I am just 3 days away from my 2-year maintenance anniversary. April 30, 2015, was the day I hit my first goal weight, the one that Spark had assigned to me when I joined the previous November. I went on to lose another few pounds after that, reaching my lowest weight the end of July. But April 30 will always be my anniversary date because achieving that goal was HUGE for me.
These two years have not been easy. The biggest challenge has been the past year when I decided to get another Master's degree on top of working a full-time, very demanding job. Don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying being back in school, but both work and education are sedentary activities, and my body needs to be active if I'm going to really maintain my goal weight successfully. Finding the time for exercise without sacrificing either sleep, work, or my studies is just not that easy. I'm getting fitness minutes, but not the kind of intensity that I know I need.
So here is what I've learned over the past two years:
The best exercise gets your heart racing and the sweat glands working. Yes, you can get 10,000 steps tracked on your fitness tracker, but if you never got out of breath, you simply will not get the results you hope for.
We absolutely must watch, track, and measure every bite of food we eat. We also need to make sure that we're eating the right kinds of food. There are absolutely no excuses for eating copious amounts of sugar or refined flour or almost anything else that is white. Focus on fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and food that is close to the way it is grown and harvested as possible.
Drink water. Lots of it. Nothing makes me crazy like hearing someone say "I just don't care for the taste of water." Yeah, well, there was a time when I didn't much care for wine. But I learned to appreciate it. And anyone who says they don't like water but can drink coffee? Come closer, so I can smack you. You know, sometimes I'm not crazy about the smell of air and yet I still breathe it.
Learn to love yourself. That should actually be #1 because the other things are a lot easier when you accomplish this one thing. I have developed some amazing friendships while being on SparkPeople, and that's mostly because I tried to be a good friend in return. I wasn't always successful, and there are a few people here whom I didn't treat as kindly as I should have. But I've learned valuable lessons by being here, and I still strive to be the best SparkFriend that I can be. And know that when you post a negative status update or a downer blog post, my heart aches for you, because I know that there is a bright, shiny world just waiting to love you. Or, as Cher said in "Moonstruck" - SNAP OUT OF IT!
Getting healthy isn't easy - whether you want to lose weight, get in better shape, run a marathon, or improve your health statistics like cholesterol or blood sugar - but you can do it if you pick a program and stick with it. SP has a ton of great plans. Find one that you like and give it a go. You WILL start feeling better, I promise.
Let's do it together, shall we?