Friday, December 21, 2012

18 Month Update

Hey there!  I'm almost a week late with my 18-month update post, since Sunday was my official check-in date, but I have been really sick with the respiratory junk that had been going around, and just haven't had it in me to sit down and write a post until today.  I started getting sick Sunday afternoon and went downhill from there with the fever, sore throat, chest and head congestion, coughing, weakness, and everything that comes along with it.  I was sicker than I can remember being in several years!  From Tuesday evening through Thursday morning, I didn't even leave my bed for over 34 hours (with the exception of a few trips to the bathroom).  I am finally starting to feel a little better today, so there's still hope for being better before Christmas!  Anyway, on to the update...

As of my 18-month weigh-in on December 16th, for the month I lost 11.4 pounds which took me to a grand total of down 151.20 pounds in 18 months! 

I had a goal of reaching 150 pounds lost by the 18-month point, so I was really excited to see that I had exceeded it!  I cheered when I saw the number on the scale, and then burst into tears.  My sweet husband hugged me and kept telling me over and over again how proud of me he was.  It was definitely a good morning!

Every time I look at the numbers and see where I'm at, compared to where I've come from, I can't help but praise God for the changes He has helped me make in my life.  No, I cannot say that it has always been easy, because change rarely is simple, but I can honestly say it has been easier than I ever imagined it would be, and difficult or not, it has always been good and well worth the effort!

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength"
Philippians 4:13, NLT


(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hello Facebook!

I am excited to tell you that I have set up a Facebook page for my blog!  I would love for you to check it out and to Like it while you're there.  Just click this link to go directly to the page (you'll have to log on to Like it):

www.facebook.com/FromPolyesterToSpandex

This will take you right to my page, where you can click to Like it, and then don't forget to hover over the Like button and check the box for "show in news feed" so that you don't miss any of the posts.

I'll be posting links whenever I have written a new blog, as well as fun updates from time to time.  I promise not to overwhelm your newsfeed! 

When I first began my journey to lose 225 pounds through healthy choices in food and exercise, I had a hard time finding others who had succeeded in doing what I was trying to accomplish.  I found many examples of folks who had lost 100 or even 150 pounds without surgeries, programs, fad diets, or other extreme measures, but those who have lost over 200 pounds "on their own" so to speak, were a lot fewer and farther between.  Although I'm still working towards my goal (down 147 pounds so far!), I hope that my story can be an encouragement to others.

Please feel free to share the link on your own Facebook page and help me spread the word about From Polyester to Spandex!

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Another Openin', Another Show

As I mentioned in a previous post titled, "I Like It! I Really Like It!",  I was actively involved in band, vocal music, and theatre throughout high school and college, and even majored in Music Education when I attended college (the first go around) right out of high school.  I have always had a great love of performing.  There is something about telling a story, be it through word or music, that has always been dear to me.  The conveyance of thought and emotion via the arts is simply a part of who I am.  With that in mind, I just love how God brings the pieces of our lives together!  I have been very blessed to have served for the last 20 years in the arena of church drama ministry, and have worked as the Creative Arts pastor for my church the last several years.  It has been one of my greatest joys to share the Gospel in this manner.  My passion for sharing the thruths of God's Word has been blended beautifully with my love of the arts, and I am so thankful for that!

Recently, an opportunity came up that has returned me to my traditional theatre roots!  I had heard that a local theatre was holding auditions for one of my all-time favorite shows, "The Music Man", and after some prayer and discussion, my family decided that my oldest son and I would both audition.  I am happy to say that we were both cast!  This is proving to be a great time for me to sharpen my skills and learn from others, as well as to expand my network of friends who are locally involved in the arts.  Plus, I love that I'm getting to share this experence with my son!  We've only had a few rehearsals so far, but we're already having a blast with it!

As I think about actually performing in this type of show again, I cannot help but realize that 146 pounds ago, I would have never even considered auditioning.  Oh, I would have wanted to very much, but my physical condition would have kept me from it.  I wasn't sick or battling any illness, but there is no way I could have stood on my feet through the long rehearsals or had the endurance to make it through 15 performances over three weeks.  Not to mention, there is a good amount of dance that is involved in this show as well.  Just the small section we learned at auditions would have been enough to do me in back in the days before I started losing weight.  Now, I'm actually finding myself looking forward to starting the choreography work in the coming rehearsals!  I'm thinking I need to wear my HRM to dance rehearsals so I can track how many calories I burn! 

Day after day, I am realizing how much better my life is becoming as the extra pounds fade away.  Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that losing weight is making me into a better person or changing who I truly am.  I'm still the same person, with the same heart as before.  But what it is doing however, is allowing who I really am to come out of hiding.  Each pound lost represents a restriction that I break through.  I can psycially do more than I have in years, and I'm loving every minute of it!  Even though two years ago I would have argued that my weight was not holding me back from living and enjoying my life, I was wrong, but I couldn't see it until I started making changes.  I am able to do things and actively participate fully in life in ways I didn't realize I had been missing out on until now!

If I feel this good now, I can hadly wait to see what life is like when I reach my goal!

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lost a Person

When I first set out to lose weight, I knew it would take some time to reach my final goal of losing 225 pounds.  After all, a person doesn’t gain that much weight overnight, and I didn’t expect it to disappear that fast either.  I have always been very realistic about my approach, and planned from the onset for it to take around 2-and-a-half years.  My projections have been right on target so far, as I am 17 months in and am about 64% of the way there (okay, yes, I’m a numbers geek, I admit it!).  When you’ve got that much weight to lose, and know it’s going to take a while, finding creative ways to evaluate your progress helps keep things interesting.  For instance, you could say that I have lost the equivalent of:

- 28 (almost 29) 5-lbs bags of sugar
- 32,535 M&Ms
- 16 (almost 17) gallons of whole milk
- 6 cases of 24 bottles of water
- 12 bowling balls (12 pounds each)

Once I had lost around 120 pounds or so, when people found out how much I had lost, I often heard comments like, “Wow!  You’ve lost an entire person!”  This remark has never felt more appropriate to me than it does today…As of this morning, I have now lost 144.6 pounds, which is more than my husband, who comes in at 143.3 pounds, weighs! 

When I put it into this perspective, before I started losing weight, it was like I had my husband taking a piggyback ride on my shoulders all day, every day!  It’s no wonder I was tired all the time and didn’t have much energy!  Although I love my husband dearly, I’m not altogether sure that’s what the vow, “to have and to hold” was really talking about!

Only 80.4 pounds left until I reach my goal…hmmm, that’s about the equivalent of one of my kids plus my dog’s weights! 

