This Expert's Findings About Weight Loss
Monday, April 26, 2010
I am a "Weight Loss Expert"! Really- I read everything I can get my hands on, I listen to what successful losers have done to get the weight off, and I read more positive motivational "stuff" than you can imagine- in an effort to reprogram the soundtrack in my head! There is not a day that goes by that I don't read at least one "break through weightloss tip" somewhere...and I ponder it! I admit that I have become an expert on "watching weightloss".
My journey has been full of steep hills- slow, steady climbs uphill towards progress, and fast, absolutely breathtakingly fast rides downhill....and then I start again!
I recently went through some "old" photos while at my Mom's house. I was a bit surprised to find myself looking at these photos, and thinking how good I looked. Cute hair, nice clothes...nice weight. And then, I put dates on the photos and realized- they weren't all that long ago- most were about 4 years ago! That was an eye opener because I have felt like I have been overweight and feeling frumpy for decades!!
That started me thinking about my "previous life"- Ang B.F.- Me BEFORE FAT! I wasn't thin before...but my BMI was never in the obese range! What was different now?
For one thing, I think I have become "too much of an expert"! I am so confused by everything that I am not always sure what to do- do I eat protein in the morning? Fruit in the afternoon? Swallow a carb and then some protein? Drink the water between bites, all before or all after? Do I stop eating at 7:00 or do I eat before bed to keep my metabolism going through the night? Do I stand on my head so the calories don't really count? Do I really have to write it if I bite it? Should I exercise or sleep? If I'm not hungry, do I still, have to eat?If I drink so much water, won't it make my insides too soggy? If I don't wear a HRM, will I really burn calories during a workout? If I can carry a conversation while I walk, does the walk not count?? If I exercise alone in the woods and nobody hears me, did I really exercise? Am I destined to life like Kirstie Ally where I just can't stay "unfat"???? ETC..ETC...
I needed to take a deep breath, and think about what I used to do, before I became an expert!
I mean, the pictures were my proof that at one point, I did know how to keep my body healthy.
One thing I did was MOVE! I didn't know much about heart rates or interval training or counting steps- I just knew I loved to walk- and I did it often! I would get up early and start the day with a nice walk around the neighborhood, and many times, I carried hand weights. I was outside a lot, I got out more than I do now. I WORE MAKEUP MOST DAYS! Now, I really think about if I am going anywhere- otherwise I don't put it on!! I listened to music a lot! Now, I just long for silence in my day that is "loud and busy"! I did NOT tear open packages in order to prepare a meal. I cooked, or baked or did something- but I didn't eat "Healthy Granola Bars" or whole wheat crackers or any other "healthy items" in quantities that made them just as bad as anything else. And, because I was so active, I ate when my body told me to- not when the clock did!
So, I knew I needed to make some changes, and I knew they would not be so hard to make, because they would lead me back to the life and body I wanted. I started walking more. I bought a used jogger stroller, and I USE IT! I put my two year old in there, and we head out for walks. Some are long and hard work, some are just short and fun- but I just try to do it MORE! I needed structure to my eating. I know I was eating and snacking too much. Even if you overeat all those "healthy foods" you are still overeating- and I was doing that A LOT. So, I found a "diet" that I liked. It has foods I like, and it tells me how much to eat. I look at the plan and try to follow it, but my body dictates what I do. If I am not hungry, I don't eat "meal #3" and if I am really hungry, I add extra veggies to my meal. I was craving some structure to get me back to a place where I can again "fly solo" and be OK. I need to relearn what healthy portions really are!
In all of my "diet studies" I did find two ingredients that seem to help most people lose, and those are what I try to focus on- consistency and structure.
I try to be consistent by showing up every day. Every day is a day that counts- a day where I should put on makeup and jewellery and get out and be part of the world! Every day is a day that my eating matters. I can not pig out three days but feel great because I was good for 4 days- my body doesn't respond. I need 7 "mostly good, maybe not perfect" days- that will get me off the hilly part of my journey. I need to move my body more- every day, not just the days where I can check my mileage or know my heart rate. I can walk around the park while my kids play, I can walk to school rather than drive- I just need to grab opportunities to move!
I focus on structure with setting my goals. I do still want to be accountable, so I do strive for a minimum amount of exercise per week. Afterall, I know I need to be flexible with my life- so if there is a day where I can't do much, I know I still have an agreement with myself to move a certain amount by the end of the week- and I do whatever I need to in order to meet that goal. My consistency will make my goals really easy to achieve!I also needed structure for my eating. Some people don't-they have discipline. I strive to become one of those, but for right now, I know I need a plan. It also helps me so I have a valid reason to say no to extra servings or unplanned treats. I shouldn't need a reason to say no, but I am breaking old habits- and my family has been watching me say "yes" to everything I wanted for so long, that the structure helps them support me, too. They are so used to saying things like- oh, just try it...just a few bites...just finish this last piece...that being on a plan lets them remember I have committed not to go there anymore! I am focused, and if my plan doesn't call for certain things, I just try really hard not to have them. But, if I do slip- it is for that one meal. I get right back to the plan for the next. My eating plan is my road map for the day. It also helps me because it is one part of my day I am not needing to plan and think about so much- I just need to do! I can handle that!
I am nowhere near my goals, and I am not sure that I will not slide downhill again- I am always hopeful, but never totally sure! I am trying to break a pattern that I have fallen into within the last 4 years. Now, without going into a long therapy session here, I also took a look at my life and all of its events over the past 4 years so I could give myself a hug, understand myself, and so I could clearly see why I got to where I am. I get it. I am a pretty open book, pretty real with myself, and there are no big mysteries to why I gained this weight and let myself go to the point where I don't get out much anymore, and why I really stopped caring about myself and really put myself last. I just know that moving forward requires me to see my situation as things that happened, things I can't change, but things that have made me stronger and that I need to put into a positive perspective and realize it is time to find myself again. This is all part of my journey, and I need to see that although I have seen some stressful times these past few years, we have overcome so much and I need to accept that although things aren't perfect, most of them have become the "new" normal in my life and I need to move on.
I used to avoid photos, but looking through that box at my Mom's house really did wonders for me by reminding me of who I am and how I want my life to be! I am thankful that I took the time to study myself, in depth, and learn a lot. I understand my journey so much better, and I feel empowered to hold the steering wheel and drive my future where I want it to be!
I think I really am an expert...but not about weight loss. I am an expert at being ME, and nobody can tell me how to "be me" better than I can! So, with all my expertise in my pocket and the sun shining on my face, I think it's time to go out for a walk!