I am going to be extremely transparent in this post and all I ask is that if you choose to read it, that you will read it w/ an open mind and not post any judgmental comments and realize how hard it is for me to share this.
Many people have asked me “What are you doing to lose weight?” Since it’s been a while since I have had a blog post, I thought this would be a great first post for 2014.
This journey has been anything but easy and many times I wanted to give up, pull out the junk food and the sweats. Thankfully, I have had an amazing support system on this journey. I would list names, but I am afraid that I would unintentionally leave out a name.
Let’s go back to Aug of 2012. I was in a school that I loved and while there were definitely some stressors, I was in a good place and started to make some changes and I saw some weight loss. As it came closer to the end of the first semester things got a little more stressful and I stopped much of what I had been doing and the weight started to slowly come back on. Fast forward to the spring and my stress level was extremely high and my intake of ice cream and chips greatly increased. Let me just admit to you now, that I tend to be an emotional eater and yes, as a therapist, I know better. In May when everything hit the roof and I turned in my resignation, Ben and Jerry’s and Doritos became my best friend and I ate what I wanted w/ out stopping to think about what I was doing to myself.
Last summer was probably one of the hardest summers I have faced in a long time. My self-esteem had taken a nose dive. I am a type A personality and failure is not an option and with all that took place in May, I felt exactly like that, a failure. I put on my happy camper face and moved through the summer like everything was fine, but it was anything but.
Over Labor Day weekend I went w/ my mother and my daughter on a girls’ weekend to Gatlinburg. It did my soul some good to go to my “happy place” and get out of Nashville for a couple of days, especially since it didn’t work out for me and my family to head to MI for our annual 4th of July trip. On this trip I can honestly say that I relaxed and started to feel a little more like myself. That Sunday we went to the Ripley’s Aquarium and had a picture taken just on the other side of the long shark tunnel. When we got the picture back, I was horrified at how I looked. That was the first time in a while that I had seen a full body picture of myself and it was a wake-up call.
When we returned home, I made the decision to give up Coke and Dr. Pepper and to start drinking only water. This helped a little bit and I watched the scale until just after my birthday in Oct and that point I realized I needed to make some major changes. Back in 2012, I had joined Spark People and decided to go back and start up w/ them again and I am so glad that I did.
On Oct 11th, I started a 30 day challenge in which, I drank only water, ate only lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and had NO sweets. I also worked out for a minimum of 30 mins a day, 5 days a week. The no sweets part was extremely difficult, but w/ much prayer and support I made it through the 30 days.
At this point, making healthy choices was easier b/c I had made it a habit. I have nothing but positive things to say about Spark People! It can be a little time consuming b/c I have to track everything I eat as well as everything I do in my workouts daily. The other wonderful thing is that Spark People is about educating it’s members and they believe in helping people make a lifestyle change, rather than just going on a diet. A diet has a start and end point, but a lifestyle change has a starting point, but no ending point. There are no drinks, shakes, pills or special meals. It’s all about learning how to shop, cook, make healthy choices when eating out as well as learning what to do when you are working out.
At this point, I still struggle w/ telling myself that certain foods are “bad,” b/c I know that eating an actual serving of one of those foods won’t undo all of my work. It has been a challenge to change my mindset. I shared earlier in the post that I gave up cokes and by Christmas, I really wanted one, so I decided that one coke w/ Christmas lunch was fine. My wonderful hubby made sure that there was one in the fridge for me. We sat down to lunch on Christmas Day and I poured the coke over a large glass of ice and took that first sip. Honestly, it wasn’t that great and it tasted a little weird. I had also allowed myself to eat low mein, an eggroll and crab ragoon the night before, along w/ pigs in a blanket that morning for breakfast. Yep, my body totally revolted. I was shocked at how a couple of months of clean eating would cause such a revolt from my body. Honestly, now that I know how my body will react, I don’t really crave those things too much at this point. I have also learned how to make healthier versions of some of my favorite foods and that way I don’t feel deprived.
Through all of this, I had the privilege of starting to take a ballet class on Friday mornings, along w/ continuing to dance on Wed nights at church. At first, the ballet classes were frustrating b/c I knew what I had been capable of doing in the past and I couldn’t do it any more. Our ballet instructor is wonderful and patient. He does not become frustrated when I or one of the other ladies makes a mistake. He laughs w/ us, gives us tips on ways to correct the issue and shares stories about his mistakes. On Wed nights, our wonderful leader is also patient and never shows any frustration when anyone makes a mistake. Overall, the ladies in both groups are wonderful and encouraging. Now that I am several months into the lifestyle change, I feel more confident on Wed nights and Fri mornings. My technique is still far from perfect and there are still some moves that I struggle w/, but it is slowly starting to come back.
The wonderful thing from my Wed night group is that I had some cheerleaders emerge that I never expected. When I would hit a plateau or get frustrated, I had a group cheering me on and helping me over the hurdles. Even now that I am so close to my goal, these ladies are still cheering me on and encouraging me. I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to put these wonderful ladies in my life!
I have to take time to talk about my wonderful hubby. He has definitely been my biggest cheerleader through it all. He has tolerated the food “makeover” in the house and told me from day that he thinks I am beautiful, even when I felt like anything but. He doesn’t get angry when he suggests something for dinner and I tell him “it’s not on my plan.” My hubby has made sure that I have had the time I needed to get in my workouts, even if that means he sits upstairs with the kids during nap time instead of working in his office, so I could be in the basement. When you have a supportive hubby, it really does make all the difference in the world.
As of last Sat, I have lost 31.6 lbs and am now down to my last 10 lbs. I have not taken any more measurements, so I can’t state how many inches I have lost at this point. I have dropped 3 pant sizes and 2 sizes in shirts. I shared on FB that I had a Kohl’s gift card and ended up purchasing a pair of pants in a size that I have not seen in almost 10 yrs.
I now have more energy to keep up w/ my kids and keep up w/ things that I need to do around the house. I don’t dread looking in the mirror or having my picture taken. The Lord opened a door for me to work a small contract position w/ in my church for a few hours a week and I can honestly say that I am in a much better place now than I was last summer. Some days are still hard and cause me to want to head out and pick up my favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s or a bag of Doritos, but I know that it won’t help and that it will only open the door to start heading back in the wrong direction and instead I pray or work out.
The one thing I hope anyone takes away from reading this, is that this is a marathon and not a sprint. The weight didn’t come on over night and it won’t come off over night. Find a support system. Some of those people will come from your inner circle and some will come from places you never expected. Take it one day at a time. If you look at how far you still have to go, it will only discourage you. Look at the small steps you have taken and be proud of what you have accomplished. Know that in the end it will all be worth it. Plateaus happen! Don’t give up. Look at what you are doing and then evaluate whether or not you need to make some changes. This is about getting healthy and not getting to a number on the scale or getting into a certain size in jeans. Yes, having goals is important, but looking at the overall picture and getting to a place where you feel healthy and feel good about yourself is important. The last thing is find verses, passages of scripture to help you along the way and definitely make sure prayer is a part of this journey. The Lord does care and sometimes the only way to make it through a work out or walking past the ice cream in the grocery store is through prayer.
Check out Spark People if you are looking for a place to start. It is 100% free and you set your own goals or have the choice to join group goals. I am a huge fan and would highly recommend it to anyone. The message boards are full of supportive people and there is even a place to post and get a response directly from a Spark Coach.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, or if you just need some encouragement to get started, I am here.
Praying blessings over all of you and that the Lord will allow 2014 to be an incredible year.