I can't believe that my blog "A Tail of Two 'Butts'" got so much attention. I am just happy to know that I didn't offend anyone. I can have a bit of a weird sense of humor sometimes. I remind you again that I am photo challenged to find before photos but here are a couple I found.
I thank each and everyone of you who have posted to this blog and for all your comments. Gosh over 200 now! Wow! I have enjoyed the support and congratulations so much you will never know.
I have also received many requests for details regarding my journey and what I have done to reach my current status of maintaining my weight loss. I will try to be concise in this blog...but you know it's been a long journey. I apologize now for the length and the grammar (never a strong suit). But will not apologize for the content as it comes directly from my heart. I hope you enjoy.
So a bit of history:
I was a normal healthy kid without a weight problem until I hit puberty. Then when I turned around 13 the weight kept coming on. Way back then there wasn't much knowledge on dieting and what to do. I can remember trying every diet...yes all the ones that I am sure you all have tried. The grapefruit diet, the low carb diet, starving myself, etc. I can remember my Mom taking me to our family doctor for diet pills. Yes they always worked temporarily, but then I would put the weight back on and then some. When I was around 22 years old I went to the doctors for a check up as I was having symptoms and not feeling well. The doctor did a glucose test. The news was not good. He told me that by the following month I would be diabetic, and would have to begin treatment of giving myself a needle everyday. I was so upset as my grandmother died of diabetes after losing both legs. I had 7 cousins with the disease. I thought this was the end, not to mention how I hated needles. So I cried in the doctors office and asked him what I could do, if anything to prevent this. He laughed and said "Well you can lose like 70 pounds." I left his office and went to Weight Watchers. I did lose the bulk of my weight through their old program. I will never forget my getting my first 10 pound loss pin. Calorie counting and I became good friends and I lost the weight. I can't remember exactly what my beginning weight was but it was around 190. I remember thinking wow, almost 200 on my small 5'3" small framed body. My wrist only measures about 5 inches...so yes a very small frame was hiding in there somewhere.
I wish I could say that's the end of the story but it isn't. I went up and down over the next 30 years yet never went back to the 190. And I never became diabetic. But I have struggled my whole life with eating problems. Like many of you, I avoided the scale at all costs so I do not have a lot of detail on my exact weight and at what age. I would say that my struggle is still a daily thing, but that is just fine as now, I finally have the knowledge and tools to maintain my current weight and most of all live a healthy lifestyle.
Painful things I remember when heavy:
Sneaking off to Duncan donuts or Wawa to get tons of sugary snacks. I could eat a whole Pepperidge Farms Chocolate cake, a whole package of Sarah Lee 6 count cupcakes, 6 full sized candy bars at once, whole bags of family size potato chips
Walking down the isle in high school to go to the head of the classroom for something and rubbing up against someone's desk and knocking things off and kids laughing.
Only having 3 jumpers that I could fit in and wear and always wearing a long jacket even when it was warm.
Getting my first maxi coat which I thought was wonderful since it covered up so much.....but then walking down the street and having construction workers whistle and cheer for the big butt in the maxi coat....more tears!
Gym class and having to wear the awful uniform that fit so tight it ripped. Not to mention how I couldn't do what the other girls were doing. Remember the President's Fitness yearly exam...yep, I failed that. I remember crying doing that long walk/run we all had to do. I thought I could never finish....and now doing 5 miles is no big deal.
The feeling of hopelessness...thinking I should just "give up"! I will be fat forever and just accept it.
Crying when shopping for clothes...size 14-16...again for me this was big!
So what can I say that changed and what have I done to get healthy and lose the weight forever? Well here is what I know and what I do. Many of it you have heard before. Many things I have picked up from some of you. There is no magic, I wish there was...I wish I could be the one person who can tell you that all you have to do is this...but it isn't easy, it isn't magic and it takes much effort and work. But is it worth it? I say for sure it is!!! These are in no specific order of importance just random things that work for me.
What I know now...and what I do
For me the most important thing is that it's all about calories. Everyone is different and your calorie intake can be totally different from mine. I know for my size/age and amount of exercise that I need to stay around 1200 calories per day otherwise I gain weight. I know for many of you that seems like so little. And I get questioned all the time about getting the proper nutrition and such. I assure you I eat a lot and do not suffer from hunger or a feeling of deprivation.
I got real with myself. No more excuses. No more lying to myself. That doesn't mean I don't forgive myself for slip ups but I face them dead on and make a concentrated effort to prevent future ones and to get right back on plan after a slip. It's just about the average and I know I need to average significantly more "good days" than bad.
Oh and no more of that dialog of "well you screwed up today so may as well eat anything you want" or "I'll begin again tomorrow", or "Next week" or "next month"....if I screw up it's back on plan for me next meal!
