I used to be what I like to call a “fatty”. Now, while I’d never call someone else that, I’m comfortable calling myself that – at least in retrospect. I literally woke up one day, took a shower, saw myself in the mirror and exclaimed, “Holy shit! When did I get fat?! Have I always been fat?!” DH assured me I’d not always been as big as I was at that moment (235#), but he was in need of losing weight himself and perhaps we should work together at eating better.
We’d slipped into numerous bad habits, drinking lots of soda, eating junk food and capping the night off with a big bowl of ice cream. We lived in town and though we had dogs (Crazy Dog and her sister), they spent a lot of time running in the yard and we weren’t always good about going for a walk. I was unmotivated to shut off the TV and move. I paid the price. Weight gain, sore joints, bigger pants.
The morning of my epiphany, I decided then and there that I had to do SOMETHING about this problem. I was fast approaching my 30’s and losing weight would only get harder. I didn’t run down to the fridge and toss out everything “experts” deemed unhealthy. The first thing I did was start moving, strength moves daily, and that meant getting up early so I could do them; I knew that I’d lose my motivation in the afternoon after work. As the unhealthy foods disappeared from the fridge and cabinets, they weren’t replaced. I researched tried and true methods of losing weight (eat less, move more).
I found a website that allowed me to track calories in and out, where I could have them create meal plans and fitness plans based upon my goals. The site is Sparkpeople. The best part is that the site is free. FREE! Free is good. I’ve been a member of the site for about 7 years now and sometimes I’m really good at tracking calories, and sometimes I’m not, but I keep going back. I’d tried Weight Watches once, but I don’t do very well with being told what I could and couldn’t eat when I had so many other options available to me that I wasn’t supposed to have. So back to Sparkpeople once more.
It’s been almost 10 years since I began the quest to lose weight, and while I’m not as small as the government says I should be, I’m smaller than I was. I didn’t gain the weight overnight and knew I wouldn’t lose it overnight either. So, what are my tricks?
- Purchase a food scale and USE it. What your mind thinks 1 ounce of food should look like is usually different from what it actually looks like.
- Drink a LOT of water.
- Don’t drink your Calories. I know, I know… hard one to follow.
- If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it.
- Eat slowly. I have trouble with this still, wolfing down my meals, but when I actually chew my food and enjoy it, I eat less because my stomach can tell my brain that I’m full.
- If you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. Still feel hungry? Eat something.
- All movement counts. Five minutes is better than none at all.
- Follow serving sizes on packages (most Triscuits are 6 crackers to a serving… only six).
- Learn what your body likes to eat to stay full. I’m a fruits, veggies, fats and proteins person. A mostly carbs (such as breads, crackers, etc) meal leaves me famished an hour later; I’ve learned to stick with what leaves me full.
- All things in moderation. I still have the occasional soda or potato chips. I still drink “adult beverages”. I still bake cakes and eat them. I just don’t eat or drink as much as I used to.
- Put down the fork! No really. Set it down between each bite of food which you will chew slowly.
- Sit at the dining table and turn off the TV/computer. Distracted eating means you eat more.
- We all fall off the wagon and blow every good habit we’ve been working on. It’s not defeat, it’s a speed bump. Misbehaving today doesn’t mean you’ll do it tomorrow.
Discipline isn’t easy, I’ll be one of the first to admit that. I have days where I start to “should” myself: “I should work out tonight”. I heave learned that as soon as I say I “should” do something, my attitude about the something goes downhill. I changed it to “I want to work out tonight”. Some days I have to repeat it a few times and combine it with: “I’ll feel really good after my work out”. Most of the time I can work my attitude back to being good and I do feel really good after my work out… there are days where no amount of self cajoling will work and I stubbornly refuse to even look at the treadmill. That’s okay too, for tomorrow is another day.
Eight years has passed since that day I saw myself in the mirror and made my mind up to change. I’ve lost 65# average, I was down a total of 70 last year, but was sidelined by heart issues and couldn’t work out per doctors orders. I realized the other day I had regained and so it was back to “being good” and paying more attention to what I was doing.
Losing weight isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. You can do anything you set your mind to, and since I was given the thumbs up to work out again a few months ago, I started back up with walking and will soon be back to running. I have put my goal of running a 5K in front of me again like a dangling carrot on a string.