Like many others, I have battled shifting weights all through my twenties. At my biggest I was 206 lbs in maternity clothes. At my smallest, I was a size 2 and sick as a dog. I would get on an exercise/diet kick and drop big numbers. Then I'd have one week of plateauing, and go running to food for comfort.
Actually, I'd go walking to food. Slowly. Running would have been too much like exercise.
This would result in rapidly gaining it all back. I also went through a period where I was so depressed, anxiety ridden, and just essentially anti-me that I couldn't eat. I didn't deserve to eat. This resulted in me being the smallest I've ever been in my adult life, while simultaneously the unhappiest.
Whether I was big or small, the times when I focused on weight loss were the times that I was the least....Ann.
Three months ago that all changed with the birth of my miracle baby, Emma. Since that is a blog unto itself, I will just say that something clicked, and I knew that I had to get my health under control.
Not pant size.
Not body shape.
For me, being thin is all about being somebody else. Being HEALTHY is all about being ME.
So even though I had a lot of weight to lose, I committed to myself that this was not about losing weight. It was about committing to a healthy lifestyle, whether that ever meant losing a pound or not.
What is the point of losing weight if you are miserable before, during, and after? What was the point of being a size 2 when I was riddled with panic attacks and could barely get out of bed in the morning?
This time, I was going to lose weight, but not if it meant losing myself.
I'm proud to say I am 45 lbs lighter than I was 3 months ago. Everyone asks me what I'm doing to lose weight. Weight Watchers? Lifting weights? Walking? Atkins?
I'd love to say I found a fabulous program, but the truth is I just accepted cold hard facts. The way you get healthy is to eat less and move more. Now, obviously I am not naive enough to think that this is easy or simple or looks the same to everyone.
So, I'll only speak for myself.
Eating less calories overall and making the calories I do eat count has worked for me. Exercising 3-4 days a week has worked for me. Creating calorie deficits through cutting back on the overall amount I eat has helped me lose pounds. Exercise has ensured that those pounds are fat and not lean muscle.
Plain and simple.
No muss, no fuss.
I realize this probably comes as a disappointment to a lot of people, who want to see a big transformation, but still eat the same way and not have to exert much effort. Believe me. I GET IT. I was right there with you. Blood type diets, converting every morsel of food into a point system, books, DVDs, cut carbs, eat TONS of carbs, no meat, only meat, no preservatives, protein shakes, supplements, phen phen. We get messages all the time that tell us, "YOU are different. YOU can't lose weight through diet and exercise. YOU need to stand on your head, eat a handful of pistachios, and recite the Tao of Bob Harper backwards while listening to endangered Bengal tigers swat at a gong. The pounds will FALL off and you won't have to lift a finger or give up eating pie for breakfast."
This just wasn't the case for me. Before I piss too many people off, I know PLENTY of people who have lost weight doing various programs. Weight Watchers, in particular, has been a miracle for several people I know, and even I lost the most weight of any program I've ever done doing Weight Watchers.
For me though it was all temporary. "When I hit my target weight, I'll [cancel my Weight Watchers subscription, reincorporate carbohydrates, find a good home for the Bengal tiger, etc.]"
Then the weight would just come back.
So, again, this time I've switched my focus to just accepting that living a healthy lifestyle has to be a lifelong commitment. Yes, it means sacrificing some food indulgences and making myself physically uncomfortable for 4-5 hours a week.
But it also means more years on this earth with my precious babies. Or, at least, what remaining years I have left with my babies better spent.
What kind of a blogger would I be, though, if I didn't at least reveal a few tips/tricks that have helped me lose the first 45 lbs. Here is what is in my arsenal:
With 2 kids, it's all about streamlining and making every process more efficient. It's also about making things more cost efficient. I do not have the time or inclination to find the nutritional facts on the food I am eating and then convert those facts into an arbitrary point system. I'd rather just stop after the first step. PLUS, I don't have the money to join Weight Watchers. So I found MyFitnessPal, which works just like WeightWatchers.com, but is free and just goes by the nutritional data and not by a point system. This is all I am doing in terms of "dieting". MyFitnessPal calculates what my calorie needs are based on the amount of weight I want to lose a week (1-2 lbs) and tracks everything for me. Could not be easier, AND I have a lot of friends using it, so we can support each other.
2. Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running
This book changed my life. I have caught the running bug in a big way, and that makes the fitness component of my new healthy lifestyle FUN instead of a CHORE. This book has the best advice and tips and can turn ANYONE into a runner. Even if you still aren't convinced after reading it that you can run, the training tips and information about how your body develops through exercise are applicable to any sport.
3. Timex Ironman Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch
I am a person who responds to numeric feedback. If I am going to go out and bust my butt jogging around the neighborhood, I want to see EXACTLY how my effort paid off. Furthermore, I want to see how my effort pays off differently when I run up hill for half my run versus picking the easy flat routes. So I use a heart rate monitor watch. It tracks my splits and all my heart rate information and tells me exactly how many calories I burned based on my min heart rate, max heart rate, and weight. This is a perfect example of where being fat pays off. I burn way more calories than my in shape counterparts running the same distance and speed, because I am not just doing cardio, I am doing resistance training!
The resistance being heaving my fat ass off the pavement.
This watch gives me the numbers to prove it.
4. Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headphones
You will never see me working out without headphones. Ever. Running is very mental. No, not just crazy. Mental in that you are inside your head, and every little thing about your environment weighs in on your run. So when I can hear myself breathing heavily, I start to think crazy thoughts.
"I am breathing really heavy....is this too heavy??...what is that wheezing noise?....are my lungs about to collapse?....what if I died....it is dark out here....how long before someone found me...or worse...what if a hobo under that overpass starts chasing me...he'll have the advantage, because he's not out of breath...he's just been chillin' under an overpass...listen to me...I am hobo bait..."
I like these Motorola bluetooth headphones. Who needs an ear bud cord flopping around their face when they're running from a crazy overpass hobo?
Nike+ GPS and Dailymile
I use Nike+ GPS to record my running routes and give me real time information about my distance and pace during my runs. It also let's me get cheered on by my Facebook friends, while I am running. (FYI, if you see me post I've started a run on my Facebook Profile click "Like". I'll here applause in my bluetooth headphones.) It has a lot of other cool features as well, like a dynamic screen saver that posts an avatar of yourself and all your current running stats. Talk about motivation at work when I am sitting all day. Every time my screen saver clicks on, I'm reminded of how far I've come. Dailymile is another great app that let's me log my workouts and connect with other runners in my community. Tracking my weight loss and fitness progress online is HUGE accountability. Everyone is watching...
So that's how I lost 40 lbs. Instead of looking to solutions that are in complete antithesis to who I am as a person, I found solutions that let me be become a better version of who I already was. I love social media, I love connecting with new people, I love engaging with niche communities, I love blogging, and I love seeing measurable results, so I found fitness and nutrition tools that fit that bill.
I am now 20 lbs away from being in the "healthy" weight range for my height and 35 lbs away from my ultimate goal weight. That's a great feeling, but I'm not getting too hung up on it. On those weeks when I don't see the scale move, I can honestly say to myself that I wouldn't have done anything different the prior week. It just wasn't a weight loss week. Period. I'm also finding that finishing a 5k race is 10X more rewarding than seeing the scale move 1 or 2 lbs every week.
If I never lose another pound, I am still happy with where I am, and that is something I've never felt before.
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter