It has been such a struggle to sit down and catch up on everything from the past couple of months! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat here and stared at a blank screen. I decided today that I just needed to begin. Instead of trying to retrace all of my steps, I’m sharing the main points. In the week ahead, I’ll go back and talk more on each of these areas.
Plateaus. I busted through! At last entry was about plateaus and one that I was suffering on. I’m happy to share that I busted through it and I’m 19 pounds lighter than I was on that day. To date, I have lost a total of 32 POUNDS!! But let me say a little more on plateaus. I have hit many and each one brings its share of frustration. I weigh every single day, so the journey can sometimes feels slow, but it’s been a steady decline. I’m not seeing big jumps each day, but little increments of .2 to .8. I’m sure this is why ‘they’ recommend that you weigh once-a-week. But, for me, it just works and keeps me focused on each day. In the past, skipping a day would sometimes spiral me into the land of denial, so I do this to keep my focus on what I’m working towards.
Food Journaling. Today is Day 117 that I’ve been consistently writing down ALL that enters my mouth! This is the key to my success. I do not miss a day on writing down everything that I’ve eaten. I’ll admit, this isn’t always an easy thing to do. Some days are just downright busy, but even if it’s the last thing I do, before I shut my eyes at night, I’ll go back through my day and retrace my eating steps.
Most days, I enter my food – for the entire day – in the morning. Yes, for the entire day. This gives me great focus. If I plan out my day, I’m less likely to deviate. In fact, it tends to work in my favor. If I have an idea of what I’m going to eat, I begin to look forward to it. So, my meals are rarely boring to me even if it’s half of a sandwich, some veggie straws and a piece of fruit. I look forward to everything I eat because I know what the plan is.
I’m far from perfect. Even though I journal out my entire day, plans change and sometimes I don’t eat exactly what I wrote down. There are times where I remove an item, realizing that I’m content or I’ll add an item. But doing this type of planning gives me a picture of what my day should look like. I’m finding so much of my success depends on my mental health and this plays into that.
I find it interesting that, at the start of this journey, I was addicted to everything with sugar…pastries, candy, ice cream – and I really struggled with eating what was healthy. I had a longing to love fruits, veggies and water! Today, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, everyday. What seemed so boring to me then brings me so much pleasure and contentment now. I only drink a couple of cups of black coffee in the morning (okay, sometimes a cup in the evening too) and then I drink water all day long. I easily drink 64 oz. (the recommended amount) each day, and more. I’m learning to like and love healthy foods!! Who knew?! Without even realizing it, sugary items took a backseat and I seldom eat those old cravings.
I also want to note that I am not following any “diet” at all. I am not eating or drinking anything as a meal replacement. I do not take pills to decrease my appetite. I’ve done all of that before, only to gain everything back when I began eating normal food again. So, I simply set up an account through the My Fitness Pal app. I recommend that you play with the calorie settings. Based on my information, it gave me a pretty high calorie allotment. From previous times using this app, I knew that was too high for me and would cause me to maintain my weight. From the get-go, I have set my calories at 1260 per day. This seems to be a golden number for me. That’s not to say I don’t go over. Oh yes…I have had days that took me over and put me in the red. Those are the days that we don’t even want to log, because we know we blew it, but I committed to this and a great part of my success is being completely honest with myself. I also input what I weigh every single day. In the past, I would only log my weight into the app if I lost. I’ve had a lot of little ups and downs on this road and they are just as hard to write down as an overeating type of day…but I do it. If I can’t be honest with myself, then who can I be honest with?!
Mental Behaviors. Mind blowing enlightenment moments for me! Let me back up for a sec…to that part where I said, “Those are the days that we don’t even want to log, because we know we blew it…” My friends, this is the behavioral talk that we use to beat ourselves up. When I began writing about all of this, I shared with you that I was attending a weight management group that my doctor recommended. There, I learned A TON about the behavioral rhetoric that goes on inside of us that actually thwarts our hard work. I can honestly tell you that I now have ZERO days where I say to myself, “You blew it! You can’t do this!” For instance, earlier this week I had a really busy day. I was away from the house for most of it. I ate my fruit and yogurt for breakfast, went out for my walk/run (I’ll share that in a sec), and then headed out for the day. My lunch consisted of two regular crunchy beef tacos from Taco Bell, and for dinner I enjoyed a burger and fries from Johnny Rockets.
