I've been thinking about posting something like this ever since I posted my last update -- which was my "half fitaversary," or, six months into my weight loss journey.
Let me just start by offering up a disclaimer. I am not a doctor. I am also not a nutritionist. I am also not a personal trainer. If you want to lose weight successfully and make big lifestyle changes, I suggest that you take your own journey and possibly talk to real, certified doctors, nutritionists, trainers, and the like. Go online and do research for what works for your weight/height/BMI. Try different forms of exercise and see what works for you. What worked/is working for me is not what will work for everyone. :)
Now that I got that out of the way...
I was truly overwhelmed by the responses to my last blog/note and my 6-month, side-by-side comparison photo here on the blog and on Facebook. I mean, I literally sat at my desk and cried....but it was the good kind of tears. I was reminded just how blessed I am with awesome and supportive people in my life. I haven't once had to go through this alone, and it's why I've been so successful in reaching my goals. Basically it was an AWESOME day. :)
I got more than one question/comment asking "What's your secret?! I try it for two weeks and I'm back to eating badly and not working out!"
Well...there's no magic answer for that, honestly. I can tell you what I did, sure. I don't have a problem sharing. But before I do that, I have to say this:
You are in control of it. It's YOUR choice. If you don't really and truly want to make a change in your habits and in your lifestyle, it's not going to work. There is no quick-fix -- at least, nothing that will be long-lasting. Sure, I could have tried the nasty-sounding "cleanse" I've heard so much about, but anything involving maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper makes me gag. And then, once I started back into my old routine? I'd gain all that weight back. So, really, what was the point?!
I told myself for years that I was going to start eating better, start exercising, etc. Did I ever make any real changes? Nope. It wans't until I looked at myself honestly for the first time back in December that I felt the overwhelming desire to change. I can't tell you how to make that happen. Sorry. :(
So, what did I do? Well, I logged on to SparkPeople and created an account. From there, I entered in my height, weight, age, etc. and how much weight I wanted to lose. It calculated how many calories I should strive to consume in a day (it actually gave me a calorie range, but it was easier for me to find an average and go from there). Then I started counting every. single. thing. I ate. If I ate an apple? I googled "how many calories in an apple" and put it on my notepad on my phone or at my desk. If I couldn't figure out how many calories, I just cut down on my portion sizes.
Sure, I still had yummy food. But I made choices to eat those things. Rather than giving in to the unbelievable urge to make an illegal U-turn and head to McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin, I'd say "on Friday morning of next week, I'm going to get an Egg McMuffin for breakfast." But, I still counted the calories and adjusted accordingly throughout the day. I don't advocate never going out and having a few beers, ordering dessert, etc. But it's all about control and making choices...at least, it is with me.
But wait! It's not all about food! For me, starting with the eating was the smartest choice. Because, if I start with excercise, I start making excuses. "Oh sure, I can eat this -- I worked out today." Wrong.
My good friend Kels encouraged me to take a 14-day challenge. That challenge was to do something that made me sweat for 30 minutes every day for 14 days. It wasn't always the same thing. Some days it was a walk/jog with my dog. Some days it was Yoga. Some days it was Jazzercise, when I was still doing that. It didn't matter as long as it got me off my ass and sweating. That's when I really started to notice the weight coming off more quickly, and that is FUN! :) It got me into a habit of getting some kind of physical activity every day, and now I actually (gasp!) look forward to working out sometimes.
Now I just try to take the same approach with my ridiculously busy schedule. Some friends who ARE trainers and coaches (yes, Jimmy, I hear you!) are strongly encouraging me to find a solid plan to help me reach the next phase of my goals, and I really would like to do that. But, I still try to get some really good sweaty time in 3-4 times a week at least.
So...that's what I've been doing. It's not rocket science, but it may not also work for everyone.
Now, onto the "why it's no secret" part. I've been noticing that a few people don't care for the fact that I put all this out there into the interwebs. "Keep it off Facebook, nobody needs to know your weight," or "you just want attention." Leave it to me to sort through ALL THE AMAZING and positive and find the negative, right? :)
Both of those are valid comments. Sure, not everyone cares how many pounds or tenths of pounds I've lost. But it keeps me honest. I put it out there and I can't lie once I've started. It's accountability and it's worked for me. If you don't care? Hide me. Delete me. See if I care. If you truly care that little about what is that important to me? Peace out. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I know I've done the same when people have gotten out of control with their political leanings or constant family drama on FB. That's why that sexy little "Hide" button exists! Use it!
I'm not trying to be rude about it, but...I also can't help but thing that those who are the most anti-weight loss-status update may have their OWN weight issues. Why does it bother you so much that I put that out there, otherwise? I'm just sayin'!
As for the "you just want attention" part, well.....come on. DUH. Of course I love the attention I get. You name ONE PERSON (one WOMAN especially) who doesn't love feeling great and knowing they look great, and I'll buy you a big ol' coffee.
Also, as I've said before, the affirmation and encouragement have been invaluable. What I'm NOT doing is fishing for compliments. I don't thrive so much on compliments that I desperately need to get on Facebook and get a stream of "you look great" in order to get through my day. I can look in the mirror, or pull off an old pair of pants without unzipping them to get that kind of affirmation. But yes, I'll admit it: the attention is nice. Sue me. I'm human, I'm a woman, and I like feeling beautiful and FIT. The day I stop getting a high off of that is the day I don't want to wake up. *shrug*
I don't really want to end this on such a sassy note....haha! But I felt compelled to say that. If you don't know me well enough to know that in my heart I am incredibly grateful, blessed, and happy to have the accountability, affirmation, love and support and that's really, overall, why I'm putting this out into the world, then there's nothing more I can say.
Sorry there are no magic formulas, no quick fixes, but I will always answer an email if you want the same support I've been offered. I want EVERYONE who wants to feel better about themselves and make positive changes to feel like I have felt. It's really awesome, and I wish it on you all. :)