able to jog without feeling out of breath or like I was running in quicksand. In fact, it was rather.....fun. Wow!
I still have a ways to go with the jogging. My biggest barrier is feeling self conscious about my chest bouncing around, but I have a really good sports bra now, so yesterday it wasn't an issue. I also used to hate how tired and miserable it made me feel. But now that I have a plan to ease into it, I'm doing much better. Baby steps, baby steps. Who knows? Maybe one day, I'll be in shape enough to run a 5K.
Onward and downward.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Yesterday afternoon, I received some discouraging financial news. After work, I phoned a girlfriend and cried on the phone with her. I vented a few moments, my girlfriend shared some encouraging thoughts and then she said, "Go to the gym and work out."
So I did. It wasn't the greatest workout because I was feeling depressed and crabby. I was hopin' no one would notice my swollen, baggy eyes. But the workout did one thing. It totally distracted me from my problems. Somehow, in the midst of lifting weights, my focus shifted to counting reps and what machine or free weight I was going to work with next. By the time my workout was complete, I was still depressed, but I felt calmer.
On the way home I contemplated stopping and grabbing something or other from a fast food joint, but I stood firm. If I was going to mess up my eating, it was going to happen at home. I had visions of plowing through an entire box of skinny cows. But, when I got home, that's not what happened. I ended up eating turkey and one skinny cow. Despite the stress, I had stayed within my calorie limits, drank lots of water, worked out at the gym, and even got all my fruits and vegetables in.
This morning, I feel better. I did an internet search regarding my situation and realized I still have options. I know that like all the other crap I've been through, this, too shall pass. All I can do is keep my head up and keep pushing forward.
Onward and downward.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I met up with my friends yesterday for dinner at a Chinese buffet. I didnít fare that well with the buffet food, although I did the best that I could. I give myself a B- in terms of how I handled the buffet. I started with egg drop soup and a salad with just a little dressing. Next plate was mussels and boiled shrimp. Plate two consisted of small samples of any meat that was not fried, with the exception of one piece of fried shrimp. I avoided the sauces, anything fried, noodles and rice. Still, I probably just ate too dang much. Iíve improved my ability to handle the occasional buffet and am confident that Iíll do even better next time. Fortunately, I planned ahead and banked calories earlier in the week, so Iím still averaging about 1500 calories.
When my friends saw me, my weight loss was the first thing they noticed. But what was interesting was that they didnít just say I looked thinner, they were telling me that I looked healthy, less stressed and ďrested.Ē They understood how much Iíve endured in the last two years and were glad to see that I didnít just survive it, but appear to be thriving. Another thing that I found interesting was that none of us wanted to discuss it any further. Diet and exercise talk can get boring, so I didnít want to dwell on it. I preferred to bore them with talk about my grandson.
Today, Iím back on program. Iíve packed my lunch, will go to the gym this evening and will grill a chicken breast for dinner. Iíve GOT this and itís all good.
Onward and downward.
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