I have officially lost 10 pounds. To be accurate, I’ve actually lost something like 11.5 pounds, but I’m being skeptical and allowing for some water weight and stuff.
Anyway, it’s been a great journey. Not easy, not exactly fun, but great nonetheless. Am I done with my weight loss? Heck no. Ten pounds is a wonderful start but it’s just that – a start. I have a lot more to go as I push myself to be healthier.
This entire thing started because, when I first graduated high school and moved out of my parents’ house, I was in decent shape. I wasn’t thin but I wasn’t fat and I was comfortable with myself. Looking back at those old photos, I realized how much weight I had gained, and it was a source of misery and loathing for me.
The culprits were numerous. When I lived with my folks in the hills, we had no fast food. I was also more active there due to having to keep up with the duties of a small farm with horses, chickens, cows, dogs…you name it. Bottom line, I was outside more, moving around more. When I moved back into the city to live in a friend’s apartment, a lot of little changes in my daily lifestyle added up over time to some major weight gain. I was far less active, had access to a ton of unhealthy fast food, and was more apt to go out and buy junk food to eat. After a while I stopped being able to fit into my old clothes…and after several years of being in some serious denial, I finally wised up.
It took a gentle push from my doctor to make me see that I was gaining too much weight. All she said was “it would be healthy for your to lose a few pounds if you can” and it made me realize that I had gotten a bit out of control.
So last March I made a pledge to myself: lose some weight, get more active, spend less time sitting on my ass. And I did. At first I just made a few small changes. I stopped buying junk food and fast food entirely. I started cooking more healthy meals for myself and for The Boy. I pushed myself to go on a 2 mile walk every day.
After a few months I decided to up the ante. I started jogging a little bit of those 2 miles, I added weight lifting to my routine, and I bought a scale and weighed myself. I’ll be honest, when I saw the number I was certain the scale was wrong. I had to double (and triple) check. I even weighed myself on other scales just to see. And once I got over the shock and dismay I gritted my teeth and wrote that number down on a white board on my wall. Every week I recorded my weight, and slowly but surely those numbers went down.
Is ten pounds in 5 months really that big a triumph? It is for me. This was never about losing massive amounts of weight really fast. That’s not healthy. This was about getting healthier. It was about making last lifestyle changes to better my life. This was about getting up off my butt for a little bit each day and doing something to be active.
Ten pounds might not be a big number, but it’s representative of a huge accomplishment on my part. I’m motivated to lose another ten. And then another ten. And if it takes me a couple of years, that’s alright. It took me years to get this heavy.
A few words of advice to everyone who is taking this same journey with me: don’t give up. It’s okay to get frustrated and it’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to see your weight fluctuate up instead of down. It happens. Don’t give up. If you are feeling seriously burned out, rest. Take the day off of your usual work out routine. I know sometimes I just get so sick of walking on a treadmill (a necessity as outdoor temperatures here soar above 110 degrees, making outdoor exertion dangerous). So instead of going to the fitness center to slog two miles on the treadmill, I played Wii sports for a half hour, or I jumped rope and did jumping jacks. Change up your routine if you feel burnt out. Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore, especially not when you have it in your power to make it fun.
Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love. Remember: everything in moderation. Have a cookie or a cupcake once in a while. If you lack the self control to not eat an entire bag of cookies in one sitting, don’t keep a bag of cookies in the house. Bake a doze, eat one, and give the rest to friends or family. That’s what I did. Get excited about healthier snacks. I think I will post a recipe round-up of healthier snacks I have been indulging in.
And lastly, check your attitude. Weight loss isn’t easy. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can lose 50-100 pounds in a few months. Short of starvation or AIDS, losing that much weight in a short amount of time is not possible. Take a deep breath, make attainable goals (ten pounds at a time or so) and then strive to meet them. Meeting your goals, even if they aren’t huge, feels a lot better and gives you a lot more motivation than falling short. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. If your thoughts are anything like, “This is stupid and I hate working out and I’ll never losing enough weight to be pretty again”, then you have some serious issues to deal with BEFORE you get on the treadmill. Thinking negatively makes this so much harder, so instead of grousing to yourself about how much you dislike working out, try this: “I can do this. It’s hard right now but it will be easier every time I do it.”
I guess all I can say is good luck. Even a few pounds down is an achievement.