What Have I Learned?
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I have lost weight twice before - once in 2003 after a doctor noted I had high blood pressure and once in 2006 when I was trying out for a special program and had to be within my BMI. But while I lost probably 20 pounds on the first plan and about 50 on the second, I didn't keep the weight off.
Why was that? What kept me from sticking with my plan?
One thing was: my goal wasn't to live a healthy lifestyle. The first time I lost weight, it was to lower my blood pressure - a good thing, of course, but once my blood pressure WAS OK, it was acceptable for me to start bringing those bad foods back into my life. Same with the second time - once the program was out of reach, I no longer had a reason to try to stay healthy.
This time around, my goal isn't to lower my blood pressure short term or to get to a weight for a program. My goal is Long Term Health - a healthy lifestyle. This isn't something that will go away. This isn't something that I will sneak around. This is something I plan on adopting FOR LIFE.
The other part that harmed my weight loss goals was how I kept making excuses/allowances for indulging in bad foods. Splurging one day isn't necessarily bad; a slice of pizza, a sliver of cake won't kill you. But when you take that thought and make it a daily occurrence THEN you have a problem.
Cakes and pizza and such are called "treats" (in my book) for a reason - they are meant to be eaten OCCASIONALLY, not every day. If they are every day events, then are they treats anymore? No!
Now, I don't want to ever include these items in my life. I don't want to buy Oreos or Doritos or Twinkies. I would rather stay away as much as possible from the baked goods section in the grocery store and frozen foods are not allowed in my freezer. They aren't that good for me and are a HUGE temptation for me as well - it is too easy for me to go from "once in a while" to every day. While I wouldn't mind an occasional homemade cookie (I am rather good at baking cookies IMO), I never want to go back to buying and eating the prepackaged sugar-laden, manufactured stuff you find in the grocery stores.
I also drank quite a bit of non-water products in both previous weight loss schemes. My favorite vanilla latte was what killed my second weight loss plan in fact, and I've always been a fan of diet soda.
I still drink coffee and even sometimes diet soda, but I've drastically changed my approach. I drink Americanos now and try to limit to 1 or 2 a day. Diet soda is nearly gone from my diet all together; I only drink it at restaurants (and I rarely go to restaurants anymore). I don't buy it and keep it in my house. I also drink quite a bit of water now - I aim for minimally 64 ounces a day.
I used to not make much of an effort for exercise. After the second weight loss scheme, I joined a gym and tried to work out more, get into shape. When I didn't see fast results, I petered out and eventually cancelled my membership.
Exercise, I am learning, is more and more important. I can't just sit around on my behind - I need to get up and be active! I try to walk during lunch and I've recently added the fitness center to my evening routine.
During the first two times I lost weight, I was going to college. Often times, I would stay up late doing homework and get up early to go to class or work. I remember being tired a lot - and drinking coffee or Diet Mountain Dew to keep me awake.
Maintaining a rigid bedtime has become important to me. 9:30 is the last time I can eat or drink in large quantities. 10:30 signals quitting computer or TV time. I then allow myself to read up to 11:30, and then it's lights out. When I wake up at my alarm at 6:55am, I am ready for my day - no more grogginess or smacking the snooze.
cise...sleep. These keys have led to success. These keys have changed my focus. Living a healthy life isn't something I can try to fudge on, to squeeze in an extra cookie or slice of pizza. Living healthy is a permanent part of my life. I've been fat, I know what it feels like, and I didn't like it. Now, I'm ready to make permanent changes so that I can live healthy and to my fullest.