If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that my weight has been a bit of a struggle for me for the past few years. I’ve written about it before.
Ever since I had Penny, three and a half years ago, my weight had been hovering right around the 180 pound mark no matter what I did. I tried Weight Watchers and joined a gym, I had my thyroid checked, I kept a food journal and took it to the doctor. No matter what, 180 seemed to be where my body wanted to be. The doctor thought it was very possible that it was because we were under a lot of stress dealing with Nicholas’s special needs and I was operating on about 4 hours of sleep per night when I saw him, that I was just not going to lose weight until I could get more sleep and have less stress. (To which every mom of young kids says “Ha!”) Then last fall when I had a serious health scare, I knew I was going to need to buckle down and start getting serious about getting some of this weight off.
Well, I did it you guys! I finally broke the barrier and lost the first ten pounds. It came off super slowly and it took me several months to do it, but I did. Actually, I lost 11. Want to know how?
- I accepted that my body is going to work in its own way. My body does not like to lose 5 pounds in a week or cooperate with fad diets that say I can live on milkshakes and cereal. And that is okay. My body, eating vegetables and grains and meat, might only lose a quarter of a pound in a week. Or it might lose nothing one week and a full pound the next week. As long as I’m working on being healthy then I’m not doing anything wrong, even if the number on the scale isn’t going down right away. (It can’t stay in the same place forever.)
- I started tracking calories. I stopped trying to follow diets that had certain rules and just put the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. This made the biggest difference for me because I could see how much I was consuming. I can still eat whatever I want, I just usually don’t eat a 300 calorie cookie and a 300 calorie soda on the same day. I started looking at my calories like money. I tend to eat healthier things because they are “free.” If I do have a day where I go over budget with my calories, I make sure to pay for it later at the gym.
- I joined the YMCA. I accepted the fact that, while I can work out at home, the fact is that I don’t. We rearranged our family budget so that I could get to the gym. We canceled our home phone line and changed our service to Ooma, which is free after a one-time payment for the device. With the money we saved on our monthly phone bill, we were able to afford a family membership to the Y. Now I have access to their childcare and classes as well as the workout room. I started going to Zumba and doing several miles a week (I try to do at least two 5Ks per week) on the elliptical. I hate running outside, but I find I don’t mind it as much on the machines where I can see the numbers count my calories burned and how far I’ve gone and there is air conditioning.
- I got by with a little help from my friends. I have a close group of girlfriends who started a private group on Facebook at the beginning of the year so that we could all encourage each other and hold ourselves accountable. We have posted recipes, workout videos, success and struggles. We weighed in each week. It has been fun to see everyone’s pictures start to shrink over the months. Lately, I have been a little less active in the group, but there is no judgement as people cycle in and out as life throws us curve balls.
- I tried to make it fun, but I also recognized that some parts are just going to be work. I think that was the key for me. This sounds obvious, but I think this is what made this time more successful for me than any of my previous weight loss attempts: I gave myself permission to let it suck. The fact is that I really just do not enjoy eating salad while everyone else eats steak or running a 5K a few times a week. But I’m in my 30’s now, and I can’t eat fast food and cake and not expect it to take some sort of toll on me. In the past I would get stuck on the parts I didn’t like about dieting and quit because of them. But anything worth doing has parts of it that I’m not going to like. I did not drop out of school because I didn’t like writing research papers. I did not let the fear and pain of labor and delivery keep me from having children. I shouldn’t let the negative aspects of weight loss stop me before I reach the rewards. I can still eat the “bad” stuff sometimes. I just need to make sure I’m balancing it a little better than I was.
I also did a few obvious things like drinking mostly water. For a while I was starting my day each morning with a warm glass of water with lemon, which I found really did do a lot to help with digestion and making me less hangry in the late afternoon.
I still have quite a way to go. My goal is to eventually get back down to between 140 and 130, which means another 30 or 40 pounds. I’m not putting a time limit on myself, although I think it would be nice to do it before my ten year wedding anniversary next year.
What about you? Have you ever lost a significant amount of weight? How did you do it?