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Face Photos

Just a quick comparison photo set today!  From six months before I started losing weight, to today, down 143.5 pounds in a little over 17 months!  Looking at the old picture, I can't help but see the huge difference in my neck and chin.  Sometimes, despite the numbers that show up on the scale, I have to go back through photos to remind myself of how far God has brought me on this journey!



(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Out to Lunch

I just finished a quick lunch time grocery shopping trip to Publix to stock up on items for my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks I eat at work and was thinking about how drastically different my lunch time “run out to pick up something” routine is from a year-and-a-half ago.  Before I made my changes to living a healthier life, I didn’t think twice about running through a drive-through to grab a biscuit and hashbrown on the way to work, and then hitting the drive through yet again for a burger and fries, or tacos, or something equally as bad for me. These days, that has all changed.  Now, I stock up my work fridge and cabinet and eat in my office.

Here’s what I bought today:

3 cases of bottled water
2 jars of no-sugar-added pickles
2 bowls of deli-made peach-mango salsa
3-pound bowl of seedless watermelon
1 pound of strawberries
3 packs of turkey sausage patties
2 cartons of blueberries
1 pack fiber granola 90-calorie bars
1 dozen hardboiled eggs
2 pounds fresh cut pineapple
2 bananas
1 pound cut broccoli
1 loaf healthy life bread
1 pack flat out light wraps

Looking at this list makes me very happy.  Is it completely unprocessed?  Nope, but most of it is, and the things that aren’t still represent decent choices for their respective items.  These things, along with a few things I already had on hand at work left over from my last shopping trip (including some deli turkey, hummus, carrots, tuna, chicken, and other things), will carry me through my daytime meals for the next two work weeks or so.

When I compare a lunch meal from before with a typical lunch meal today, it looks something like this:

THEN  - 1,630 Calories and 72 grams of Fat              
Bacon Cheeseburger C-790; F-39                              
Large Fries C-500;  F-25                                           
Caramel Sundae C-340; F-8                                       

NOW – 377 Calories and 9 grams of Fat
Turkey Sandwich – C-130; F-1
1 Cup Broccoli – C-25; F-0
2 tbsp hummus – C-70; F-6
2 cups watermelon – C-92; F-5
1 oz. sugar-free pickles – C-0; F-0
Sugar-free pudding cup – C;60; F-1.5

The difference in the two is really amazing!  What more can I say about it?  It costs much less for me to eat healthy, it requires less time since I’m no longer waiting in drive-through lines twice a day, and the reduction in calories and fat grams (not to mention, sodium, carbs, sugars, etc.) is HUGE, and in the end, my overall health and weight are significantly improving as a result of the changes.  You just can’t argue with that!

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Procrastination & Goals

As a quick follow-up to yesterday's post "Why Wait?", I just wanted to share a few of my own personal thoughts on procrastination and goals...

- Procrastination never got anyone to their goals.  Progress requires action!

- In my life, I've known a lot of people who were great at setting goals.  I, however, want to be known as someone who reaches her goals!

- People who say they are going to do something do not impress me.  People who have done what they set out to accomplish both motivate and inspire me.

- I do not want to get so stuck in thinking, dreaming, and planning, that I never start moving, reaching, and doing!

- Making a list of goals without taking action is nothing more than doodling!

Have a great day...and DO domething with it!

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Wait?

Having spent my entire life as an overweight person (seriously, I was way too heavy for my age even as a toddler!), I always knew that I needed to do something to get my eating habits under control.  An entry from my journal when I was 13 said, “I am going to start watching what I eat and get skinny…” The following day, my next entry expresses clearly that I didn’t know how to do that, and had failed miserably when I wrote, “Mama made macaroni and cheese with little smokies for dinner tonight.  I ate a whole plate of macaroni and 6 sausages and then had seconds.  Guess I’ll always be fat.”  While I can remember ALWAYS wanting to be thinner, it took me until I was 39 years old to actually DO something about it.

Knowing and doing can be worlds apart…but they don’t have to be!  I knew I had reached my all-time highest weight back in June 2011 long before I ever got on the scale because I was wearing the biggest clothes I had ever owned.  No one had to tell me that I needed to make some healthy changes.  No one reaches a size 34/36 without realizing that they are huge and have some issues they need to address!  I had decided that I was going to start implementing changes right after my 39th birthday passed and start fresh at the beginning of the next month, on July 1st.  On June 16th, however, I was out shopping and found a great scale on sale that had one of the highest weight limits I had ever seen available for a personal home scale, so I went ahead and bought it in preparation for my big day on the 1st.  I also downloaded the MyFitnessPal app onto my phone that morning so I could play around with it and learn how to use it properly. 

While trying to get everything set up for a day in the future I had tagged as my “start date”, the combination of tracking the calories of the food I ate that day, along with setting up my new scale and facing the truth of how much I actually weighed caused me to forget about waiting until July 1st.  I immediately began weighing and tracking daily, and I have continued to do so diligently for the more than 500 days since then. 

It is easy to say you need to do something to improve your health, be it losing weight, making better nutritional choices, beginning a workout program, or something else, but if you convince yourself that you’ll start it on Monday, next week, next month, or with a New Year’s resolution, then chances are, you’ll lose the drive and motivation, or talk yourself out of it, and never start. 

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through the last 17 months is to identify the changes that need to be made, and then don’t hesitate, just make them!  The ideal time is now, because if you wait for the perfect time, excuses will get in the way and that perfect time will never come.

My motto now is, “Why wait?”

So…What are you waiting for???

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Happy and Successful Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! 

For the last few years, my sister, my sister-in-law, and I have taken turns doing the cooking and hosting of the three major winter celebration holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.  It makes it easier on everyone to only host one big meal, and we all really enjoy the one we each do.  My sister-in-law does Thanksgiving dinner at her house, which really helped me stay on track this weekend.  I didn't do any of the cooking, which meant no temptations to sample the goodies while they were being prepared, and it also meant no leftovers staring at me from my fridge the next day.  I call that a win-win situation! 

I had planned a few weeks ago to allow myself to go up to maintenance calories instead of my loss level on Thanksgiving Day, because 1300 calories was just not enough for a holiday!  I stayed true to my plan, and had a healthy breakfast, followed by some turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes, and had lots of good veggies like green beans (plain, not a casserole!), steamed broccoli, and carrots, and topped it all off with a small slice of pumpkin pie for our big lunch.  At dinner/leftovers time, I had a little more turkey and a spoonful of pasta and called it a day!  I was full and content, but did not overeat or make myself miserable as I admit I have done in years past.

