When you lose a fair amount of weight, the first thing everyone wants to know is “How are you doing it?! Did you find a magic wand? Is your jaw wired shut? Does the apple cider vinegar diet REALLY work?!?!”
Well, here’s what I am doing.
Step One: You have to hit the point where you are REALLY sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
Step Two: Buy new sneakers. Any excuse for a little retail therapy is a good one and running shoes are EXPENSIVE. If you buy them, you will feel somewhat guilty if you don’t use them.
Step Three: STOP EATING CRAP. I will be the first to admit, I LOVE cheese fries. LOVE them. When I was pregnant with my sons, I could have single-handedly supported the dairy industry. But when I finally decided I was ready to lose weight, I had to break up with cheese. NOT completely. If there’s one thing I have learned it’s that you can’t stop enjoying your life. If you are too strict, you are setting yourself up to fail. Don’t swear off everything unhealthy, just go for moderation. It took me a lot of time to get to the point where I can (usually) limit myself, as in not eating the entire order which is designed as an appetizer for 6. So on occasion, I will have them. It’s rare, and usually for something special, like a birthday, but I know that I can still have them. (Of course if you are having one of those days and find yourself in dire need of cheese fries, just remember that every day is SOMEONE’S birthday.) I’ll just make sure there’s salad on the menu that day as well, and probably a longer workout. But it’s an arrangement I can live with. And honestly, I don’t want to live in a world without cheese fries…
Step Four: Find a way to educate yourself about better food choices, nutritional health and exercise. This can be through a formal program, a book series, or through that one health nut friend that we all have, you know the one that runs marathons in July just for fun. But you have to figure out what works for you. When I first started, I bought the book Eat This, Not That. It worked well for me as a start. It got me thinking about what was in the food I was eating and helped me to make better choices. I lost about 20 pounds. Then I got pregnant, had Jack, and, well, refer to earlier cheese fry post. After Jack I was lucky enough to have a friend who was ready to start Weight Watchers. We will call her Iris. Iris and I made it fun. We started going grocery shopping together late at night on Saturdays **You can see some BIZARRE things at Wegmans on a Saturday night…** and we supported each other. We would run around the store with our WW app pulled up on the phone calculating Points on everything that caught our eye. We were there for about 3 hours the first night. Our husbands were ready to send out a search party, but we had a blast. It became more than just the dreaded shopping trip, it was our night out. Something to look forward to. (Yes, I know my wild mom’s night out at a grocery store is pretty sad, but everything is more fun with a friend!)
Having a good support system is key. Now I love my husband, really, I do. HOWEVER, this is a man who will drive though Chick-fil-a, get a banana pudding shake, Spicy Crispy Chicken sandwich and fries and eat them in front of me as I am eating a salad while running in place to burn the extra calories and yet he will still lose two pounds the next day. GRRRRRRRR. He is supportive of me, but he is not my support system. Having someone who is doing the same thing you are, REALLY helps. You can share recipes, stories, cheer for each other, call each other when you find yourself standing in the pantry with the lights off eating chocolate chips right out of the bag…. ahem… I am VERY fortunate to have a few friends doing this program with me. It really helps! If you can’t find a buddy, let me know! I’ll gladly do it!
Step Five: Get up and move your BOOTY! Yes, it’s true what they all say, you HAVE to exercise if you want to lose weight. I don’t like it either, but I do it. I work out for 45min to an hour almost every day. I got started by doing a 21 day challenge with friends. It is said that it takes 21 days to create a habit. So pledge to work out every day for 21 days. It doesn’t matter what you do, run, walk, swim, do a work out dvd, use the wii fit, whatever you want, just do something every day. It helps tremendously to work out with a buddy. My friend Iris and I can walk for almost 3 miles and we chat the entire way. It’s over in the blink of an eye. It also helps when you are doing a more intense work out. Another buddy of mine, Heather, will come over in the morning after the kids head to school and we do either the Jillian Michael’s Shred or our new favorite, Bodies in Motion with Gilad. I’m pretty sure we burn more calories making inappropriate comments and yelling obscenities at Jillian or Gilad than we do actually working out. Makes it much more bearable.
After the 21 days had passed, I found that my body actually craved the exercise. I am at the point where I actually don’t feel right if I don’t get a good workout in. It still feels strange to me to even say that. I used to believe that running was only useful if I was either being chased, or if someone was trying to snag the last piece of pizza and I had to beat them to it!!! Now I can run for 20 min (2 miles) straight! (OK, so I’ve only done that one time, but I survived damn it!) All you anti-runners out there know, that is nothing short of a miracle. I will admit, I still hate running, but I challenged myself to run a 5K. In fact I am going to be running one with my crazy health nut friend who runs marathons for fun (I told you we all have at least one!) The problem here is a 5K is like a warm up for him. But it’s actually very motivating to know this is coming. I know that I need to lose enough weight so that he can carry me on his back for the second half of the race and still register a good time. It’s only fair that I make myself as light as possible. 🙂
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Again, support is key and don’t be afraid to tell your friends, significant other, trainer, etc what you need from them. I sat my husband down and told him that I need to be told that I am awesome on a regular basis. He looked at me like I am nuts, which, let’s face it, is probably pretty accurate, but it’s what I need. You also need to distance yourself from those people who try to sabotage your success. These are people who feel threatened by your progress, whether it’s because they want to be doing it themselves, or they just like to put you down to feel good. I am VERY blessed to have no one in my life who is like this. I used to, but I got away from them.. Don’t let anyone rain on your parade. Be proud, you are kicking ass!