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Frustrating Experience with a Relative

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yesterday, a relative of mine established a goal to lose weight. Naturally there were several family members who were full of advice, including me. I told her about SP and also recommended WW. I explained to her that she's young and her metabolism is still fast so it's a good idea to learn healthier eating habits that she can use for the long haul. I asked her to tell me what she typically orders from a fast food restaurant. She named a large burger, large order of fries and a soda. I entered it into a calorie counter and told her the meal totaled about 1,700 calories. She didn't really respond, but I'm sure she was surprised.

I asked her about exercise. She had been totally inactive. When I suggested a few ideas, she nixed them saying she didn't want to spend any money and had no child care. When I suggested other ideas, she shot them down with more excuses.

I don't think she's serious about wanting to lose weight. She didn't seem like she was listening to me or anyone else. I am bracing myself for the day when she starts complaining about lack of results. It won't be because I didn't try to help her.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NYKIMMIE 7/26/2012 7:18AM

    You will be there when she needs help,thats a good thing one she will see.

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MOBYCARP 7/25/2012 8:06PM

    She will learn when she's ready to learn, and not before.

I decided to lose weight in late 2004. I didn't admit that I needed to track what I ate until July 2011. It can take a while.

Now, my daughter talks about needing to lose weight. She does some things right, some things wrong. The best I can do for her is to be a good example; she's an adult, and she'll learn in her own time or not at all.

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BARBAELLEN 7/25/2012 3:04PM

    I've got a relative whom I see often (my mother!) who stuffs her face and precedes every bite with "I really shouldn't." It's all I can do to keep from screaming, "well, why are you?!" I'm fed up with hearing her talk about how she doesn't eat very much and how she "really should go" to the fitness center but doesn't. She appreciates the encouragement and wants to talk about all these things she is going to start doing. And then she does nothing! Can't make people take responsibility for themselves. Frustrating, for sure.

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LILSHINE 7/25/2012 2:34PM

    What is the saying you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink?! When she's ready --- she'll move but whatever you do don't pressure her or overload with opinion/advice. Just offer your assistance if she has any quesitons, need encouragement. Invite her for a walk at her pace and just keep her interested. We all had to get to a point when we were "ready". I'm sure a lot of us got offended when someone even mentioned we needed to lose weight, exercise, eat right, etc. Even when a doctor says it --- I'm like really

So hang in there with her

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BZJOHNSON 7/25/2012 12:44PM

    If it were easy, everyone would do it, right?

The good news is that - like children - she may have heard and even listened and may follow through, despite the apparent lack of interest. It WOULD be nice for you to have her support and partnership on your path, but don't be surprised if she doesn't join you.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 7/25/2012 10:58AM

    Unfortunately we all get into habits we don't feel like breaking. Many times a person has to say something several times before they even try to do it. Hopefully your advice will help her, even if she doesn't want to use it right now.

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EGALITAIRE 7/25/2012 9:45AM

    All we can do is put it out there - it is up to everyone to decide in their own time and own way. You never know when the information you gave may sink in with her. Maybe after she has tried to lose weight and gets frustrated.

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WYO_CASEY 7/25/2012 9:40AM

    People ask me for advice on losing weight all the time. I think it's like smoking...you can't make anyone do it until they are ready to. They may try, fail, try again, but until they are truely ready to make the committment, you can't do anything about it.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

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ERICADAWN1986 7/25/2012 9:16AM

    When somebody says they want to lose weight, they aren't necessarily looking for input and advice from anybody. It's one of those things that EVERYBODY wants to give you their two cents. Even though I'm sure your advice was coming from a place of love and it was good advice, she's just probably closed off to hearing anybody. If somebody is still in the "excuses making mode" no practical advice is going to help them anyway. They need to find their own motivation.

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ANDREWMOM 7/25/2012 9:06AM

    Some people (like me) have to see things for themselves and come to things slowly in theor own way. I have been on this rollercoaster for over 20 years. I have had success then failed and returned to my larger self with a vengence. Through that time I have leanrned, adjusted and started to see that success slowly return (thought i still have the occasional slip up). She sound like she is not that committed right now but might seek your advise and take it better in the future. Good luck and don't stress.