My favorite part of the day came after lunch.  Before we began eating, my sister-in-law asked each of us to go around the table taking turns offering the prayer and giving thanks for whatever was on our heart.  Our boys didn't want to participate, and we didn't force them to.  After the meal, I could not resist the urge to get up and move!  I decided to go out for a long walk around the neighborhood, and the boys gladly came with me.  As we walked, I suggested we play the "thanks game" and each take turns saying things we were thankful for and why, and they were so excited to play, that their lists were endless!  We walked and talked for 30 minutes, covering 1.5 miles (distance recorded thanks to my mapping app I actually remembered to turn on when we started), and we were still naming things as we finished the walk.  Some of the things the boys named were pretty deep considering they're only 6 and 7, while others were just plain fun!  Some of my favorites included:

Thankful for toys, because they keep us from being bored
Thankful for Jesus dying on the cross to forgive us
Thankful for shoes, so we don't hurt our feet when we're outside
Thankful that Daddy didn't die when he was sick and in the hospital
Thankful for our family, so we don't have to be alone
Thankful for candy, because our mouths like it
Thankful for our dog, Happy, because we love him
Thankful for sunshine, because it feels good on our skin
Thankful for crayons because we like all the different colors God made for us

The rest of the weekend was spent doing things like putting up the Christmas tree, watching movies, doing a little Christmas shopping (I skipped the Black Friday crazy hours and still got everything on my list quickly and easily and without the shopping drama!), and just hanging out together.  Beautiful days, indeed!

Oh...by the way...I also got to move DOWN a size in my jeans this weekend!  There's a certain brand and style that I really like, and when I caught them on a fantastic sale a couple of months ago, I bought 3 pair in each of the next 4 sizes down.  It was a great deal, and that way, I've got the smaller sizes on hand for inspiration, and am also ready for when the time comes that I lose enough to fit into each of them.  Two weeks ago, I tried on the next size down, and couldn't get them over my hips.  This weekend, not only did they fit, they fit well enough I wore them for our annual family photo with Santa!  Being confident enough in a garment to wear it purposely for a photo says a lot for me! 

All in all, it truly was a happy and successful Thanksgiving!




Friday, November 9, 2012

Shopping Adventures

Shopping for clothes has always been something I've enjoyed...well, to a certain extent.  I love seeing the new styles and fashions for each season, and I love having and wearing clothes that make me feel good about myself.  When you're wearing sizes at the top end of the plus sized lines at the specialty stores, however, shopping seems to lose some of its appeal.  When you're in very large sizes, shopping can become more of a frustration than a pleasure when you try on piece after piece, only to have it be too small, or just not look right due to your body shape. 

Can I have a brief soapbox moment?  I must say that I really don't appreciate the trend that goes on in the catalogs for most of the exclusively plus-sized clothing companies where they use models who are probably wearing a size 6 or 8 to show their garments.  In my personal opinion, I think there are a couple of reasons why this happens.  One possible explanation is that showing the clothes on women without weight issues convinces overweight women to buy the clothes, because it makes them think they're going to look like the women in the photos when they wear it.  I can assure you that a woman who wears a size 18, 24, or 32 will not look the same in an outfit as a woman who wears it in a size 8.  Case in point...I tried on a sweater dress in a store recently that looked very cute on the model in an advertisement I had seen.  My conclusion?  Whoever made that particular style of sweater dress for a plus-sized woman apparently never saw a plus-sized woman actually wear it!  Not flattering in any way!  Another possible explanation may be that, for the most part, our society doesn't tend to recognize plus-sized women as being as beautiful, or as marketable, as their smaller sized counterparts.  Sad, but unfortunately true. 

Okay, stepping off the soapbox now...

With my weight loss, shopping has become a bit more interesting.  For my birthday back in June, I was given a gift card to an upscale department store.  While I was appreciative of the gift, I didn't think I could use it to buy any clothes there.  My first reaction was that perhaps I could find some accessories, or shoes (because I can ALWAYS buy shoes!!!), because surely nothing would fit me in their clothing department.  All I've known for most of my life has been shopping at one or two exclusively plus sized stores and from a couple of catalogs. 

On a whim, I decided to go into the women's section and take a look around.  It's interesting though, how being overweight can cause a person to feel like they just don't belong in certain places.  I felt like I had somehow snuck in and someone would discover me and throw me out.  While I was looking through the racks, I kept feeling like a store clerk would come up to me at any minute and say something like, "Are you looking for a gift for someone else?"  Because, surely, I couldn't be shopping there for myself...or could I???  Imagine my delight when I realized that I could actually wear their garments!  Honestly, I was a little bit overwhelmed by it.  I stood in the fitting room, looking at myself wearing an adorable dress I had seen on a mannequin, and broke into tears right there in front of the mirror. 

Since that day, I 've been back a couple of times and had fun trying on different outfits and experimenting with different styles I've never been able to wear before.  The sweetest victory in it?  The pieces I bought in that first shopping trip there are now way too big for me and I just took them to the consignment store last week to re-sell them and I'm ready to move down another size!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Down 141.1 Pounds with Comparison Photos


As of today, I’m down 141.1 pounds!  I have just 83.9 pounds left to lose until I reach my goal!

I realized that today I am wearing an outfit very similar (although several sizes smaller) to one I wore in one of my early weight loss photos.  I guess, no matter what size I am, I’m comfortable in a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt!  Anyway, I thought I’d post some quick side-by-side comparison photos! 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 Year-End Goals

I can't believe today is November 1st and we've only got two months left of 2012!  Yesterday couldn't possibly have been Halloween, could it?  I think it was actually Valentine's Day and everyone was just confused...either that, or this year is absolutely flying by!

I guess reality wins out, because today I'm thinking about the goals I want to achieve between now and the end of the year.  For so many years in my past, Halloween was the kick-off to the prime food and goodies time of the year that involved several holiday parties and get-togethers over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and wrapped up with our annual family New Year's Day bash, guaranteeing each new year was started by trying to find my way out of a food coma.  But, by golly, times have changed!

Last year, I did really well throughout November and December by maintaining my weight, and actually losing a pound or two during that time.  I had only started my weight loss efforts in June 2011, so by Thanksgiving, I was only 5 months in with 56 pounds lost, but was determined I wouldn't blow it over the holidays.  To that end, I made a conscious decision to raise my daily calorie intake from loss levels to maintenance levels for those two months.  That allowed me a little wiggle room but still kept me in check as I continued to log everything I ate.  Yes, I even journaled my food on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day!

This year, however, things are a little different.  I'm now 16 months in with a loss of 136 pounds, and I really don't want to give up making progress for the next two months just because it's the holidays.  I've decided to go to maintenance levels (which affords me a few hundred extra calories per day) only on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, not for the entire season this year.  The fact is, I like wearing smaller clothes and feeling better far more than I like pumpkin pie or yeast rolls!

That being said, I'm heading into the final weeks of 2012 with specific health and weight goals I want to reach and with a plan in place to achieve them, and I thought I'd share a couple of them with you here.

