Finding “Me” Again
I started my weight loss journey in August 2011, and I have lost approximately 95 lbs. which means it’s been a slow and steady pace BUT I have had the chance to establish healthy habits along the way to make them part of a healthy lifestyle….you HAVE to live it! I used to feel frustrated that some people could eat whatever they want and not exercise and still stay thin. However, now I realize and accept that I’m not built like that….I can’t explain their natural thinness any more than I can explain the reason for me being tall or me being horrible at math; therefore, I have to work at it. So you probably have guessed that at least half of the battle is mental and emotional. Although I had stayed relatively thin during my teens and early 20s even with poor eating habits because I stayed very active, that changed after having 4 children. I put everything into my children with little left over for me and continued with my same eating patterns and became inactive other than chasing after toddlers. In the summer of 2011, I was 34 and realized that several areas in my life were beginning to unravel: my career, marriage, and self-worth. I realized that the one thing I could begin changing immediately was the way I felt about myself. I at first concentrated on becoming active, and I had always wanted to run, but at 245 lbs., I knew this would be difficult. A friend told me about the couch to 5K program online which is a walk/run program that turns a non-runner into a runner over a course of a few months. I started this program and worked at it at my own pace; additionally, I started making better food choices.
My process has been an evolution of sorts, and it is still evolving every day. For the physical side of it: for the first 3 months or so, I didn’t do any calorie counting and I didn’t exercise, I just tried a common sense approach to eating without depriving myself too much (for my ultimate success I knew then and I know now that I cannot feel deprived of anything ….I just have to manage it differently). For instance, I went from drinking regular soft drinks to coke zero, I tried to incorporate more water, I quit all in-between snacking unless it was fruit or maybe the occasional 100 calorie snacks packs. I still ate “regular” meals: country cooking, Chinese, etc. The difference was I used Parkay 0 calorie spray butter on my baked potato instead of the squeeze butter and instead of using 2 TBSP sour cream, I used 1 of the regular stuff. Portion control at this phase was huge for me: if we went out to eat, I got whatever I wanted but I halved everything and put the rest in a to-go box right away. At home, if we had meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I did one serving spoon dip of potatoes instead of 2 or 3 and I DID NOT go back for seconds of anything. So a lot of small changes at first…I cannot change all at once…I have to adapt a little at a time or I’m doomed for failure as I was so many times in the past with my weight loss efforts. Just by making these small changes in the beginning I lost approximately 20 lbs. from August to November.
In the fall of 2011 is when I began to have a whisper feeling in me that literally, out of the blue, as I sat on my front porch swing that said “run”. And I thought to myself, I just want to run. So that is when I began researching the couch to 5K program and talking to some of my runner friends. At this point I was still around 220 lbs., but something in me wanted to do it and do it well. Because I was so big still and because I was excerpting way more energy than my body was used to and because I was still eating sensibly, the weight even in those early days of walk/running just fell off. I had a log that I recorded my weight in since that November when I started walk/running and every 2 to 3 days I was losing 2 to 3 lbs.! Of course, as I got smaller and I began actually running more and my body became conditioned to it, the weight loss wasn’t that dramatic…but that’s the way it should be….the closer you get to goal the smaller you are and the less calories it takes to “move” your body and I did and do hit plateaus every now and then, but I mix up my cardio and keep moving. From November when I started running to two months later in January, I lost another 20 lbs. (and that’s even with the holidays mixed in and me walk/running 3 times a week for approximately 25 minutes). I also began to incorporate other healthy eating habits….started figuring out low calorie options while continuing my portion control and other healthy habits I had already established. I also cut out all coke zeros and began to drink nothing but coffee in the morning with powered creamer (which is already pretty low cal) and water or flavored water and to this day that is all I drink….very few and far between I may get a diet soda if I go out to eat, but I actually prefer water now. In January 2012 I got really strict with my calories and actually began monitoring, counting, and writing down everything I ate and sometimes I would preplan my meals the night before and check off each item as I went so I knew I would be within my calorie limits. I used the website freedieting.com to figure out how many calories I needed in order to lose weight according to my gender, height, age, and current weight. Now, I am still trying to lose (I got a little way to go before I hit my goal) and I am still recording and monitoring calories. I have increased my cardio (which is THE KEY to losing efficiently…you want to take in less calories than you burn and you do this through healthy eating and consistent exercise). I also lift weights now (I joined a gym in March 2012) because muscle burns more calories and the more muscle I have, the better my body burns calories even “at rest”. So now I do some form of cardio 5 to 6 days a week (running, elliptical, Wii Zumba, some bike riding) and I lift weights at least 3 times a week. I try to have one whole day of rest which I usually try to schedule for Sunday. To date, I have lost 95 pounds since August 2011, and it’s been a gradual journey. Bottom line…it’s a lifestyle change that, for me, has to occur slowly in order to build healthy habits…it’s a commitment to myself, so I can be better for my family….and IT’S WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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