So, it’s the New Year. With that always comes the resolutions of what to fix, change, better, or delete for myself and my family. For the past 10 years, weight loss is always the first. Always. As you can tell from 10 years of resolutions, it has not happened. Most of the end of December or the beginning of January was filled with me searching out the best diet, the best program, the best supplement, and what will work the fastest. And, most years, obviously, I fail.
However, in 2011, I started something new. Instead of all the extra time and specifically, money, I would spend on these things, I thought about a couple of things.
1) Why am I overweight?
2) What can I do to change it?
That’s all. Not very time consuming, and best of all, free. So, I realized that I am overweight because I obviously like food. However, food was involved in all aspects of my life. I had a great day – let’s celebrate with food! Or, I had a terrible day – I will feel better if I eat comfort food. I’m a party, and there is food, I better have some (or a bunch)!
Well, to change it, I can’t just stop eating. And, I know from experience that if I highly restrict what I can and can’t have, it never works out (hence the 10 years of weight loss resolutions). So, in 2011, I changed some very small things in my life (4 in fact) that had to do with diet and exercise. These are not going to shock you, but sticking to these is what helped me start the weight loss process.
1) Move! I put on a bodymedia band. It’s a band you wear on your arm that measures how many steps you take, how many minutes of activity you have, and how much sleep you get. There are also apps on smart phones that will track your steps, and a pedometer will work too. I was shocked at how little I moved. I thought I was pretty active with two young kids and full-time job. Boy, was I wrong. On a typical day, I would take approximately 4,000 to 5,000 steps and have about 30 to 45 minutes of activity. Once I started wearing it, and setting a goal of what I want to hit, the weight started coming off. I “move” 1.5 hours a day, and take 12,000 steps. Just by being aware of how much movement I have has been phenomenal in making sure I get enough.
2) Measure your food/keep a journal. If you have never done this before, you will be so surprised to see how much a serving actually is. I really didn’t restrict what I ate too much, I ate what I wanted, but I had ONE serving. If I was still hungry, I loaded up on additional veggies or fruits to make myself feel full. I also kept a journal to see how many calories I ate each day. The hard part for me was to document on the days that I didn’t do well. I thought, eh, I had a bad day. I couldn’t have done too bad. Wrong! To see how many calories I put in my mouth was astounding.
3) Let yourself cheat. If you want something, have it. For me, I would tell myself, you don’t want it. You can have something healthy instead and this craving will go away. So, I would end up eating and eating “healthy” things, and then eventually go to the food I was craving in the first place. So, instead of having a 300 calories ice cream cone, I would have it along with a serving of pretzels, an apple, and a small piece of chocolate. If allow yourself that ability to slip up, you can then move right through and continue on your journey.
4) Forgive yourself. If you mess up, move on! It will happen. I’ve had many peaks and valleys in this weight loss journey. I’ve done well for a couple of weeks, fallen down, and then get back up and keep moving forward. You will not be perfect. The most important thing is to not continue moving in that direction. My old mentality was “well, I already screwed up. I might as well just keep eating terrible and not working out”. That was my downfall for many years. People are successful because they keep trying.
I was fairly thin and active growing up and as a young adult. Ten years ago, I was very in shape when I met my husband, and life progressed. Marriage, 2 kids, job changes, moving across the country, etc. You get it. Life. In 2011, I got on the scale and realized I was 100 pounds overweight. How did that happen?? By following the four guidelines I outlined above, in 2011, I lost 60 pounds. I’ve still got some more to go, but this year’s resolution wasn’t about what I was going to change, it was a determination to stay the course.