November & December 2012 Goals
1) Lose 15 pounds (this will put me exactly 75 pounds away from my final goal weight!)
2) Work out 3 times a week, even on holiday weeks
3) Increase the intensity of my work outs (higher weights, increased sets/reps, etc.)
4) Register for my first 5K run
5) Increase my running speed/endurance (move from running intervals to extended periods of running)
6) Go down one size in jeans
7) Pay attention to and appreciate the people and interactions at holiday gatherings more than the food

So, there you have it!  Those are a few of my goals.  Have you started thinking about the end of the year yet?  What kind of goals are you setting?  I'd love to hear from you!  Let's finish this year off feeling great about ourselves by making healthy choices!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Workouts

From time to time I get asked what kind of workouts or exercise that I’m doing, so I thought I’d share a bit about that part of my journey today.

When I first started my transition into a healthier lifestyle in June 2011, mobility and endurance were a struggle for me.  I was dealing with a sciatic nerve injury, which was intensified by the extra weight I was carrying on my body.  There were many days when it could literally take anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes for me to go from a laying down position to standing up from my bed in the mornings simply due to the pain being so bad and making it so hard to even move.  Once up, standing or walking for more than just a few minutes was out of the question. 

This being the case, in my mind exercise seemed out of reach for me when I first started making changes, although I knew that I needed to somehow find a way to get myself moving more.

For the first 11 months, from June 2011 – May 2012, my exercise was sporadic, at best.  From time to time I would do a brief workout with a video, or would go outside to walk during my lunch break at work, but that was about it.  During that time, I really focused on learning to eat right and get my nutrition into balance.  Self-control in my eating habits became my primary goal.  I knew that I had to get that area under control before exercise would do me much good, because I didn’t want to work myself silly in the gym just to try to keep up with my eating. 

The personal discipline I have learned in my food habits has now transferred over to my exercise.  As I have posted about previously, I joined a gym in May 2012, and have been going strong with it ever since.  I’m finding that I love pushing myself a little bit farther with each workout, be it through a faster speed or higher incline on the treadmill, or by increasing weights or reps in my strength training.  Most of all, I am continually thankful to no longer have the mobility issues I used to suffer with. 

These days, my workouts vary, typically between in the gym and at home workouts, based on my schedule.  I am pretty adamant about exercising a minimum of three times per week, and sometimes get in four in a week.  I know a lot of people swear by 6-days per week workouts, but I know what will realistically work for me, and setting challenging, yet obtainable goals has been key for my success thus far, so right now, my goal remains 3-4 per week.  What do those look like right now?

At the gym:
- My gym routine changes every month or so to keep things fresh, but always involves 30-40 minutes on the treadmill.  I do intervals with my speed, ranging from 3.3mph to 5.0mph with the incline ranging from 1.0 – 8.0.  In addition, I do strength training in the circuit using 12 different machines, lifting/pushing/pulling weights from 30-120 pounds with reps ranging from 25-40.  I also have two additional machines I use that are targeted towards helping the sciatic issues specifically.  When I can catch an extra day in the gym, I’ll swim laps for 30-60 minutes.

At home:
- Running/Walking up and down our hill – We live at the top of a fairly steep incline and our street is just over 1/10th of a mile long.  As my heart rate monitor (HRM) has proven, making laps back and forth up and down the hill provides a great cardio workout and burns a lot of calories! 
- There is a park close by my house and I’ve just recently started making use of their pathways for walking/running
- I have several sets of weights and videos that incorporate both strength and cardio training.  I don’t do these too often, because I much prefer being outside or at the gym, but they’re good for a change every now and then.

That about sums it up! 

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional or certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Changing Sizes



So much has changed in the last 16 months…I have lost over 135 pounds.  I look at the number on the scale and see the drastic difference.  I log my daily weight into a spreadsheet and I see the downward trend that has continued over the months.  The changes I’ve experienced come in so many practical, every day ways.  For instance…

- I have greatly improved mobility, flexibility, strength, and endurance.  Here at 40 years old, I feel far better than I did at 30. 

- I see photos of myself and can’t help but notice that I look younger and healthier.  I’m not afraid of having my picture taken anymore, and am having fun snapping a new picture with every 5 or 10 pounds I lose.

- After our recent travels I realized that I’m no longer someone who eats candy bars or chips from the gas station at every stop, or gets fast food on the road while traveling.  Instead, I’m someone who books her hotel rooms based on which hotel has the best fitness center and carries fruit and healthy snacks from home. 

I am not yet at my goal weight, but I realize how far I’ve come.  I know I’ve lost, as several people have said to me, “an entire person” with the amount of weight I’ve lost so far, but when I shop for clothes, I still have trouble getting my mind around my shrinking size…

I just took several of my winter coats from years past into the consignment store last weekend to sell them.  They all ranged from a women’s size 3X (26/28) to a women’s size 5X (34/36).  As I pulled each of them out of the closet, I laughed when I tried them all on, one by one, seeing if any of them still fit.  Each and every one of them was way too big for me and there’s no way any of them would work for this winter!

After dropping off the coats and picking up a check from some of the other clothes the consignment store had recently sold for me, I decided to go shopping for a new coat.  I found a beautiful, bright blue one that I loved, and grabbed one to try on.  Now, keep in mind, in my life, I’ve always had to look for the largest sizes available and hope for the best.  I knew that the size 3X coats I had just gotten rid of were too big, so I got a size 2X and wondered if it could possibly fit, and was completely shocked when it was too big!  I picked up a size 1X (18/20) and snickered to myself that there’s no way it was going to fit…but it did, and perfectly!  I guess I still couldn’t believe it though, because I switched back and forth between the 2X and 1X three more times, trying them both on, looking into the mirror, and comparing the way they each fit.  I’m still shaking my head and surprised that the 1X was the best choice and the one I ended up buying!

Goodness, I know that some women would shudder at the thought of being a size 18/20 and think that’s huge, but when you’ve come down from where I started from, it is reason to celebrate!  What’s even more fun, is I know that next year at this time, my beautiful blue size 1X coat will be too big and headed to the consignment store rack!


Feeling great in a size 1X!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Whew!  The last month has been a whirlwind!  Here's a few random tidbits of catching up:

- Today is my 16-month anniversary since my change to a healthy lifestyle.  I have now lost a total of 135.3 pounds so far!  I am now just 89.7 pounds away from my goal weight!  Whoo hoo!

- My husband and I recently celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary!  He is a 10-foot-tall superhero in my eyes, and I am so thankful God chose to give us to one another!

