Alison in ONEderland!!!
Friday, April 02, 2010
On January 1st of this year, I made a commitment to finally stop the vicious cycle of losing and gaining weight. I've read enough diet and exercise books, purchased enough gym equipment and workout DVDs, and educated myself on the ways to lose weight and keep it off. It was time to put all of that knowledge into practice.
I started small because I recognized that if I tried to do everything all at once, it would be a recipe for failure (and that's a lesson I've learned time and time again...). I committed to making some minor changes, and I'd see where that went. As of January 1st, I vowed to drink 64oz of water each day and cook the vast majority of my meals at home.
It's been a slow process, but I'm happy to report that here I am, three months later, and for the first time in about a decade, I weigh less than 200 pounds!!!
It seemed like that last pound to cross the 200 threshold was the hardest one to lose. In fact, I've been staring at the 200 number for almost a month as my scale tormented me, pretending that it might dip below the 200 mark but then settling right back at 200. There were times during that month that I thought the whole process might be futile -- that I might be destined to stay in the 200s forever, but I didn't give up. I kept cooking healthy dinners every night, tracking everything that went into my mouth, and drinking my water every day. I thought about some small changes I could make to shed the pound. For example, I'd been skimping on breakfast the last month, eating a 100-calorie fiber-dense muffin and a banana and drinking a cup of coffee. It occurred to me that maybe that wasn't kick-starting my metabolism as much as I needed, so I added oatmeal or eggs to my breakfast this past week. Sure enough, that seemed to do the trick.
So I guess these are the lessons that I want to share as I celebrate this major scale victory:
1. Small changes snowball. Drinking 64oz of water seemed like so much at the beginning of this journey, but now, 92 consecutive days of drinking it later, it doesn't faze me at all. It has become an essential part of my day, and I don't foresee the streak ending anytime soon.
2. Don't be afraid to eat, and eat well. I've always thought that I'd need to starve myself to lose weight. That hasn't been the case at all. Now that I'm cooking dinner every night, I feel like I'm eating more and eating better than I ever have. It's so empowering to have control over every item I put in my mouth. I know how much oil and fat and calories are in each serving because I prepared it. I'm eating balanced, colorful meals, and I'm saving tons of money because I'm not eating out all the time. I'm also recognizing that sometimes it's important to change things up a bit. While I was in my weight loss rut this past month, it turned out that the answer was to eat more, not less, especially in the beginning of the day. I didn't go crazy with that -- I continued to make healthy choices, but when I changed my routine, my body responded. Food is not my enemy anymore.
3. Persevere through the challenges and setbacks. I'm not losing weight very quickly. I've only lost about 17 pounds this year, and I can't deny my jealousy of the people (including my husband) who can lose weight so much faster. This feels like the slowest. process. ever. But my body IS changing. The weight IS coming off. It's not happening over night, but it is happening. I'm beginning to see differences in pictures that were taken of me last year vs. now. Clothes are fitting better than ever. I have more energy. The scale might not be moving very quickly, but it's moving in the right direction, and I can't let myself discount the value of that.
4. Reward yourself along the way. I have a list of goals (weight loss and consecutive days of various SparkStreaks) posted on my refrigerator, and I've created set rewards to accompany each one. It's definitely helped to keep me motivated -- especially the SparkStreak goals. After 50 consecutive days of drinking water, I bought myself 2 beautiful aluminum water bottles. At 100 days, I'm getting a facial at the local spa. It's pretty hard for me to break my streak when I know how much work I'd be sacrificing toward my goal. It keeps me going when I get in bad moods, and those are the times I'm most likely to sabotage myself.
5. Don't create ridiculous timetables or schedules for yourself. It would be nice if my body would shed 2 pounds every week, but that's just not happening for me. Sometimes I lose half a pound, other times I lose 1, 2, or 3 pounds in a week. My body isn't very predictable with that. I know, however, that if I continue to make positive changes and adopt a healthy lifestyle, the weight loss will continue. It might not be immediate, but it's there. It's working.
I still have a long way to go from here. My goal weight is in the 140s, so I'm nowhere close to the end of my journey. I've been pretty lame about the exercise component of this process so far, so I know that's what I need to do next to step up the process. I'm excited about doing that, though. I feel like I've gotten the water drinking and healthy cooking process down, so I'm ready to start building another component to the process. In fact, I think it might just be the perfect way to celebrate my new adventures in ONEderland! Wish me luck!