Thursday, May 10, 2012
"It's a lifestyle change, not a diet".
We hear these words over and over again around here. We say it to ourselves, like a mantra.
For the first time in my life, I actually know what it means (to me), and I'm finally losing weight.
I heard it put another way recently when I read, "If I can't do something for my entire life, why would I do it even for a week?" This has really resonated with me.
It's been 17 days since I bought a scale, was mortified by the number on it, and really got serious. In 17 days I've lost 5 pounds. Real ones. Not water weight or crazy diet weight. Real, 17 day, lifestyle- change- pounds, gone. The way I've done it has been different than any other time I've tried to lose weight. For the first time, I've created something I think is really sustainable as a way to live my life.
Before 17 days ago, and for a very long time, I was eating LITERALLY whatever I wanted, in whatever amount I wanted it. I ate fast food most days of the week, sometimes more than once in a day. I'm lucky I'm not much, much more overweight. I really, really enjoy food. I am an avid home cook. I'm the fiancée to a man who can eat ANYTHING and stay slim. I enjoy cooking for my family. I love cheese. Fancy, stinky, runny, delicious cheese. Not to mention wine. I never met a pizza I didn't like, whether it was a fancy homemade one, or one from the Papa. Let's not forget bacon. And biscuits. And chocolate. How can I live a life without those things?? I finally found the answer. I can't, and I won't.
Over the past 17 days, I've had all those things (except fast food, that is the one and only thing I have completely banned, forever and ever, amen..). What's different? I've had them LESS. Yes, it's been that simple. Just, LESS. I've had one biscuit, not 4 or 5 a week. I had a cheese and fruit plate once for dinner. It was more fruit this time and less cheese. I had it once, not once a week. I've had pizza. Once. I almost let that one get me down, let it convince me I had messed up forever. That was week one. I had that pizza and there are still 5 pounds off of me. I had a chocolate cupcake yesterday from my favorite bake shop. I used to have them 2 or 3 times a week. I woke up twice during my first week to the smell of bacon and my lovely fiancée asking if I wanted cheese on my eggs and how many biscuits, dear? My answer: No cheese, no biscuits, please. I had bacon and eggs. Before I would have had cheese (100 calories) and 2 biscuits (450 calories!!!). Living a life forever without the above foods is simply not sustainable for me. It's not a lifestyle I can get down with. But having less of them has been easy-ish.
I also do LESS weighing. That scale can really get you down if you hop on it too much. I strictly limit myself to once a week, max.
Of course, I'm also doing a lot of MORE. My life, by nature, isn't sedentary. I have a 7 month old. I'm constantly carrying him around, or bending over to pick him up, or throwing him in the air for his favorite game, Superhero Joe. I think SP should have a weight lifting exercise called "baby lifts". My particular weight is 17 pounds. His car seat is heavy and I'm forever lugging it around. When he's sleeping I'm doing housework or gardening, both exercises I don't track. However, in addition to all of the above, I'm doing MORE. More walking, more going to the gym, more weight lifting, more WATER. More hooping, more dancing. More fruits, more vegetables, more fiber and more protein. MORE TRACKING. I track everything, even if it isn't "diet" food. I usually find out that it isn't is bad as I thought, which keeps me from thinking the whole day is ruined. For 14 days of the past 17 I haven't been able to make it to the gym because my fiancée was out of town and my gym doesn't have child care. I was really worried that I would get lazy. I haven't. I just put my kid in his stroller and off we go. Sitting to write this blog has probably been the longest stretch in a while. I just try to stay off my butt MORE.
In the past I would go all out, all at once. Exercise until I felt like dying, and eat things I hated, or at least nothing of what I loved. I'd always fall off the wagon in a week, max. I was miserable, and never lost a pound. The only time I've ever lost any real weight was when I was forced to change my lifestyle. I'm referring to a period in my life of two years when I didn't have a car and got everywhere walking or on a bicycle. I lost about 50 pounds without changing my diet, simply because I got a HUGE amount of exercise every single day. As soon as I got a vehicle, it all came back, plus some. That lifestyle just wasn't sustainable, just like a life without any food I like, ever, isn't going to be.
I also learned one more thing, regarding goals. I was beginning to beat myself up on days when I didn't meet my goals. If I went over my calories a little, or didn't exercise as much as I had set a goal for, I would feel bad. Then I remembered it's a goal, not an absolute rule. A goal is something to strive for, something to work towards. If I don't get there every day or every time, it's ok. I will try harder next time, and it's certainly no reason to give up altogether.
I hope this blog (if you can get through the whole thing..sheesh!) will help people just starting out to realize that it doesn't have to be miserable. Almost everything in moderation can be a good thing. I hope also to gain strength from it myself in the future when I'm feeling like quitting.