The Story I Told Myself Everyday:
At my heaviest I weighed 251 pounds and was spinning a great story for myself that I looked and was just fine physically. I had decided I was beautiful just the way I was and I didn’t have a weight problem; society was the one with the problem. I figured as long as I can shop, find clothes that fit and looked nice things were ok. My make-up was always done and I ensured my hair always looked good so how could I be letting myself go? When I went in for my yearly physicals everything was fine and I attributed it to having good hearty farmer genes. I ignored my scale because I decided I didn’t need that negativity in my life. So, what’s the big deal if I’m carrying around some extra weight?
The big deal was that while my head was telling me one story my body was telling me another. At 34 years old I was waking up with a sore back and hips every morning. My knees ached and would give out when walking or when getting up from my desk. Tums became a condiment with every meal because I had constant heart burn. I had a stash in my purse, desk, car, and all over my house. (I should have bought stock in the company so I could have at least seen a return on that investment.) I didn’t have the energy I should’ve had at that age. I would sleep 8-9 hours and still feel exhausted when I woke up in the morning.
The big deal was that I was wearing a size 3x in shirts and a size 22/24 in pants and it was getting more and more challenging to hide my extra weight with clothes. The big deal was that I couldn’t walk up 20 stairs without being short of breath. I couldn’t get up from off the floor without pushing myself up on something. I had to ask for a belt extension while on airplane flights because I couldn’t buckle my seatbelt. I couldn’t paint my toenails without having to do crazy poses to get them done. When getting my picture taken I would make sure I was always in the back so only may face showed and my body wouldn’t be captured in an image that would last forever. And the list could go on…
My weight was determining what I could/could not do. I was making concessions to stay heavy and my weight was limiting me in every aspect of my life. I was no longer in control and that sucked. No matter what story I tried to tell myself, deep down I knew the truth and that was scary because that meant that sooner or later I was going to have to make some tough decisions.
At the beginning of 2013, I decided that being the overweight unhealthy person was NOT what I wanted to be I didn’t want to be the fat girl with the great personality. This wasn’t what I wanted my life to be I wanted to be in control and take back the reigns! No more concessions, no more excuses, no more stories. It was time!
How did the path to physical awesomeness begin?
Once I decided enough was enough I got connected with a distance Personal Trainer. During the call she outlined for me the steps I would need to take to get myself on track and working towards my path to physical awesomeness. It started with setting goals, eating right, and getting active.
1) Setting Goals & Mental Preparation:
I asked myself, “What do I really want?” and then I set goals for myself. I set fun and practical goals so I knew I would be able to see progress along the way. (Yes, being able to paint my toenails like a normal person was one of them.) As I was listing out my goals I also realized that I was listing out the reasons why I was starting on the path to physical awesomeness and a new me and that helped with the mental preparation.
My ultimate goal was that this path wasn’t going to end. It was a beginning of a new me and a new healthy lifestyle.
These original goals are still in my purse. I carry them everywhere I go to remind me of how far I have come.
2) Building my Support Network:
You will be surprised by this, I know I was. I was so very fortunate to have an amazing support network. Your friends, family, and co-workers will help you succeed. These people will help you, encourage you, check on you, and participate in events with you. My Personal Trainer, checks on me at least twice a week to make sure I am staying on track and to provide guidance, support, and sometimes a kick in the pants.
3) Addressing my Eating Habits 101:
After goals were set it was time for me to take a good hard look at what I was putting into my body. Eeek! That was an eye opening and not in a good way. L What did I find?
· I was drinking my calories for the day in soda. Not good.
· Eating out for lunch and dinner was a habit not a treat. I was eating out for lunch about 75% of the time and about 50% for dinner.
· Water? What’s that? I was drinking maybe 2 glasses of water a day.
· Fruits and vegetables were definitely not part of my diet. You know how the experts say that you should eat a very colorful diet? Yeah…mine was brown and the only color came in the form of the sprinkles that were added to that cupcake for dessert. J
· Portion control was outta control.
Obviously none of these things were good so it was time to get the ball rolling on better eating. Here are some of the things I did to achieve better eating habits:
· Track what you eat. I signed up for Weight Watchers online. I knew I wouldn’t have time to go to the meetings with my schedule but I also knew I needed to hold myself accountable for what I was eating in some way. I have since switched to using the “My Fitness Pal” app on my phone. This also helped big time with portion control. I bought a food scale along with extra measuring cups and spoons.
· No skipping breakfast. I added breakfast as a necessity to my morning routine. I pre-bake or pre-make my breakfast so that I can grab and go since I usually am not hungry when I get up in the morning. This also helped me a avoid running to the vending machine for that mid-morning pop tart.
· Pack a lunch for work. I pack a lunch every day for work. I include healthy snacks throughout the day so I never feel “starved”. Even when I travel I will go to the grocery store and buy items so I can pack my lunch for the week.
· No cash=no vending machine binges. I know myself and I know that mid-morning and late afternoon I get hungry, like gnaw my arm of hungry. To alleviate any temptation to hit the vending machine I never have change or cash with me and I pack extra fruit and vegetables in my lunch bag to last throughout the day.
· Set a menu and grocery shop to it. Oooo….Pinterest has been a saving grace here. Variety is the spice of life, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to eat weird stuff or spend a million dollars in groceries each week. So off to Pinterest I went and started looking for healthy recipes that looked like they had great flavor and that called for ingredients I could find at my grocery store.