- I just finished another one of my college courses in working on my psychology degree and have spent the last several weeks doing a considerable bit of paper writing.  This class was called "Addictive Disorders" and although it focused primarily on substance use and abuse (such as drugs and alcohol, etc.), so much of the class was applicable to food addictions as well.  It provided a great deal of new insight to me in this area. The countdown is on...I've only got 7 classes left until graduation!

- A few months into my weight loss journey, I felt like God wanted me to share my story and to help encourage other people along the way.  One way I've done that is through this blog.  Another way has been through a class I've developed called "Reflections: Healthy and Beautiful from the Inside Out".  While I'm not a dietician or medical professional, I am a pastor, and as such, I've been given the opportunity through my church to present my class in an 8-week small group format.  We're going into Week 4 tomorrow night, and it has been a joy to speak to the women who have attended about spiritual, emotional, and practical issues regarding healthy living! 

- Without going into the details...our family experienced a terrible tragedy in the loss of my brother-in-law in a fatal car accident a couple of weeks ago, and my husband and I and our boys had to take an unexpected road trip to Texas for the funeral, covering over 2,000 miles in 5 days.  Along the way, we saw two major accidents on the interstate (one even had a life flight helicopter land on the highway to help out).  It was a rollercoaster of emotions as we prayed for those involved in those accidents, were grieving our loss, and were thankful for our own safe travels.

Through all of these events, along with many more, such as me continuing to work 40+ hours a week at the investment firm with almost 2 hours a day spent commuting back and forth, teaching a Bible School course on Ethics in Ministry, being out of town for 5 days on our annual pastor's retreat, being sick for two weeks, and keeping up with our kids, I've continued to carve out time to work out and have maintained healthy eating and kept losing weight through it all.

I guess that's the difference between a "diet" and a "lifestyle change" isn't it?  Diets are temporary.  They require strict adherence to work right, and typically have little to no flexibility.  When extraordinary life events pop up, diets can be thrown for a loop.  Making a lifestyle change, however, means learning how to make healthy choices and stick to your commitment, no matter the circumstances or situations you find yourself facing or how busy or hectic your schedule may become.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finishing What I Started



This weekend I celebrated a major accomplishment!  I went to a park near our house and walked/jogged a 5K!  My total time was 45min 56sec for 3.13 miles.  I missed grabbing a screen shot of the mapping app right at the 5K distance and snapped it at 0.2 after, so I don’t have the time for 3.1 miles exactly.  I actually kept going though and did a grand total of 3.5 miles in 50min 52sec (which included a brief stop for about 10seconds to say a quick hello to some friends from church that happened to be driving by and pulled over when they spotted me).

Now, in the grand scheme of things, I realize that people complete 5K races on a regular basis, and that my speed may not have been all that fast, but let me explain why this is such a great success for me...

In September 2009, our church participated in a charitable 5K event.  My family, along with many others, registered for it.  This was almost two years before I started on my weight loss journey, and the farthest I was walking those days was from my house to the car, or in and out of my office, etc.  I really didn't take that into consideration when I signed up for the event back then, and just figured that since so many of my friends were taking part, I could too.

As we started out that day, I was pushing one of my children in his stroller and thought to myself, "this isn't so hard, I can do this..." but that feeling didn't last very long.  After just a short time, I found myself falling farther and farther behind in the pack of runners, joggers, and walkers.  Within a few minutes, I was the absolute last person trekking along.  Literally.  The LAST Person.  The police escort car assigned to bring up the rear was just a few feet behind me, and the space between me and the other folks in front of me was growing longer by the moment.  I was 37 years old and had been passed by everyone else participating in the race by an embarrassing distance, including children, senior citizens, and three women who were pushing people in wheelchairs!  I gave up altogether.  I dropped out of the course and cut across a parking lot and took my boys into the park where the finish line was so they could play while we waited for everyone else to complete the event.


That was three years ago, and the memory of that day has stayed with me.  I felt like such a failure that morning when I could not finish something I had started.  It was something that seemed so easy in my mind, yet my body simply couldn’t keep up back then.  When I started losing weight in June of 2011, one of my goals was to be able to complete a 5K and finish what I started.  15 months and 131 pounds later, I have done just that!  And...I have my eye on an official event I'm considering signing up for soon!

So, even though I was just at a local park, not participating in an official event this past weekend, it might as well have been the Olympics to me!  I experienced a great victory and I feel incredible about it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Facing My Issues

October 2009                                                      August 2012
This past Sunday at church, I was wearing a t-shirt with our current sermon series title on it.  The front reads, "I've Got Issues" and the back says, "And So Do You."  It has been a fantastic series that has dealt with the issues of anger, family, and fear over the last three weeks.  We've got one more week to go, and I know it'll be great as well! 

As I was looking at the picture of me in this shirt, I couldn't help but think about my weight loss journey.  You see, everyone has issues in their lives.  Those areas of life that we try to tuck away because we don't want others to know that we're struggling with something.  No matter what the issue is, it will eventually surface, no matter how hard we try to cover it up, but when those issues result in carrying around extra physical weight on our bodies, it's impossible to hide at all.  You can dress yourself in the nicest clothes, wear the most expensive accessories, and sport a trendy haircut, but when you are overweight, none of those things can mask the fact that some facet of your life has gotten out of control.  The photo of me conducting a marriage vow renewal ceremony from October 2009 shows how hard I tried to look my best, yet there's no mistaking that something is definitely going on behind the scenes.

I understand that some people deal with medical-related issues that have caused weight gain and that is an entirely different situation altogether, but that is not the case for everyone who deals with their weight.  Some people eat to dull some hurt from past the past or a current fear, or they turn to food for comfort after a bad day.  I grew up in an environment where indulgent foods were plentiful and physical activity was non-existent and got stuck in a cycle of eating more and moving less.  I figured that since I had always been heavy, that would just be my lot in life.  I've known people who used to be an athlete or were regularly involved in some type of activity that required eating a lot to keep up with the physical demands but then that season ended, yet they still eat the same way.  Others simply love food and have a hard time regulating how much they allow themselves.  The list of food and weight related issues goes on and on...

The beautiful thing I've discovered in my life, is that when I stopped and faced my issues, and I mean I've really been taking a look at the hard truths in an honest and straight forward manner, well, that is what has given me the power to change.  As long as I kept trying to convince myself that the habits I had engaged in for so long were okay, it was impossible to live the life I so deeply wanted to be living.  By facing my issues, I am overcoming them by leaps and bounds!

Freedom can be found, but only if you face your issues!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Busted!

Just a quick update...For those of you who read my blog from 08/06/12 titled, "The 'P' Word", I just wanted to let you know that I have busted through that plateau phase and am now down over 5 more pounds since that post!  To date, I have now lost 120.4 pounds total!

