There are a few times of year that are kind of fresh start times to me. The first is in January, of course. I’m a big one for making goals, both long term and minute by minute, so the fresh start of a New Year’s resolution never hurts. A few months later, right around Spring Break, I usually count the weeks until summer break and realize that’s how much time I have until I’m at home and really struggle so I’d better get some solid habits under my belt before it starts. The last time when I get things into gear is right now. While I don’t think that the onset of the school year is a great time to make weightloss goals, I know that this time if year is fantastic because I get so distracted that it’s really easy to dial my calories back without too much effort while I also focus on maintaining my exercise regiment so I usually end up losing between 7-15 pounds. I’m planning to capitalize on that, for sure! I know I have a tendency to do this often, but Im going to do a quick breakdown of how I got rolling on and what tools I use during my my body project, where I’ve ultimately dropped around 150 pounds… (depending on when I hop on the scale, of course!)
Regarding supplements and crutches:
I always think it’s interesting when people who sell weightloss supplements find out I’m losing a pile of weight. First they get excited and tell me about their product, then I tell them how much I’ve lost… While I’m sure dietary supplements like Spark, Shakeology, pills, hormones, vitamins or drops are great for some people, I just don’t want to become reliant on a system where I need to purchase a product to support my weightloss, muscle build, energy level or weight maintenance for the rest of my life. I want to lose my weight, support my activity, build muscle tone, hydrate and everything else just by using the natural, unprocessed, healthy foods around me.
That said, I’m also a pretty big supporter of crutches. I understand how sometimes getting started and not seeing numbers shift in the first month can be disheartening and one might need that big, flashy number of five pounds right away to build momentum and move forward. My crutches when I first started were diet sodas and sugar free chocolates from Russel Stover (just watch out for the EXPLOSIVE and LOUD gas that comes with those crazy things). I neeeeeeeeded daily chocolate, still, at that time and felt like my rumbling duvet all night and musical behind were a small price to pay to get the proverbial ball rolling. Diet soda was a years-long crutch that I just got off of last year. I know someone who is doing the HCG diet right now for the summer and is weaning himself off in September. I know people who have had gastric bypass. Do what works for you, just be safe and remember you have the power and determination to step away from the crutches once you get rolling. Even the gastric bypass is just a crutch. Everyone I know who has done it say that it’s a lot of work and is no quick fix! but it did kick them all into high gear.
My first and most important bit of advice: Do what works for YOU. Are you sensing a theme?
Years and years ago, I adopted the policy that simply not gaining weight was progress. I had to start small because I was so, incredibly out of control with my diet (of donuts, pizza and strawberry soda), activity level (of short, slow walks 2-4 times a week), and weight (a rapidly ballooning 340 pounds). I was 31, stuck and simply needed to stop the freight train from barreling my life down. After I got that under control, I started my slowest diet in the world of losing 1-2 pounds a month, and did that for a few years as well. It wasn’t until I was 39 and on the Eve of my 40th birthday that I really got sick of it and got pretty serious.
My point here is that while I wanted the fat gone fast, it was unrealistic to think that I would be able to battle this demon in a shorter period of time. I was mired into being a fat girl. My identity was so closely tied to being heavy that it was terrifying to think of shedding that part of myself, even though I hated it. It’s funny how something you consider so abhorrent (for it’s limitations on my life) can also offer great comfort and familiarity to the degree that you’ll live with it rather than do the work of figuring out a new, cleaner, more comfortable life.
I lost weight so slowly that it took years for people to figure out what I was doing. I got to try it out, risk free, without judgement, and when I felt strong in my habits and believed in myself, then I was able to really get going and bray it to the world.
You get to set your pace. You get to do it the way you want. You can choose your own goals and ignore what other people think you should do. This is your life and your project. It is in your control and is under your power. You set the rules. Ignore everyone else, believe in your own power, your own determination, your own intuition and make your own plan. You know what you can do and are capable of. Start there.
Do what works for you.
Just like everything else, I started slow with exercise, too. If you read here with any regularity, you know that thirty seconds of running was an accomplishment for me. You know that I started working out, intent on just taking a walk to chat with husband a little every day. As with everything else, it was baby steps. Failure was so terrifying, even to just myself, that I needed to do everything that I could do to be successful. On TV weightloss shows, they often ask the contestants what their big dream is for activity. Some want to run a marathon, some want to do a backflip, some want to zip line- whatever. There’s always something. I always wanted to be half of one of those couples that jogs around the neighborhood together. Like, that signified a good, solid relationship with both fitness and my husband to me. I also have always thought running is really hard. I respect the endurance, tenacity and drive that it takes to be a runner, and it’s well documented that I harbor fantasies of being a half or full marathoner. I’ve wanted to be a hiker all of my life. I wanted to see the gorgeous mountains, swim in the glacial lakes and hug the tall trees. I wanted to be able to look forward to a weekend on the mountain and the opportunity to reflect In a quiet, private place. I needed a body that could do all of that.
I also want to do everything I can to live longer. I adore my husband and still haven’t decided if I’d rather die first or if he should, but either way I want to be really old, really worn out, really tired and ready to leave this world when it happens. I want my death to be the result of my well lived life, not a long, slow death of bad food, a comfy couch spot and over-familiarization with my remote control. I want to see as much of my kids’ lives play out as possible! I want to see grandkids born and married and even a great grand baby or two! I’m never going to be ready to leave this world, but I’ll be even less so if I lead an incomplete life.
But that’s me.
And you need to do what works for you.
It’s entirely possible to lose weight by dialing back calories until you run a deficit to lose fat. There are a lot of people who lose a lot of weight without ever changing their fitness. I’ve done it before. When I was 16 I lost 85 pounds by consuming apples and diet coke for months while I taught swimming to fourth graders as my ‘exercise’. Yes, I know there are healthier ways to do it. 😉 I was a teenager. But back then, my goal was not to be ripped or strong or to live a long life, it was to get skinny enough for a boy to notice me. My ‘why’ back then was prom, romance and the potential of french kissing. Your why has to motivate you and you have to be heart-wrenchingly honest with yourself about it. If you’re in it for appearances then just own that. I have a really hard time acknowledging, outside my husband and me, that I might not be a total dog in the looks department, but deep down inside, in that place that I have a hard time letting have a voice, I know that it’s a little about vanity. Mostly about health, but I like to be pretty, and I feel prettier when I’m not as heavy. A capable, functioning body is a beautiful one to me, but you need to figure out your honest to goodness why and own it to yourself. You don’t need to share it, but you need to know.
Ok. I have yammered on and on and I’ve been sitting on this post for days. It’s time to let her swim. As always, I like to say that I’m not a doctor and my advice or experience should never supercede your own smart judgment, common sense or doctor’s advice. This is just my Own personal experience and I’m simply sharing what I’ve figured out for myself during my midlife makeover.
(And cheers- I’m all moved into my classroom and planning curriculum! I’m so pleased with my classroom. We are superheroes to start out the year, again, and I’ll have to post pictures. It looks like a birthday party in there! I just got all giddy as I took a last look on my way out the door tonight… I’m so excited to greet my 29 2nd graders!!!)
*What I failed to realize that it was my lack of confidence and meek, quiet, shy persona I had adopted as a teen that was keeping the boys away. Once I started acting like myself, dating was never a problem for me. I gained all the weight back right after high school, plus 60 more pounds, and never was without a hottie on my arm. Sometimes I think that is so surreal and so drastically different than what I predicted for myself as a kid, and other times I’m like of course, why wouldn’t I get a man I thought was nice AND a babe?!