Monday, August 15, 2011
Do you believe that you cannot lose weight? Are you in mid-life and the pounds stick on you like concrete? Are you depressed about it? Have you given up thinking you'll ever be your former, active, thinner self? Well, these statements each describe me in summer 2009. I went to a family reunion and saw a picture of myself standing by someone who I always thought was fairly overweight. There I was: not looking much different. My face was so fat. I wore a skirt to the reunion because I was so fearful of wearing shorts. Today, almost two years later, I've lost 9.5# and fully plan to keep going. So, what worked? I have identified and overcome some key myths. I'll share them now:
Myth #1: You have to be a hard-body to "be in shape." Nope! Exercise is more about direction than perfection. I have found that stepping up my exercise time is more helpful that sticking to a rigid, hard-body routine. I hike, walk, bike, and do stretching and yoga. I don't do exercise classes (they are my version of h__l) but I DO get at least 180 to 210 minute of exercise/week. So, my advice: if you walk, double the time. If you do anything in front of the TV such as an exercise video, add 10 minutes to it. But, most importantly: use the SP Fitness Trackers religiously. You don't have to be or look like Jane Fonda to get in shape!
Myth 2: Being thin, really thin, is the only measure of success. Not true! It's taken me 4-ever to lose weight so I have to measure success by determining: a) if I write down what I eat 4-5 X week b) if I get at least 180 to 210 minutes of exercise a week c) if I eat 5 fruits/veggies on most days d) if I drink a lot less wine e) if I log on SP every day and f) if I reduce carbs (especially in the AM and at lunch). If I only measured progress by the scale, I would have given up months ago believing that family reunion picture was the new normal.
Myth 3: Eating healthy means cottage cheese, celery and crappy food. The biggest myth of all! I simply refuse to eat bad or bland food and it's totally unnecessary. There are millions of healthy recipes on-line, including SP. I feel that taking the time and energy (not always necessarily more money) to cook REALLY good food is my #1 secret to eating fewer calories. Tips: use spices; plan your snacks ahead; use small plates to control portions; in the beginning, measure out portions so you know how much an oz. or cup is; and, above all, DO NOT stress out if you mess up -- just keep logging onto SP and hold yourself accountable but don't beat yourself over the head.
Myth 4: You have to be in a perfect mental state to achieve your goals. Wrong again! Many say that you have to have a good mental attitude before losing weight. However, this attitude can evolve over time. When I first started, I never thought I could do it. So, I just did SP every day even if I wasn't believing in myself. In other words, I didn't wait to get a good attitude before proceeding with behavior changes.
Myth #5: Losing weight is about looks. No...ultimately, losing weight isn't just about your body, it's also about your mind and spirit. I love feeling thinner and fitting in my pants better ~~ but most importantly, I love having more energy & rejecting the horrible food that is so available to us (like a McDonald's drive thru). I love connecting to that inner self that wants to live a long, healthy, disease-free life. These are the goals that motivate, not looking like the air-brushed super models that grace our presence at the grocery store check out line. (These images, whether they are male or female, destroy us. I suggest you blow them off.)
Myth #6: I'm too busy to be healthy. This myth is especially destructive! Now, I do NOT have time to NOT live a healthier lifestyle. On a super busy day, sometimes all I can do is 5 or 10 minutes of yoga but have learned it's ok. If I have to get fast food, I'll swing by Subway or a health food store's Deli instead of going for the Big Mac. If I have 2 extra minutes before a meeting, I'll put a V-8 with almonds in my purse for a snack (instead of sweet rolls). My point: every little thing you can do to be healthier every single day ~~ helps. Again, don't worry about doing it perfectly. (Finally, if you think you don't have time to exercise, count the minutes of TV watching you do everyday. For most of us, it's astounding.)
I hope this post helps someone. Again, I never thought I'd see "Lost 9.5#" on my SP weight tracker. I plan to eventually see it read "Lost 20" but it's probably going to take another two years. In the meantime, I'm on my way to evolving into a happier, healthier, calmer person. And that my SP friends, is real success.