I have discovered that a plateau is not a final stopping point, unless when you reach one, you give up!  It may be a frustrating place, but I choose to think of it as a yield sign, not a stop sign...It's a time of slowing down, looking around and assessing the situation, making the proper adjustments, then moving forward once again!

Happy Friday my friends!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dreams to Reality

As a follow-up to my last post, I’d like to answer the question that I get asked most frequently about my weight loss…

“How did you make the decision to lose weight, and how have you stuck with it for so long?”

My answer is simple, really.  The short of it is…I came to the conclusion that the difference between dreams and reality is making a commitment to take action!

Now, here’s the rest of the story for those of you who appreciate a little more detail…Like many people who want to lose weight, I used to spend a lot of time wishing things were different for me.  I wanted to lose weight, and being the avid research and information buff that I am, I understood the ins and outs of proper nutrition and exercise and the benefits they would bring.  I read all about the mathematical computations for BMI and BMR and the function of the energy burning and storage systems in the body and how calories work in conjunction with those factors.  I had the desire to change and the knowledge to change, yet the problem was that I never did anything to cause change to happen.

I would be frustrated that I didn’t have the energy to play with my kids for very long.  I had hung onto the idea that since I was healthy (as in, I didn’t have any medical conditions and was not on any medications) that I was still doing fine, despite my weight.  I could still buy clothes that fit me, although it was getting harder to find my size and then nothing ever seemed to look quite right, but I justified it by thinking that if I could find my size then I was not alone.  I felt like if there were others out there just as big as me, I couldn’t be all that bad off, right?  I blamed it on the environment that I grew up in, ignoring the fact that I had left my parent’s home years and years ago and continued on in the same poor habits I developed there.  I shunned the word “excuse” and convinced myself that there were valid reasons I had gotten to the size I was at.  All along, I would want to lose weight with everything in me, yet it never happened. 

In the end, I finally reached the point where I decided that enough was enough.  If change was ever going to happen, it was only going to come if I got up and did something about it!

 I began my journey on my knees.  I spent time in prayer, first of all, asking God to forgive me for my failures and for all of the lies I had told myself, and for not taking care of my body, which He had lovingly created.  I then asked Him to give me the strength to make the changes that were needed to help me become strong and healthy, so that I could function at the very best level possible to accomplish all that He has for my life.  Lastly, I prayed that God would help me change my tastes, my cravings, and my desires when dealing with food.  I then immediately changed nearly everything about how I eat and view food, and eventually incorporated exercise into my schedule.  Now, it’s just how I life my life!

That is how my decision came about.  So how have I continued for almost 14 months?  It’s wrapped up in one word:  COMMITMENT.  I made a commitment the day I said those prayers.  A commitment to God, to myself and to my family, that I would do what it takes to see this thing through and reach my goals, and in the process I changed my entire lifestyle to reflect that commitment, from the way I think to the way I act.  This wasn’t some temporary diet program that once I reach a certain weight, it’s over and I go back to my old ways.  This is a commitment to lead a better life, one that’s characterized by balance, moderation, and healthy choices.  One where I realize that I’m far from perfect, but at the same time, I can love who I am and be confident in knowing that I am truly giving it my best and living life to the fullest!

So… I’ll say again that the difference between dreams and reality is making a commitment to take action!  I'd love to hear your stories!  What you doing today that will enable your own dreams to come true?  Leave a comment below if you'd like to share!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Questions & Answers

At this point in my weight loss journey, I get asked a lot of questions from people who have been watching my transformation.  I thought I'd take the opportunity to answer a few that I get pretty often.

Question: "What are you eating these days?"
My Answer:  Lots of whole foods, very little processed foods, no fast food, keeping between 1400-1500 calories per day.

Question: "Did you have weight loss surgery?"
My Answer:  No, I lost over 90 pounds in the first 11 months through changing my food habits, and have continued to lose as I upped my game by joining a gym to add cardio and strength training since May 2012.

Question: "How can you give up sweets/chocolate/bread/etc.?"
My Answer:  I haven't!  I can't imagine living the rest of my life without bread or mashed potatoes, but I don't eat them every day, and I've found healthier alternatives I've switched to that I love.  

Question: "Do you ever have a 'cheat day' and eat whatever you want?"
My Answer:  No, I don't have anything or anyone to cheat but myself if I were to eat something crazy.  I'm not on a diet program, so I have no specific restrictions.  My focus is on eating in a well-balanced manner each and every day.  For example, my sister makes the best cakes with fondant anywhere, and I enjoy some of that at family birthdays.  I'm not cheating by having a small piece.  I know it's coming, and I plan ahead for it to fit into my calories.  I don't eat a huge chunk of it.  A small piece is enough to enjoy! To put it into perspective, I eat broccoli 5 or 6 days a week, but I have eaten cake maybe 5 or 6 times in the past year.  I AM eating whatever I want to, because I truly want to eat the way that I am these days!

Question: "Don't you crave junk food once in a while?"
My Answer:  No, not really.  Once I was about 6 months in, I realized my tastes had completely changed.  My biggest craving now is watermelon!  If I haven't had any in a few days, I find myself making a lunchtime run to the grocery store and loading up on 2 or 3 pounds of seedless watermelon and I eat it over the next couple of days.  I buy it in the pre-cut bowls in the produce department, and that's my big splurge!

The question I get asked most often, without a doubt, is two-fold...
"How did you make the decision to lose weight, and how have you stuck with it so long?"

I'll answer it in my next blog post, so stay tuned!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The "P" Word

One of the things I always want to convey through this blog is the real-life aspect of weight loss.  While I do not advocate using a public forum to vent frustrations or complaints, there are definitely real challenges to face when you set out to lose weight, especially when the amount you intend to lose is significant, and I believe it’s important to share those things as well. 

For the last two weeks, my scale has not budged downward.  In fact, I’ve had daily fluctuations, but stayed within the same 3-pound range for the last 17 days.  I have not strayed from my food plan, and continue to eat between 1400-1500 calories per day.  In addition, I’ve been doing great at the gym and have not missed a single workout.  So what’s going on?  Let me tell you…

(Before I go any further, I know that many people believe you should only weigh-in weekly, or even monthly, to avoid the emotional highs and lows that can be a part of daily weigh-ins.  For me, however, daily has worked for the last 13 months, so I’m sticking with it.)

Because of the detailed progress spreadsheet I keep, where I track my daily weigh-ins, I can look back and see that this is not the first time I’ve reached, what most would term, a plateau.  The term “plateau” (according to dictionary.com) has several meanings, all having to do with reaching a place where progress ceases to rise.  There are two definitions, however, that really stand out to me.  The first one reads, “remain at a stable level of achievement,” and the second one calls a plateau, “a period of little or no apparent progress…” (italics mine).

