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! 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!