Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting Past the Fear

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve recently joined a gym.  As I’ve lost weight, I promised myself that when I reached 100 pounds lost, I would look to join some kind of fitness center.  I recognize the importance of exercise, and the need to strengthen and tone as I continue moving forward in my progress.  A couple of weeks ago, around the time I hit the 97 pound mark, I received a flyer in my mail from a local gym that was offering incentives for women to join their new women’s fitness program.  I figured I was close enough to my first big goal to go ahead and check it out.

I felt great about signing up and taking out my membership with the gym!  I was confident going in to my first meeting with the trainer that this was the right program for me and that it had come along at the perfect time.  My first workout with the trainer went really well, as he walked me through the weight training machines I was to start with and gave me instructions about the cardio work I was to do.  That first meeting was on a Saturday, early afternoon, and the gym was relatively empty, so I wasn’t the least bit stressed about any of it, and was excited to really get going with it.

Two days later, on Monday, I pulled into the gym parking lot after work, around 4:30pm and gasped when I saw around 40-50 cars in the parking lot!  My only reservation about joining a gym was facing my greatest workout fear…exercising in a packed, co-ed gym…and that was what I was about to walk in to, on my very first workout without my trainer!

I sat in the car for a few minutes debating whether I would even go in or not.  I seriously contemplated just going home and coming back early the next morning before work instead, hoping it would be less crowded then.  I prayed for the courage to get past my fear, took a deep breath and headed in.  I rationalized that I could always leave if I couldn’t handle it.

Although I’m supposed to do my weight training first, there were several people already in the circuit area, so instead, I hopped onto a treadmill to do cardio.  While I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes, I realized that more and more people were coming in as it passed 5pm and folks were getting off of work.  I kept telling myself that I would just leave when I finished the treadmill and I’d skip the weight training for the day.  Out of curiosity, I went back to the circuit area one more time before I left to see if there was any chance it had cleared out any, and instead, not only were there more people back there, but there was also a class going on next to that area as well.

That was the moment where I knew I was at a crossroad and my decision would affect the way I approached the gym from then on.  I forced myself to go ahead and do my weight training, and to not pay any attention to anyone else around me.  By the time I finished, I felt victorious!  Not only was I satisfied with my workout, but even more, I faced my fear, pushed past it, and won!  In the two weeks since then, I have looked forward to every visit to the gym, and actually found myself smiling and greeting other people I see there regularly.  Intimidation is a thing of the past!

We all face fears.  Experiencing fear isn’t wrong; it’s going to happen from time to time.  It’s what you do with that fear that is important.  You can choose to let your fears paralyze you and rob you of an experience, or of your joy, or of your peace of mind…or of your future.  Or, you can choose to find the irrationalities that are embedded in each fear, counter them with the truth, and find success.  Sometimes, the things you push yourself to do, despite your fears, lead you to your greatest accomplishments!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dropping My Fingers?

Just a funny little tidbit today...

As far as genetics go, I inherited my mother's thin wrists and long, skinny fingers.  I've often said through the years, that if only my body were proportionate to the size of my fingers and wrists, I'd be at the ideal weight!  When my husband and I got married almost 10 years ago, I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am right now, and my ring size was still only a 5 3/4.  Even as I reached my highest weight last June (which was 70 pounds heavier than when I got married), I never had any trouble wearing my rings.  My fingers, apparently, didn't get much bigger and my rings never got the least bit tight on me. 

As I've lost weight, however, my fingers have shrunk, which is not something I expected to happen! I came to this realization back at Christmas.  I was at a party with my hands laying in my lap when I heard a "clink" as my wedding rings literally dropped off my hand onto the floor!  While I was surprised, it felt like a victorious moment for me because suddenly, I felt like I was really making progress in my weight loss.  Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I was doing some business at the bank and as I stood up from the desk to leave, my rings went flying off, landing about 10 feet away from me on the floor in the bank lobby!  The look on the bank representative's face was priceless!  I guess people don't come in and throw diamonds around the room too often!

So, last night, I gave in and took my rings to a local jeweler to have them sized down.  The sales associate helping me convinced me I should go down a half size to a 5 1/4, but I really thought a 5 would have been better.  Guess what?  Wearing them today, they're still too big!  They keep flopping around and the setting keeps sliding down until it's under my hand instead of on top where it belongs.  So, it looks like I'm heading back to the jeweler for another sizing, down to a 5.  I should have went with my gut instincts on it after all!

One of these body is going to finally be in proportion with my fingers, and I am going to celebrate!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Drop the Excuses and DO IT!

If you read my last post, you saw that a medicine I took for a recent bout of respiratory illness caused some fluid retention and a temporary water-weight gain.  Well, thankfully, it has righted itself just as quickly as it began!  Since seeing the doctor on Thursday, the water weight is now gone, and my total weight loss is now up to 98.7 pounds (my loss tracker in the blog sidebar always rounds up once I pass each ½ pound and I believe in full-disclosure!).  Reaching the 100-pounds lost mark is so close!