First thing to note, I logged it all! It put me about 250 calories over my daily goal, but I was okay with that. Second thing, I planned it all! When I logged my food, for the day, that morning I knew eating out for both meals would be my reality. So, knowing where I’d be at those times, I picked places that I knew would fit in. I should clarify, this is no longer the way I eat every single day, but there are days where life gets busy and adjustments need to be made. Instead of berating myself and saying, “Well, I guess I need to throw in the towel on this day,” I plan it so I can enjoy it…without guilt. I do enjoy going out sometimes, so it’s definitely something I want to work into my lifestyle. I’ve tried so many diets where I vowed to never EVER eat “that” food again. Not this time. I want to live my life…freely.
As a side note…diving into the behavioral side of this journey has caused me to study people who have never really had weight issues or those who have been successful in getting fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’ve realized that they are not perfect and that they get just as frustrated as I do over a 5-pound gain from a weekend of careless fun. But what I’ve also noticed is that they don’t beat themselves up and throw in the towel on good health. They don’t decide that it’s just not worth it. No. That negative thinking, my friends, has nothing to do with food but everything to do with behavior. Most of their days are spent with health in mind; eating right, exercising and having fun doing both. That is what I want to tap into. I decided that once and for all, I was going to shut the mouth of the girl who berates me from within; the one who says, “You blew it again. You can’t do this. It’s too hard. You might as well give up.” As I’m learning to turn negative talk into positive, I find that I’m no longer thinking about all of the foods that I cannot eat. In fact, I don’t think about food at all like I used to. It’s becoming energy to me; physically and mentally.
Exercise. I’m walking, running and even kayaking! When I began this journey, I was walking about a mile and half; it was all I could do. I wasn’t out there to set any records. I just wanted to move my body. I committed, at first, to a few times a week and for about 30-minutes each time. As I continued to walk, my body got stronger, my breathing got easier, and I began to walk faster. I was able to cover more ground in less amount of time. As I began to walk a little further, I decided to increase the amount of time for walking. I upped it to 45 minutes. I’ve continued in this fashion and now I go out for 45-60 minutes six-days-a-week. About a month ago, I began adding little jogs here and there. Earlier this week, I went 3.2 miles in 49 minutes doing walking and interval runs. That’s a big deal to me. I still have days where lacing up the shoes is the most difficult part of getting out there. But once I step over my threshold, I feel like a runner. Motivation is tough sometimes, but once you just take those first few steps, it tends to squash any negative feelings that you have before setting out. I come home often feeling like I’ve run a marathon…like I’ve accomplished something really big. To me, it is really big. I don’t care what anyone thinks as I trek around my neighborhood. To be quite honest, I’m hoping that people witness “that shleppy ol’ gal who did it – and rocked it” and that my efforts encourage someone out there.
In addition to my walking and running, I’ve also taken up kayaking. Oh my goodness…I love it!! When I was a teenager, we used to go kayaking on Lake Cleone in Fort Bragg. I’ve always hung onto those fun memories, so when we had the opportunity for a great deal on a couple of kayaks, we jumped on it. My husband, who has never gone kayaking, loves it as much as I do. We feel like a couple of young kids when we load the kayaks into the back of our truck and head out to the lake for the evening or on a hot afternoon. Not only do I have a blast, but it’s a fantastic upper body workout.
If you hate exercising, just do a little bit…only what you feel capable of. Go out and walk for 10 minutes. Lift some light weights during commercials. That’s exercise. Your body will get stronger and pretty soon you’ll find you will be able to do a little bit more.
Dear Friends – I am 55 years old and I was 100 pounds overweight. Before April, I was someone who truly hated exercise. As a kid, I loved sports and was extremely active. But, since my mid-twenties I have been living in a sedentary and poor nutritional lifestyle. I have hypertension and, at my doctor appointment in early April, had high cholesterol. My doctor wanted to put me on medication for that (in addition to my blood pressure meds), but I knew I was trying to get focused and asked her to give me a few months to change this. I’m getting my blood work done next week and I’m actually looking forward to seeing her. I already know, because I monitor, that my blood pressure is lower than ever. I am also convinced that my cholesterol is no longer in a danger zone. Yes, it’s taken focus and work, but it truly is getting easier. I no longer think from meal to meal. In no way do I feel as if I am suffering. It’s the exact opposite…I feel like I am gaining so much of my life back…so much more of me!!!
If I can do this…you can do this.
“Little Steps To Big Changes”…when I chose the name of this site, I never knew how true that would be. Each day is another step in the right direction.
Thank you for walking/running this road with me.
To be continued…