The last 5 months have not gone as well as my intentions at the beginning of the year. No real excuses – just super busy with a lot to juggle and the reality is when I’m crunching to meet a deadline, I will miss out on the exercise. Yet I know I have to make my health and fitness a priority because poor health will prevent me from working effectively and doing the things I want to do.
I usually know WHAT I should be doing but I don’t always choose to do it. As a result, I lost and regained (and lost and regained) the same 5 lbs for several months, and most recently I’ve been maintaining at the same weight.
Regardless of how I think I’m doing, I always keep a weight loss journal, and I can see that my “program” is not the problem. In fact, having tried many things through the years, I’ve decided nearly any program will work for you if you follow it. My preference is an old WW exchange-based program that makes sense to me and which I really believe in. I lost a ton of weight on it before, I got very healthy on it, and it helped me maintain myself for over 10 years at one time, until a battle with illness threw me off track.
Looking back through my journal pages in recent months, I can see days and weeks where I did really well, and then I can see times where I didn’t just slip off track; I drove clear through barriers and warning signs.
But I’m not giving up. I will continue to work at this journey until I reach my goal – and I am determined to reach it. Everything is part of the learning process, even the setbacks and stalls.
Re-reading my weight loss journal always gives me insights and points me to things I can work on. I’ve learned some things:
For the most part I eat pretty healthy. But managing my portions is sometimes a problem, particularly when it comes to pasta, rice and bread. Yep, the struggle is real. But I’ll keep working at it.
Keeping my motivation going is sometimes the problem. So I have to keep reminders (reasons) handy for myself as to why I want to lose the weight and rebuild my health. If I have to post post-it notes on the fridge and the pantry, then maybe I’ll do that.
Sometimes emotions are a problem as I tend to stress-eat. So I have to apply a different way of channeling my energy when I feel stressed – like going for a walk, even a quick one, or putting on some music and dancing, or a workout DVD when I’m feeling an urge to eat something before it’s actually time to eat.
Keeping other people’s negative voices out of my head can be a problem. There are people (also overweight) who constantly tell me I should stop trying to lose weight for a range of reasons, like:
- you look good at your size, you don’t even look your weight
- you’ve lost enough weight, don’t lose anymore
- a lot of people in the family are overweight, you’re fighting genetics
- you’re getting “up in years” so you’ll never be able to lose it
It’s not even that I believe those voices because when I hear it, I usually think “rubbish.” But it’s frustrating and stressful even to hear those words. I am learning to stand my ground nicely. No arguments, no anger, no sharp retorts. Just calmly saying, “No thank you. I don’t want that.” I accept that it may mean cutting a conversation short at times. I cannot afford the luxury of slipping into a negative or defeatist mindset.
So I am reviewing my goals and my strategies for getting there. I will focus on the positive achievements so far.
- I WAS 200 lbs. I’ve lost 25. That’s still a victory.
- I have eliminated most junk and processed foods from my diet. I do allow myself some treats occasionally because I want that flexibility but I am eating healthier than I had in years.
- I am successfully drinking 2-3 liters of water a day. It took a while to get to that point - because I never used to drink enough water - but I'm doing it easily now.
- I have significantly increased my cardio and exercise and I don’t get nearly as out of breath as I once did. That’s a victory.
- Even though the scale has not moved much, I have been able to fit into some Large sizes (vs. XL or XXL).
- I have gained some muscle and strength.
- After years of struggling with insomnia (after losing my Mom, other family and my dog), averaging only about 4 hours of sleep a night for years, I have now been sleeping for a good 7-8 hours most nights in the past year and a half. That is a huge victory.
Recently I had a HUGE improvement – my BP had been around 157/94 for quite a while. When doctor checked it this past week, I was down to 142/78!
So I'm continuing to focus on the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I will just keep trying until I achieve them.
IMPORTANT: I want to keep my diet flexible, livable. One of the first things I learned on WW years ago was that you could still enjoy favorite foods as long as you ate healthy most of the time and planned your day to balance everything. If you wanted to eat out with friends at lunch, or have dessert at a special family occasion, then you needed to plan around it so that it wouldn’t impact your results. We used to call it planning “a light day” before an event, meaning you really stuck to healthy low calories options, or planning a light breakfast or dinner and allocating more food choices (and calories) to the other meal. Plus you would build in some extra activity like walking to help burn calories. Ultimately everything is a balance between calories in vs calories burned.
Most important take-away from all this?