My entire life, I've struggled with my weight. Only once or twice in my life have I looked in the mirror and said "you look good" and those instances have long been in the past. That is a pathetic reality and the last time I was on an airplane, I knew something had to change. I was working for Gannett and was to fly to Nashville for a regional sales meeting. When I got on the plane I was dreading every fat girls' nightmare - the infamous buckle. I could barely buckle into the seat! And I mean JUST barely! I thought to myself, "is this really my life now?" I wanted to get off of the plane and just go home. During the flight I thought long and hard about my life and how I had gotten to the point to where every article of clothing I owned was a size 22 and how truly unhappy I was with my life. When I left my job in April I knew things had to drastically change.
On April 30th I began this journey to lose weight and change my life for good. I've had to completely change every single thing that you may or may not realize can hinder you in the process. The first lesson I had to learn is "Food is Fuel" NOT "Food is my Friend". I have had a long, unrealistic love affair with food for many, many years. I would eat to celebrate, eat because I was sad, eat because I was bored, eat because it was there, and eat just to eat! I rarely if ever would look at the calorie content of food and would eat two, three, even four times more of a serving than I should and this habit went on for years. Everything was super-sized and I would get ridiculously angry if anyone attempted to eat one of my fries (god forbid). So, when I began this journey I knew I had to change the way how I saw food or I would be doomed.
A long time ago, a nutritionist told me that food was fuel and that food was not the friend I wanted it to be. Frankly, that pissed me off. I didn't want to hear someone tell me that the way I had been living my life was wrong. But that simple sentence had stuck with me for years. So the first step to getting real with myself was adopting this reality by implementing a calorie restriction. I'm only allowed 1200 to 1500 calories per day and at first that was ridiculously difficult. I was still eating stuff that I had no business eating, just in much smaller portions - like chips, sweets, etc. I knew I wasn't doing this correctly so I switched out the chips for broccoli, carrots, peas, salad - anything other than the crap I was used to ingesting. To get rid of the sweets, I dumped regular sodas completely. If it isn't water - then I don't NEED it. Occasionally, I'll have a diet soda if I feel like I must have something different. And sugar-free jello is a great treat when I want dessert. I eat bananas, apples, pears, grapes or anything else I have in regards to fruit if I want something sweet. I stopped eating any processed, or breaded meats, and switched to grilled chicken, pork, steak and occasionally seafood (I've never been a fan of seafood but it's growing on me). The long menu short is I eat five times a day( 100 to 400 calorie meals at a time,) small portions and never go over my calorie restriction. In fact, some days I find it difficult to eat over 1000 calories. I don't ever feel hungry and on those nights where I cook a meal for the family that was one of my favorites (like meatloaf and mashed potatoes) I think back to that nutritionist's statement and repeat to myself "Food is fuel". I'll eat a small portion of the meal and throw the rest away. I don't ever feel deprived and I KNOW I'm living by that motto because food IS fuel, it is not a friend.
Exercise - ah, exercise, how I have loathed thee for so many years. I am the typical American. I've bought just about every exercise piece of equipment, used it twice and shoved it into an inaccessible corner (by choice). I've hated exercise forever! I've always preferred the exercise of putting food into my mouth and chewing. Pathetic, I know. BUT, it's amazing what a little bit of hard work and effort will do. I have a gazillion aerobic DVD's so I went through my inventory and pulled out the one that I had had the most success with in the past. The woman's name is Chris Freytag and if you haven't heard of her, she is truly an inspirational workout coach. I have (almost) all of her DVD's and the workouts are high intensity to make you sweat beyond what you thought was possible but have a low intensity option for those that are just starting to exercise. The steps are easy to learn and follow for those of us with two-left feet. I would suggest her DVD's to anyone. The three that I use faithfully are Drop it in 30, 3-2-1 Workout and Secrets to Big Weight Loss.
You can get any of her DVD's on Amazon for around $10 a piece and I love, love, love them. In addition to the aerobics I do Monday through Friday (sometimes on Saturday or Sunday, too) I walk and jog two miles every evening after dinner. I say walk and jog because I'll walk a while, jog a while, and alternate throughout the two miles. I've made it around the block once while jogging the entire time. Slowly but surely, I'm building up to being able to jog the entire time. After that, it'll be running. But the point I want to make is this is BABY STEPS! When I first started walking, I could only make it around the block three times. Then four. Then five. You see where I'm going with this. It is a gradual process and I'm working up to jogging completely. Because I have always hated jogging or running of any kind, this may be my biggest hurtle to cross but I know that I will and I CAN! I own a fabulous treadmill with all of the bells and whistles BUT I am the type of person who will walk for five minutes and think of 500 reasons why I need to get off of the treadmill and do other things (laundry, homework, etc.) so I chose to walk outside. That way I CAN'T just stop walking...I have to walk if I ever want to make it home, right? See my thinking behind this. Also, it's a great way to get my kids involved. Julianne walks with me every night and has proven to be a great motivator. She'll make me jog when I think I can't jog any more! I love it! Hunter rides his bicycle beside me and challenges me to races. He always wins but that's okay. He has a bit of an advantage.
To my amazement, my husband has even gotten involved in the weight-loss process. Last weekend we cleaned out our enormous workshop and set up the home gym that has been collecting dust for years. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday he and I go out there after the kids are in bed, crank up the radio and workout. He has been a great support and he and I push each other constantly for "just one more" rep! It is fantastic and we are both loving the time it gives us together while doing something so rewarding. He wants to be able to scuba dive and spear fish. I want to zip line and rock climb. We both have things on our bucket list that we are working toward and knowing that we are getting closer to those goals has brought us closer together and I'm loving life right now.
In closing, I know this has been a really long blog and I promise that in the future, they will not be as long as this one but I wanted to share with you all how crucial it is to change your train of thought. If you're anything like me, you've spent years sitting on the couch dreaming of the person you want to be but have just been too lazy, too scared, too depressed, too unmotivated, too prone to excuses, too unsupported, too uninterested to want to change your life. I am telling you right now, after losing 21 pounds so far and completely committed to losing the rest, that you CAN do it! You CAN be the person you want to be, you CAN push yourself for just a few more minutes of exercise, you CAN resist foods that you thought were your friend, you CAN change your life because if I can do it, ANYONE CAN!
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any moral support or words of encouragement. Also, I'd like to encourage you to visit www.redriverstrength.com for some motivation. My high school friend, Jesse Normandin, is the owner and strength coach there and post VERY motivational and inspirational information on his website as well as his Facebook page that could be of some use to you men or women out there looking for a change.
Thanks for reading my blog and I will update on my progress frequently!