A quick little encouraging tidbit I had this week...After being sick with the sinus infection and strep recently, and the water-issue with the two antibiotics and steroid dose pack, I told my primary care doctor that I had just joined a gym for the next phase of my weight loss.  Well, my primary care physician sent me to a cardiologist for clearance for exercise (which I got with no problem). Get ready for the cool part...

BOTH the primary doc and the cardiologist wanted to know in detail what I was doing to lose the weight I've lost in the last 11 months! All I've done, until joining the gym last week, was change my food habits and track what I eat in my food journal. My primary doc was very encouraging, cheering me on and telling me that the changes I've made in my eating and attitude are what it takes to be successful to reach my goals and maintain it for the rest of my life. The cardiologist said he wished that more of his patients would institute similar changes themselves and was very encouraging to me as well.

When you're on the brink of losing 100 pounds, but know you've got a lot more work to do to reach your final goal, it can be frustrating at times, but encouragement like that is a great motivator to keep on going!

That being said, I just want to you know that if you’re also trying to lose weight, be it 20 pounds or 200 really CAN do this! No matter where you're at, or where you've come from in your struggles with food and weight loss, if you get honest with yourself and truly make the commitment to your well-being, you CAN get on the road to a healthier, smaller you!

I've been heavy my ENTIRE life, I'm about to turn 40, I have a CRAZY schedule (wife, mom, full-time employee at an investment firm, have two young sons under 8, serve as a pastor, and am in college working on my psychology degree), and I've found ways to make this work for my life. To do so, I've had to face every excuse I've ever know the ones, like these:

"I'm so busy, I just don't have time right now"
"I'll do this when my kids get older"
"It's okay, I may be big but at least I don't have any health issues because of my weight"
"A lot of my extended family is overweight so it just runs in my family and I can't do anything about it"
"Healthy food is SO expensive"
“I’ve always been heavy, so I’m just meant to be this way”
“It’s what’s on the inside that matters, so why should I worry about my weight?”
"I don't want to eat boring, bland, diet food"

On and on the list goes...I finally had to say, ENOUGH! I was the only one who could make these changes in my life, and through a lot of prayers for strength and for getting my mind in the right place and to change my habits, I closed my eyes and jumped into the deep end of this thing and haven't looked back.

So, if you're working to reach your own goals, I applaud you, congratulate you, and want to encourage you to keep moving forward and celebrating each step you take that moves you closer to your goals!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Heading to the Gym

I have officially joined a gym! 

When I started this journey towards a healthy lifestyle and weight loss in June 2011, I did a bit of exercise on my own with video programs, but I only did that for the first few weeks.  Since then, I’ve had a few random days where I got outside and walked some, but haven’t really committed to any regular exercise until now.  There have been a couple of reasons for this…

My relationship with food has been skewed my entire life.  While my mom worked hard to make sure our family had meals on the table every day when I was growing up, almost everything she prepared was either canned or processed.  There were very few natural foods included in our meals and little cooking from scratch.  Consequently, I never really learned how to cook either.  Opening and heating really isn’t cooking!  Growing up like that also develops a tendency to continue gravitating towards those foods as an adult.  In addition, it became very easy for me to just “grab something” from a fast-food restaurant most days (often, more than once a day!) and blame it on my hectic schedule and lack of time to do anything else.  I have finally quit kidding myself and now recognize that a fast-food grilled chicken sandwich with a leaf of wilted lettuce thrown on it does not count as a healthy choice!

Over the last 11 months, I’ve had to redirect all of my food choices.  Before I could jump headfirst into an exercise schedule, I had to get my food issues straight first.  It would have done me no good whatsoever to head into a gym several times a week, only to run through a drive-through on the way home!  When I think back to the things I used to eat, sometimes I really can’t believe I used to put that junk into my body!  By getting my eating habits corrected first, I’ve avoided the trap of feeling like I can overeat or indulge just because I worked out.  I'm not working out so that I have an excuse to eat poorly.  I'm working out to tone and strengthen my body and to reach the point where I am lean and healthy.  Eating junk defeats the purpose!

In getting my food issues straightened out, I’ve developed a love for so many really healthy foods, and I’ve found that I truly prefer natural, whole foods.  I find myself craving things like salmon, watermelon, and broccoli, and cringing when I see someone eating a burger and fries.  Other people can eat it if they want it, but I just can’t even stomach the thought of it anymore.

I also think that I had to prove something to myself where food was concerned.  I had to lose the first 100 pounds or so through changes in my food only.  By doing so, it proved to me, once and for all, the effect that my food choices have on my body.  Because of that, I’ll never look back. 

Losing as much as I have through food choices only has also given me the confidence to know that I can do this!  When I walk into the gym, it’s with the knowledge that I am already successful, and working out is just going to help propel me further.  I don’t have to feel intimidated or out of place in the gym because I know how far I’ve already come. 

I have actually found myself excited about going to the gym…well, I wasn’t too excited on the day of my first full workout, but I’ll save that story for another post!