When you know you’re doing the work, yet you’re not seeing the expected results, it’s important to remember that word “achievement.”  Just because I didn’t lose 2 pounds this week doesn’t take anything away from the 115 pound loss I have already achieved!  When you reach a plateau, that’s a good time to look back at how far you’ve really come!  The second important thing to think about is the second definition I mentioned.  Just because your progress doesn’t look apparent on the scale doesn’t mean you’ve come to a screeching halt!  For me, it’s a signal that my body is ready for me to change things up a bit.  It’s time to increase the incline on the treadmill and add in more interval training, it’s time to change around the order in which I perform my strength training exercises.  It’s time to flip around what time of day I eat my larger calorie meals vs. my smaller calorie meals, etc.  From experience, a few small changes will go a long way in getting things kick-started back up again.

Another interesting thing I realized about my plateau periods.  Each one has come when I’ve reached a weight that I maintained for a long period in the past.  For example, the last plateau I experienced came when I got back down to the size I was 10 years ago.  I had been at that weight for the better part of 5 years or more.  Right now, I’m made it down to the size I was in my last two years of high school, which I continued to be throughout college and for a few years after that.  Each of these plateaus came when I reached a point that my body was comfortable in for a long time in the past.  While my body may want to stay here to visit for a while, I’m packin’ it up and movin’ it on down the street to a much smaller address!  The eviction notice has been served!

With each of the plateaus I’ve went through previously, as I come out of them, I’ve hit great new loss levels quickly.  That being said, I am poised and ready to break through to new lows very soon!

My take-aways from plateau periods include:
1)     Plateaus will happen, they are inevitable!
2)     Don’t give up just because you’ve hit a plateau!
3)     Plateaus are a chance to realize how much you’ve already acheived!
4)     Plateaus should not become comfort zones!
5)     Scale progress may not be apparent in a plateau, but there are other kinds of progess!
6)     Plateaus are a chance to change things around and make it more interesting!
7)     Don’t slack off when you reach a plateau, keep working and you’ll break through it!

“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
~ Galatians 6:9 ~

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Comparison Photos

Me December 2010, about 6 months before starting to lose weight,
close to my highest weight ever.
Me June 2012, just over 12 months in and down 106 pounds.
Me July 2012, 13 months in and down 114.6 pounds.
(Ignore the fact that I was having a bad hair day and had it all pulled back into a pony tail you can't see in the picture!)








I Like It! I Really Like It!

As someone who has been overweight practically my entire life, physical activity is not something I have ever really enjoyed.  With a family that had no interest in sports, the outdoors, or anything that required any kind of physical activity, I was never encouraged to participate in anything that would promote physical fitness and my family never did anything like this together. As a child and teen, the required gym classes in school were complete torture for me.  Things like running relay races, rope climbing, or even playing games like basketball were never fun, but instead, typically left me in tears because I never had the strength, speed, stamina, or energy my classmates always seemed to have. 

The one exception came during high school, when my love of playing music and acting edged out my hatred of being active only slightly, but it was enough that I was in the marching band throughout high school and for one year of college, and performed in many stage shows that involved choreography and basic dance.  I credit my involvement in these activities as helping me keep from gaining even more weight than I did when I was younger. 

When I first started my weight loss journey 13 months ago, I did a little bit of exercise in the beginning, but my heart really wasn’t in it.  I dove into the deep end immediately where my food changes were concerned, but I still made a lot of excuses for not working out regularly.  I still felt like the chubby little kid that just wasn’t cut out for exercise, so I pretty much gave it up until I was 11 months in and had lost almost 100 pounds.  It was at that point I resigned myself to the fact that I really needed to start working on toning while I continued to lose and move forward towards my goal weight.

Over the last 2 months since I joined the gym, things have changed drastically for me.  I have found that I actually love working out!  I won’t sugar-coat it…it’s been hard work, but as the saying goes, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”  I checked in with a trainer before I got started initially, and he gave me specific instructions for both cardio and strength work to do 3 times each week at the gym, and he told me to make sure to get in an hour of some other exercise (swimming, group classes, at home DVD’s, etc.) at least 2 other days each week.  At the end of each month, the trainer works with me again to assess my progress and add new things to my workout program, which has involved adding new exercises as well as increasing sets and reps, and increasing how much weight I’m lifting. 

For the first time in my life, I can truly say that I look forward to exercising.  I don’t give up half-way through, and I don’t skip out or cheat on my schedule.  I have made it a priority.  Some days I go to the gym at 5:30am, other days I go at 5:00pm.  Some days I’m in the middle of my living room with the furniture pushed back and the dog trying to stay out of my way.  Wherever or whenever, I am determined to take care of my body and work towards making it the best it can possibly be.  I have dumped the excuses, and instead have chosen to view each workout like this:

Exercise…
I don’t stop when I’m tired.
I don’t stop when I don’t feel like doing it.
I don’t stop when it hurts.
I stop when I’m done.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Taking Inventory

Our children are getting ready to start back to their new school year in just a few weeks, and in preparation, my husband and I have been talking about what new school clothes we need to buy for each of them.  Since our school district wears uniforms, our kids have to have two wardrobes, one with their shorts, slacks, and polo shirts for school, and one with their jeans and t-shirts and play clothes.  Since they haven't been wearing their school attire for the last couple of months (and have grown considerably over the summer as kids tend to do), we've been taking inventory this week to figure out what pieces each of the boys need for the new school year, and what garments they can still fit into from last year (which isn’t very much!)

So what does this have to do with weight loss?  I'm glad you asked!

It all comes down to this...

You have to figure out where you are before you can determine where you're going.

I can’t appropriately buy my kids the new school clothes they need unless I know what they’ve got in the closet.  I can think they are good on slacks and not buy any, then when the weather turns cold, find out all they have is one pair of pants that have the knees worn out of them.  In the same way, a person can think they're doing all right with how they're eating because they're “balancing” things with a diet soda and a salad occasionally, or bypassing a second trip to the buffet, or eating grilled chicken with rice from time to time, when in reality, their body is not getting the nutrition it needs to thrive, they're gaining weight from all the junk food, and all they’ve really putting into their body is coming up short!

When I first started on my path towards a healthy life through weight loss and exercise, I began my food journal.  I did not make any changes to what I was eating, but simply logged the calories (and other nutritional data) into the food journal app I have on my phone.  The reality of the number of calories I was regularly eating astounded me!  I promised myself I would never treat my body that poorly ever again.