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FLEURGARDEN 7/25/2012 8:58AM

    Sadly, too many people expect a "quick fix" to their weight issues and don't really want to learn or change their behaviors. It's just easier to make excuses than to do the work necessary. Our office admin is constantly telling me why she can't lose weight and throwing up one excuse after another as to why what I'm doing to lose weight wouldn't work with her. Sigh.

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Why this time is different

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLKLILY 7/24/2012 9:15PM

    I needed this... emoticon

I do believe emoticon and will lose the weight! emoticon

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SONYALATRECE 7/24/2012 5:15PM

    That's right. Get back on track when derailed.
That's the right attitude! emoticon

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MRSBLAK27 7/24/2012 1:30PM


It is true, consistency is key, loving yourself & making it a journey that never ends but always a beautiful scenic route.

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    What the masses view as failure is often successfully identifying something that doesn't work.

Success comes to those who try and keep trying with PMA, a Positive Mental Attitude ~ W. Clement Stone

Make it a great day!

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NJJ-EXERCISE30 7/24/2012 9:11AM


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Busy weekend--challenging food wise

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITPRIS 7/23/2012 10:27AM

    I taught the Wobble in my aerobics class on Saturday!! Great core work!! By the way, I consider dancing a form of exercise.

You are doing wonderful. Isn't it great to hear how amazing you look after all your hard work?

Now, time to get back on it my friend!! emoticon

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My Vegas Weight

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TACONES 7/20/2012 6:33PM

    Congrats on the pounds lost so far & you can do it. Keep up the good work.

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/20/2012 11:31AM

    Woohoo, way to go! Congrats!

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DIBANANA 7/20/2012 11:30AM

  This is good reflection girl!

You are doing well. You don't want to go backwards for sure. You worked hard for those pounds. I know you will make your next goal.

You are doing so well.


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BARBAELLEN 7/20/2012 10:22AM

    You're right. It's all relative. I can relate to the "big" feeling. My four closest friends range in size from 0 to 4! They are healthy and don't diet. I've reached the top of the "normal" weight range, and (finally) at Size 6, I look like Baby Huey next to them.

While none of them are obsessive about calories, I've pretty well figured out what they do that's not easy for me. They order what they want, including dessert, but they always seem to stop when they are full, and something is always left on their plates. Meanwhile, I'm a member of the clean plate club! Now that I think about it, I guess I should really focus on portion control.

Anyhow - - - I don't know if I have a "patience" chip, so I'll just have to accept that. I think you've got it, though, with the "persistence" and "vigilance."

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"Don't tell me you're too busy to exercise"

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAZZEJR 7/20/2012 6:38AM

    Great advice. If we want results, we need to make a big effort. No excuses!!! emoticon

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RUSSELLORAMA 7/20/2012 1:22AM

    I took two wellness courses like this one and really enjoyed them! I'd love to find another group for support too.

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KRISZTA11 7/19/2012 3:08AM

    Good advice!

I only disagree with #4. I never liked exercise, and I learned to love running and walking, and I like my everyday strength training routine well enough.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BARBAELLEN 7/19/2012 2:01AM

    Hey, thanks for sharing this list. It really struck a chord with me. I usually read articles and tips about fitness and then forget about them shortly thereafter. However - - - this list mentioned a number of things I hadn't even thought of before. I'm keeping this list! Thanks again!

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LILSHINE 7/18/2012 8:14PM

    Great information thanks for sharing.

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FITPRIS 7/18/2012 5:36PM

    I do all of these! You have a smart instructor!!!

I'm glad you are taking the class!! Good for you!!

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KATIAT325 7/18/2012 2:17PM

    Love it! I especially agree with #7. Had an issue with my DH, because he thought I was trying to lose weight to go out and find someone else (we were at a low point in our marriage), but now he's on board with me. I pretty much laid it out that he and I, if we look at our family, are pre-disposed to obesity, alcoholism, diabetes, blood pressure, heart risk, risk of stroke, and a number of other weight-related problems. Getting better together means we have more time to be with each other. It got him on my side. My friends are coming around too. It's hard to do this without support, but I'm happy that #7 is no longer an issue for me.

I'm totally copying your points and putting them on my fridge.

You rock!
emoticon emoticon

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ERICADAWN1986 7/18/2012 2:15PM

    I love this list! On this weight loss/ healthy lifestyle journey, I have had moments where every item on this list has rung true. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

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