11 Months and Counting

I have recently passed my official 11-month weight-loss anniversary.  The stats were as follows:

            Month 11 Loss - 6.2 pounds
            Grand total Lost - 92.80 pounds

This particular weigh-in is a bit skewed however…I’ve been cranking along really well this month, and had actually lost a total of 11 pounds for the month and a grand total of 97.4 pounds altogether until the last few days, where I’ve had a wacky, and temporary, water-weight gain.  Let me explain…

My oldest son was kind enough to share his case of strep throat with me about 2 weeks ago.  While he got better quickly (thankfully!), for me, the strep turned into a very nasty sinus infection and case of bronchitis.  Three prescriptions and two weeks later, and I’m finally about over the junk, but one of the medicines I was taking caused a 5-pound increase in my weight over the course of 4 days.  AAAHHHHH!!! 

The medicine made me retain so much fluid so fast that I could hear my heartbeat whooshing in my ears, I had a terrible headache I couldn't shake, and my feet were swelling something terrible.  After visits to two doctors and them running a few tests yesterday, they discovered the culprit was one of the meds and not something to be concerned about, and gave me something to counteract it.  Since I don’t take any kind of regular medications on a daily basis normally, I’ve had more in the last couple of weeks than I typically have in a year!  I'm ready to be done with meds!

I know the fluid gain from the medicine was only a temporary thing.  Considering I’m only eating 1,500 – 1,600 calories per day, it would be impossible to be a true weight gain.  As of this morning, I’ve already shed 2 pounds since yesterday, so I should be back on track within another day or so. 

I’m looking forward to crossing the 100-pounds-lost threshold any day now!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cleaning Closets

Well, I did it!  On Saturday, I took a HUGE load of my now-too-big clothes to the consignment store.  I’ve been telling myself I would do this for a while now, but my schedule has just been so crazy between family, work, school, and church that I just hadn’t been able to get an appointment set to take everything in until this past weekend.  And boy, did I take a bunch of stuff in on Saturday…117 hanger’s worth to be exact!  I would have taken more, but that’s all I could squeeze into my little car.  I’ve already got a second appointment set up for this Thursday evening to take in the rest, and I’ve probably got just as much, if not more, that I’ll be taking in then in the second load.

It’s interesting, because the owner of the shop told me that she normally limits consignors to 25 pieces at a time to bring in, but because of the sizes of the clothing I was bringing in, she would let me bring in everything I had at once.  She said that she gets calls regularly from ladies looking for these sizes, but that she never has anything in stock to sell to them.  She said she’s never really had a consignor bring in much in these sizes before, so she was excited to get them in and to let her customers know they were available.

While I’m happy at the thought of selling all of these clothes at decent prices and without the hassle of a yard sale, (and hopefully, quickly!) it really got me thinking…Buying clothes in the sizes I used to need was really difficult, and I can understand why most women of that size don’t consign their items.  It’s because, typically, they’re not going to let go of a piece once they find it in their size!  If an event comes up that requires a certain article of clothing, a large plus-sized woman can’t just run out to the mall or department store and pick something up or run from store to store until they find the perfect garment.  At the size I wore a year ago, there were only 2 local stores I could walk in to in an attempt to buy clothes.  And with that, most of the things in one of those stores didn’t even come in large enough sizes and I could only buy from there once in a while.  So if I needed something and the one store didn’t have it, I was probably in trouble.  There are a couple of catalogues I occasionally ordered from, but then I had to pay extra for shipping, wait for it to arrive, and hope I ordered the right size, which was always a gamble. 

As I was at home preparing and sorting the second batch of clothes to take into the shop, I started to feel a little stressed over it.  A random though popped into my mind as I put a favorite shirt into the pile, “What will I do if I need to wear this and now it’s gone?  Am I making a mistake selling these clothes?”  That’s where I stopped myself in my thoughts with a startling realization.  I can get rid of these things because I will NEVER need them again!  They don’t fit me anymore, nor will they ever!  This isn’t some passing fad or temporary thing that I’m doing.  I’ve made (and continue making) changes that are going to affect the rest of my life and it feels great!

I have one last closet to sort through tonight, and once those things are out, the only clothes I will still own are the new, smaller ones I’ve bought in the last couple of weeks that actually fit me now instead of being so big they were falling off, like my old ones had been recently doing (although some of the newer ones are starting to get a little big already!).  I’ve also got a few random costume pieces I have from various theatrical productions I’ve been in, and my wedding dress.  (Oh, and a couple of bins of large winter clothes I can’t consign until the fall season). Lastly, I saved back three pieces, a pair of blue jeans, a shirt, and a pair of sweat pants that were all in the biggest size I had reached.  One of these days, when I reach my ultimate goal, I’ll have some fun taking photos of my “then” and “now” clothes, and maybe we’ll stuff my whole family into one leg of my old jeans or something like that!  In the meanwhile, I may not have arrived yet, but I’m definitely on my way!