Tacking food intake is paramount for me. I learned long ago that tracking my food intake and even writing how I felt that day was key. I have journals, little books specifically for tracking food that I used to use. Years of them. One was called The Dieter's Diary. Now I use Sparks to track my food and love that feature. Yes, it took me a while but I forced myself to use all the features of it and have a big database of my favorites that I can easily click on to add foods to my daily intake. I track everyday especially when I have gone nuts and eaten the wrong things. On those days even if I don't specifically enter each food, I will write a note summarizing what I ate out. Usually it's when I have eaten out and it's hard to track everything. And everyday at the end of the day I do the daily feedback report to be sure I get all the vitamins and nutrients that my body needs. Oh and I share my food and fitness logs so feel free to check them out.
I also track my fitness on sparks as well. I exercise everyday. It is very rare for me to miss walking the dogs their 3.5 miles. Only if I am really sick do I miss it. I also love the feature on sparks again where you can have your favorites list and add exercise easily. I love that groupings as well and can click just once to add all the bowflex exercises I try and do 3 times per week. Having a friend that does this with me really helps as I hate strength training but at age 60 realize it is so important.
Making 'deals' with myself helps. Like wanting something not very nutritious and saying "yes, you can have that but first you must fuel your body with something good for you." So I have something good like small salad, veggies or fruit. Most all the time the good foods fuel my body and take the craving away.
I have learned what my trigger foods are and avoid them most of the time. Sugar, salty chips, and bad fats(like ice cream)....just make me want more when I have them....I know this now and when I want some I do what I mentioned above. But if I must, I eat the treat by sitting down with a portion and enjoy every bite knowing full well that I will get back on track.
I do not keep trigger foods or unhealthy food in the house. Yes, my husband likes snacks and such but I just feel if he wants them, he can shop for them and bring them in the house. Funny thing about that....he is not a shopper and is smart enough not to say anything about not having anything in the house to snack on. I keep things that don't interest me for him such as high fiber cold cereals which I know have hidden sugars. He likes them and they don't interest me.
I wear a pedometer and belong to the 10,000 steps team here at sparks. I log my 10,000 steps per day and when I noticed I haven't reach them will walk around the house until I do. It's anal but it works for me. I find that when I am tired and do not feel like doing those extra steps all I do is make a deal with myself and say...."okay how about just another 1000...not to worry if you don't get the full 10,000 in today...just another 1000". Once I get started I actually find more energy and get the full 10,000 in. It does work...get moving and you will be surprised how it increases your energy...get the blood flowing.
Blogging on sparks has helped a lot as well. I know I am not a writer but blogging on sparks is a save place and the community really helps. It takes a while in the beginning to set up friends and join teams but be proactive and use the community for support. When I need some help, I will go to sparks friends and tell them to check out my blog or I will email them for advice. I have made such wonderful friends here that all have a common interest. I not only blog about weight issues but personal things as well, just to get things off my chest.
I keep roasted veggies in my fridge at all times so that if I feel hungry I can grab something that I know is good for me.
Soda even diet soda are poison to me. I have done a lot of research and even the sugarfree ones are not for me. I drink water. And sometimes when I feel hungry I drink water first to know if it's true hunger.
I finally welcome hunger. I love to feel hungry and then have a good meal.
I love waking up in the morning knowing that I had a good day the day before. This motivates me to do good.
I like large quantity of foods so have gotten to know the low calorie foods that I like and the meals that make me feel full. Therefore I repeat meals many times. I have main meals that I enjoy that I could eat over and over again. Oh and it's so easy when tracking on Sparks to copy those meals and save meal groupings to make logging fast.
I try and make plans. If I know I am going to eat out, then I will go extra light before and after. And if I am going on vacation I try to lose what I call a few "cushion" pounds so that I can eat more food on vacation.
I eat very slowly. I know it takes 20 minutes for my brain to know I have eaten. I am always the last one eating and people comment....and you know what I tell them about the time and just continuing enjoying my meal. I hate watching people just shovel the food in and not take time to enjoy each bite. I enjoy each bite and eat mindfully.
I know now that the TV or going to the movies is not about snacking. I can now enjoy both without the need to eat. I can be entertained and actually enjoy the shows more when not snacking mindlessly. I like to record most shows too so I do not have to watch all the awful food commercials. No wonder America is getting fat!
I weigh myself daily but realize that the scale changes everyday and can vary greatly. For me as much as 3-4 pounds. I do not let the scale change how I feel about the day...but to me this keeps me focused and if it's up a bit I can look at where I can cut a few calories today. No more hiding from my weight!
So I can say that overall I have lost around 80 pounds. Forty of which I have kept off since that first venture to WW at age 22. The other forty have been up and down for the next 30 years but for the last 5 years or so I have really got it together and am maintaining a total of 80 pounds gone.
Thank you Sam60sumthink for the title of this blog and for encouraging me to write about my journey to where I am now.
I wish each and everyone of you the most success on your journey. I know too that you have heard this before but really I must say it again....if I can do it, so can you! I just wish that it hadn't taken me 60 years to know what I know now.
Thank you again Sparks friends.
Have a terrific night!