With her permission, I wanted to share this amazing post by Shannon, over on “Blog To Lose”. It just says it all:
6 Months and 31 Pounds Later…
1. First and foremost, I STOPPED setting weight loss goals. In other words, I no longer said “I’m going to lose 10 pounds in two months” or “I want to weigh 155 by Christmas!” I recognized that I always set myself up for failure when I focused on the numbers. The actual numbers are NOT in my control. I can’t just “lop off an arm and lose 5 pounds” as my husband says. I STARTED to focus on what was directly in my control and set my goals on those things instead of the number–ie: What/how much food am I putting into my body? How often/how intense am I working my body? How much water do I drink? If I focus on these things, the weight will come off.
2. I didn’t take the all or nothing approach as I did before. If I could work out 5 days one week and not at all the next–THAT WAS OK! I didn’t say any foods were “off limits.” I could have whatever I wanted…but when I started seeing the consequences of certain foods it made them less appealing. I do what I can every week and the results show how much I did or did not do.
3. I started paying attention to what I was eating and how much. A huge thank you to livestrong.com to making an easy, yet thorough site for tracking food. However, I have to say that for me it was more than just tracking. It was/still is important to me to go back and look at the food journal to figure out what’s working and what’s not…especially when I’m stuck. Packing my lunch was a huge thing for me–I thought I’d never be able to do it with my crazy schedule and lack of access to a fridge/microwave. Ha! Boy, did I prove myself wrong on that one.
4. Water, water, water. Sure, it means more bathroom breaks but the stuff is so good for you in a ton of ways! Drink up.
5. Finding exercise that worked for me. I enjoy running now thanks to the Nike+ system. This didn’t start overnight for me, but has grown over time.
6. Learning how to be flexible. I live in Minnesota which makes running outside with snow and ice an unpleasant experience despite my newfound passion for it. I have to be flexible and go to the gym now. No, I may not work out for as long or as hard as a run might be…but it’s better than nothing and I have found a way to love that too by reading, getting a wireless headset, and investing in some audiobooks for those extra-intense workouts where reading was too…bouncy.
7. Having a supportive community to share EVERYTHING! Frustrations, joys, ideas, ask for help, etc. Thanks BTL!!!
8. Everything had to be a lifestyle change for me. I could try something for a week and if I couldn’t do it then…I sure as heck wasn’t going to try to do it forever. I can live without fast food for a week, I can exercise everyday for a week but I can’t do that for the rest of my life so it’s not a legitimate lifestyle change. Why bother stressing out over it then? Set more realistic expectations.
9. I weighed everyday and tracked toward a gain/loss weekly (despite my focus of not setting weight/time goals). It helped me see the crazy fluctuations that can happen overnight so I take the overall number a lot less seriously. A gallon of water weighs 8 flippin’ pounds and I try to drink at least a half gallon a day. That can cause some major shifts from day to day…but week over week I saw the changes provided I weighed the same day of the week/time of day.
10. I stopped beating myself up and started falling in love with myself all over again. Who can be mad at a body that can run a 5k, a 10k…legs that can lift 125 pounds, arms that can pump me through the hills and can simply accomplish so much in a single day…yet alone a lifetime? Not me. At least not anymore.
Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not all roses. These things are all still very much a work in progress. There is still one thing that I still need to figure out if this is how I’m going to live for the rest of my life: exercise. I do enjoy running, but I’m worried about the burnout factor/physical effects and I still haven’t found that “love to” activity for the winter time. I’m still insecure about this being a permanent lifestyle change so I’ve gotta keep doing some soul searching here to find what will work for me forever and not just what’s going to get me to goal.”
Isn’t that just great? As I start my 5th week of living a healthy, fit lifestyle, I want to remember all of these things. It’s so EASY to get impatient with myself and I refuse to do that. I feel better now that I’m just a hair short of 20 pounds…like…sigh…I’m doing it, it’s happening, thank you! I know that my weight loss is going to slow down now that I’m entering my second month, but still, I fully expect to lose every week.
Stupid? I don’t think so. I believe that if I don’t have that expectation, that it will be easy to act in opposition to my desired outcome: i.e. : eat more in a thoughtless way or not exercise as I need to and just HOPE that the scale won’t tell the tale. Do I honestly think I can lose every week? Yes, I do. Will I? Probably not. But a 1 ounce loss is a loss and I’ll accept it gratefully.