Before I started losing weight, I was not someone who ate multiples of food (sometimes you'll hear of overweight folks who eat like 8 eggs, 12 pieces of toast and a pound of bacon for breakfast, or an entire pizza, 2-liter of soda, and whole bag of chips for dinner).  That wasn't me.  I ate “normal” meals, in that I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, with little to no snacking, and not eating tons of food at each meal.  My problem focused more on what food items I did eat.  I was eating fast food meal combos for breakfast and lunch most work days, and often having full-sized restaurant meals a few times a week for dinner.  When we cooked dinner at home, we used to eat lots of pasta and other heavy entrees and never measured out proper portions.  As a result, back then, it was nothing for me to eat more calories in one meal then I do in an entire day now without even considering the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of what I was eating.

Taking inventory is an important first step to losing weight.  Let me encourage you to start a food journal of your own.  There are lots of great websites and phone apps available that make it very simple and easy to keep track.  The one I use takes me less than 5 minutes a day to track everything I eat and drink.  When you come face to face with the true number of calories you’re consuming each day, along with the amount of sodium, cholesterol, fat, sugar, and carbohydrates you’re actually taking in, you may be as shocked as I was.  It may not be pretty to see the numbers, but it’s worth it if it causes you to start making healthier choices like it was for me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Make a Choice, Make a Change

I recently ran across this saying, "Life doesn't come with a remote.  You've got to get up and change it yourself!"  Boy, did that resonate with me!

You see, it doesn't matter what aspect of life you're talking about...it could be weight loss, your finances, your job, your friendships, your marriage, your walk with God, or anything else you're dealing with...you CAN choose to find an avenue of change.  All too often, however, it's easy to think that there's only one way to change a situation, and you just can't seem to put your hands on it. 

It really is like the television remote.  You may be at home, with the TV all to yourself, happily watching your favorite show, and as it ends, something you really don't like at all comes on.  You want to change the channel, but you can't find the remote.  Your kids aren't around, so you can't call them in to come and change it for you.  You dig into the couch cushions, push the dog out of the way, and look under the blanket you're cuddled up under.  No remote.  You look again at the show that's starting and think, "hmmm...maybe this show isn't so bad after all," because you don't want to get up.  Before you know it, you've zoned out in front of a show you don't really like, but since it was there, you accepted it.  It's easier to just watch what's coming on then it is to make the effort to get up, walk across the room, and change the channel at the TV set itself. 

Isn't that like what happens in our life sometimes?  One day, you're going along, feeling like you're on the right track.  You're happy and enjoying the path you're on, but then, something comes your way that isn't the best thing for you.  Because of the effort it would take to change things for the better, you sigh and get comfortable with the mediocrity, negativity, or undesirable situation that has presented itself.  After a while, it feels like things have been this way for so long, that it would be impossible to make a change, so you just live with it, feebly appreciating today because you figure tomorrow will probably be worse.

That's how I used to feel about my weight.  I had resigned myself to the belief that being overweight was just my lot in life and that it was something I would always have to live with.  My clothes that I bought one month probably wouldn't fit the next month because I would most likely gain a couple more pounds before I wore them again.  It would stand to reason this would happen, since I have a family history of weight issues.  My parents were/are overweight and unhealthy.  Their parents were overweight and unhealthy.  So it stands to reason that I would be overweight and unhealthy as well...or does it?

The turning point in my life came when I realized that I was NOT powerless over my weight.  But, in order to do something about it, I had to make a choice to make a change.  I had to stop sitting idly by wishing and hoping things were different.  You can stand in front of the mirror all day long, hating what you see and desperately wanting to look and feel better, but nothing's going to happen until you decide to do something about it.  I chose to make a change, and after losing 108 pounds so far, I'm confident I will reach my ultimate weight loss goals.  Goals that a year ago were only a dream.  Goals that today are becoming my reality.  All because I made a choice and made a change.

Get up and change the channel...




Friday, July 6, 2012

Motivation

Motivation.  This is one of those buzz-words that gets thrown around a lot in different settings.  For instance, an employer wants to motivate his employees to increase sales.  A coach wants to motivate his team to win games.  A teacher wants to motivate her students to learn the course material, and so on.  But what is motivation, really?

According to one definition, motivation is, "providing with a reason to act a certain way" (thank you, dictionary.com!).  When I was young my mom used to try to motivate me to clean my room.  The reason behind it was that if I didn’t, I would be a in a lot of trouble, so her reasoning was plenty good enough for me at the time!  As a child, I didn’t want to clean my room all too often, but due to the parental pressure my mom was able to put on me, and the power she held over the consequences if I didn’t respond, I would eventually give in and get the job done, albeit reluctantly.  Hearing my mom recite the benefits of a clean room, however, was not enough to cause me to commit to keeping up with it, and every few days mom would have to, ahem…shall we say,  “encourage” me to clean my room once again.  It wasn’t until I moved out into my own home that living in a clean and orderly environment really became important to me.  Then, I no longer kept things neat because someone was looking over my shoulder and forcing me to, or trying to get me to buy into their way of thinking about it, but instead, I embraced the idea for myself and it became a part of me.  I keep my home nice because that’s how I want it to look.

This same principle holds true where weight loss and healthy choices are concerned.  It seems like everywhere you look, someone is trying to motivate you by shouting, “You need to loose weight!”  It might be the pressure of society that holds to a stereotypical view of what constitutes beauty.  This may come through portrayals in media or through the attitudes and opinions of people around you, sometimes even from close relationships.  Life and health insurance companies may be applying the pressure for you to meet their underwriting guidelines.  Your doctor may be telling you that you’re facing serious health issues if you don’t get your weight down.  Somewhere along the way, someone is trying to get you to do things differently for reasons they deem important, whether you buy into their reasons or not.

No matter where the voice originates, having someone else tell you that you need to make a change is rarely received well, especially when it deals with something as personal as your weight.  At best, some people temporarily cave to the pressures others put on them in this area.  They might lose a little weight initially, but because their reasons for doing it are not truly their own, it doesn’t take long before they falter and often regain what they lost, and then some.  This results in greater frustration and feeling worse than they did before.

So, how do you lose weight successfully and keep it off?  One of the answers to that question is that the motivation, the real reasons behind it, must truly be your own.  You need to know that you’re passing up fast food because your body functions so much better when you eat wholesome foods, not because someone else makes fun of you for eating french fries.  You have to want to give yourself the best chances at living a long life by reducing your weight, rather than having someone try to make you feel guilty that you may not live to see your grandchildren if you don’t drop some pounds.  You have to want increased strength, endurance, and the ability to function better in daily activities for yourself, rather than feeling like you have to look a certain way to impress people.  You have to believe that your body was a gift from God and should be treated with respect and well cared for, instead of accepting the super-sized portions and nutritionally void options that are so cheap, widely advertised, and readily available.

Having the proper motivation puts the “why” behind the “what” and enables you to make the right choices and leads to a healthy lifestyle!