Things I wish I'd Known (But it's never too late to learn...)
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Like many SP members, I've been on the weight loss roller coaster for about 12 years now. It all started when I got my first job out of college, and suddenly, I had money AND was part of a group that went out for yummy lunches almost every day. Of course, I had no concept of portion control and figured as long as I kept going to the gym, I'd be okay. WRONG!!!!
When I started noticing that my clothes were too tight, I'd "be good" for a few months and then return to my old eating habits as soon as they started to fit again. Fast forward to a few years later, when I took a nutrition class as part of my grad work. One of our requirements was to do a food journal for 1 week. Man, was that an eye-opener! All the gym time in the world wouldn't have made up for my indiscretions! It was also the first time I realized that I was headed for an unhealthy weight, so off to Weight Watchers I went.
Now, to the "what I wish I'd known" part. My first experience with WW was almost too easy. 18 lbs came right off and, after the first week, I barely knew I was on a "diet." "This is a cinch," I thought, and once I reached my goal, I was confident that I could stop tracking and maintain. WRONG AGAIN!!!!! (Starting to see a pattern here? :) )
Now, hop in your DeLorean and rev it up to 88 one more time, cause we're fast-forwarding again. I rejoined WW this past September, only this time, I decided to do meetings instead of online. This time around, it's taken me 6 months to lose 11 of 15 lbs - and that's where the learning comes in. Things I now know:
1. Gains happen. I can do everything right, and the scale will still move in the wrong direction. It's a common saying on SP that weight loss is not a linear process, and that's really true.
2. Gains can hurt my progress, but only if I let them. In the not-so-distant past, a gain would have meant throwing up my hands and giving up. What's the point of all this hard work if I'm not losing weight? Now, they're just bumps in the road and I don't let them ruin my week.
3. Making healthy choices is important. Gone are the days when I could mainline soda and pizza and still be 110. I am no longer a 16 year-old competitive sprinter. (Sigh... :) )
4. Measure, measure, measure! My husband teases me about the measuring cups that fall out of every cabinet, but without them, portion distortion sets in.
5. The body - especially the female body - does what it wants at first, but eventually cooperates. I finally started weight training, and WHAM!, up 2 lbs. during my first weigh-in thereafter. A month later, my body has decided it's actually okay with the weight-training regime. Go figure.
6. Exercise counts, but not as much as healthy choices. I've never been a slacker when it comes to exercising. I enjoy it, it's my me time, and I've never really struggled with motivation to work out. But, for someone my size, a 45 minute spin class represents about 400 calories burned. My average breakfast is 470 calories.
7. Finally, don't give up! Honestly, I thought I'd be at goal by now, but I'm not. Conclusion: so what? That's no reason not to keep plugging away. I'm learning a lot more than I ever did when the lbs. just fell off and I feel confident that I'll make it to goal and stay there. Who cares how long it takes? I've got a good 70 years left on earth at this point. (Well, unless I get hit by a bus or drop dead during a marathon spin class. ;) )
Ok, that was long-winded enough. Thanks for reading!