· Buh bye soda and sugary drinks and hello water. Because I was tracking my food and holding myself to the amount of calories I was taking in there was no way I was going to waste every precious point/calorie on soda. This was the first thing to go. Now I drink water, coffee, and tea and the occasional glass of wine. I bring a plastic water bottle to work with me and fill it up 2-3 times a day. I also try to drink a glass of water while I am getting ready in the morning and 2-3 glasses at night.
· Is it really worth it? When I was faced with wanting that doughnut or eating that cheeseburger I would ask myself, “Is that really worth it to eat?” In those cases where I was at the store and wanted something to eat I grabbed an apple or banana instead of a candy bar, goodie, or chips. If that didn’t work then I would ask myself, “How long are you going to have to do cardio to burn off the crap you just ate?” That usually did the trick. J
1) Getting my Move on!
I started my path in February and it was COLD and miserable. But I had made a goal and dang it I was going to make it happen. So I had to get creative on what I was going to do to get moving and not get bored. My goal was (and still is) 30 minutes of cardio 6 days a week. Thirty minutes of time is nothing! I was spending that time each night playing on my tablet or watching TV.
Be curious, have fun and change it up! There are so many different things you can do to be active that are more like play than working out. The trick is to start moving. Try not to worry about what other people think. Remember, they’re trying to achieve the same thing you are…a healthier lifestyle. I was so scared the first time I walked into a Zumba class by myself, there was some serious self-talk going on leading up to walking in that door as well as when I was participating. Once I got over that initial fear it got a lot easier to try things and explore different ways of getting in my cardio.
Here are some things I tried that have been fun:
· Adventure Runs-Playing in mud and running from zombies! What could be more fun than that? Google adventure runs and you’ll find all sorts of events.
Pictured with my Personal Trainer after my second 5k event 3 months after starting on my path.
Sledding-I get to hang out with my nieces and nephews plus get my workout in by walking up the hill and my resistance training in by pulling the little ones up as I go. · Ice Skating-Think you’re too old? I hadn’t been ice skating in over 20 years and had a great time. You can rent ice skates for $3-$5 and sometimes for free at local ice skating rinks
· Snowshoeing-Is a fun winter activity that can be a great workout. There are trails all over for you to snowshoe on as well as different events where you can rent them.
· Trampoline Park-This was a BLAST! Grab a friend and check it out or better yet grab a group of friends and try dodge ball.
· Indoor Rock Wall Climbing-Is much harder than it looks but fun nonetheless.
· Local 5K events-These events go all year long and are a great way to meet other people as well as give back to charities. I use active.com to find local events as well as postings in the paper and grocery stores. Once you start looking for them you’ll notice that they’re everywhere.
· Zumba!-In the beginning this was one of my primary sources for cardio. I took some classes and also got it for my x-box. It’s fun and goes fast.
· Walking-Is an awesome way to start. I mapped different paths for myself and walked all over my community. I also found some walking buddies to go with me. J On those days when it is so cold outside that you think your eyeballs might freeze walking the mall is a good way to stay active and thawed. Plus you get to window shop while you’re doing it.
· Kettle ball Video Workouts-For Christmas I asked for kettle balls and the Bob Harper videos to help kick me in gear on my resistance training. These will give you a good workout. Oh…and you’ll feel it for like two-three days.
· Swimming-Love it. Have always loved it. But when I got heavy I didn’t do it because… hello…..that meant wearing a swimming suit. L There’s a lot of different ways you can get your swim on. Check out the local pool within your community. The pool in Memorial Park offers water aerobics. Sometimes hotels will let you swim for a fee too.
· Winter Running- For winter running you can purchase rubber straps with small spikes that you wear over your shoes so you don’t slip. Plus, running in snow is an extra great workout.
Looking Back and Moving Forward…
To date I have lost 92 pounds. I now wear a size 10 in pants and a medium/large in shirts. I can now shop in the regular sized clothes section at department stores. YAY! The first time I was able to shop at a specialty store that wasn’t for plus sized women I almost cried dressing room.
Words honestly can’t describe how healthy and amazing I feel. I have a TON more energy. I hop out of bed in the morning and go strong all day. Somewhere along the way I found my self-confidence (probably around the time I found my hip bone and my ribs). I discovered strength and discipline I thought I had lost. Over the course of the past year I found the real me. I am becoming that person I set out to become.
My journey, however, is far from over. My head still tries to tell me stories and make excuses why it is ok to make poor eating decisions or to skip a workout. I still have to remind myself why I started. I still crave juicy bacon cheeseburgers, fettuccini alfredo, and desserts lathered in chocolate. I have sat with my workout clothes on for a half hour contemplating whether or not I really want to do it. But the desire never to go back continues to propel me forward.
I have 8 more pounds until I hit my BIG weight loss goal. Everyone said the last 10 pounds are the hardest and that is no lie. I have been avoiding consistently doing my resistance training like the plague and there is no story that my head can tell that will make me skipping it ok. So for my 68 day challenge I am committing to losing those last 8 pounds and incorporating 3 days of resistance training into my workout.
When you’re ready to start on your path you’ll know and you will amaze yourself with what you can accomplish. I wish you the very best on your path to awesomeness and good luck with your 68 day challenge!