Dropping Pounds – Where I Started
In my last post I put on my big girl britches and put it all out there. Isn’t it amazing how hard it can be for us to talk about personal life issues? And yet we know that there are many others dealing with the same thing and it can feel so good to share and then have other people say me too, that’s me!!!
That’s my hope with these posts, that along with just being a way for me to share and be a bit more accountable, it might be an encouragement to someone else.
So, lets dive in and talk about what I’m doing this time around with losing weight that is different from times past.
Putting It Out There
First of all, this.
Actually writing about it early on, is a big difference. In the past I’ve always felt a lot of shame around this whole issue, so I’ve kept mum, feeling like I needed to reach a certain point before it was okay to share. In hindsight I’ve seen how that’s actually aided in my destruction, and here’s why.
I realized that when I keep this journey very personal and private not only do I not have the encouragement I need, it’s also a lot easier for me to make exceptions for myself and call them one thing or another. If no one knows that I’m working to lose weight then I feel like I need to explain why I’m not going to have x, y, or z at a get together. If no one knows that I’m tracking my food then when I overeat on a particular day I can just pretend that I don’t need to track, because no one will be asking about it. Does that make sense?
This time around I knew I needed to bring other people along with me mostly for my own success. I will say this – it’s been a huge help and encouragement that Chris has been running regularly since March. Because he’s been setting time aside for exercise and working at eating better I don’t feel like I’m on my own. We might go about it differently, but we’re working toward the same goal of being healthier. I can be excited for him when he pushes himself and breaks his time record, and he can be encouraging and excited for me when I have a good work out or have done really well at tracking my progress. That’s definitely a big help this time around.
Two weeks ago was our regular Missionary Fellowship get together. We do this every other Sunday with a group of local missionary friends. It’s a time to gather, visit, do a bit of Bible study, and pray for each other. We do what we like to call “check in” where we can share what’s been going on in the past couple of weeks and how people can be praying for us. For the first time ever I sucked it up and shared that I was working at losing weight and asked people for prayer that I would be able to stick with it when it was hard. I’ve shared with friends privately before, but this was the first time doing it in a bigger group.
You know what? It was freeing. This is our social circle. These are the people we spend time with during non-work hours. We have them over for meals and go out to hang out. These are our people. If there was anyone that needed to know, it was this group. And I’m so thankful that I did it. After the meeting while we were visiting one sweet friend came to me and told me she was so proud of me for sharing and thanked me for my courage, then told me to let her know how she could specifically be supporting me, whether it was walking together or whatever. It was so nice to have that!
The really nice thing is that now that everyone knows, I don’t feel like it has to be an elephant in the room that only I’m aware of. Hey you, yeah, I see you lurking in the corner over there. When we’re together I don’t have to feel like I need to give explanations if I say no to something or feel that I’m making offhanded comments about why I might not want something. I can share my progress and know that people are cheering me on.
Having Chris be part of this, and having our friends know, has been a big boost for me this time around. At home, if I’ve had a really good day Chris is cheering me on and telling me how proud he is, and if it’s been a hard day or one where I know I could have done it differently, then he listens and encourages. It’s just nice to know that I’m not alone. If you’re considering or are in the process of trying to lose weight I would encourage you to be brave and tell people that are in your circle. You might be surprised at how excited and supportive they are, and the ways that they’ll come along side you.
Start Small & Listen Well
This has probably been the biggest difference for me this time. In the past when I’ve worked at losing weight I’ve felt like I needed to jump in and go whole hog, to figure it all out right from the start and to be awesome the whole way along. Eventually that whole exercise gets exhausting. This time I knew I needed to take baby steps.
In all honesty I haven’t had a solid plan this time around. I just knew I was tired of feeling crappy and not fitting into clothes and was just done. When I thought about the other times I’d tried to lose weight it was a bit discouraging. The first thing I did when I got back from vacation at the end of July was weigh myself, fight back tears, and then move on. The number was just the cold hard truth and I needed to accept that without reasoning it away and having a pity party. It was a place to start. The goal was to make it go down.
I started paying more attention to what I was eating. I will be the first to tell you that I love food. All the foods. I love cooking and eating out and tasting all the wonderful things there are to eat in this world. And, as a blessing and a curse, I’ve been gifted with extra taste buds in my mouth, so food just tastes extra good to me, and I really enjoy it. My favorites are all the comfort foods like pasta and bread and cheese… I try to eat a balanced diet, but portion control is my big issue, especially if something is delicious. Rather than enjoying it and then moving on I’ll just keep eating it.
Once I started paying attention to what I was eating I knew I also needed to start paying attention to how much. I typically make bigger meals so we can have left overs for lunch and what not, but that means it’s also easier for me to take seconds. So I started there, and tried to cut back on taking seconds.
I told Chris that while I loved things like fried fish and fried chicken I love the fried things that he needed to be okay with that not happening for a while because while it tasted good, it wasn’t good for any of us. I started putting more effort into making healthier meals. We always have salad on hand, which I’m glad for because for many that’s a big transition. It was the other stuff that was going with the salad. Basically I just started cutting out some of the unhealthy stuff and replacing it with healthier stuff. Instead of normal lasagne I made eggplant lasagne and replaced the noodles with slices of eggplant. Chris, who doesn’t like cooked veggies, has been harassing me to make this again :)
As I started taking steps to make healthier dishes for the family I started to notice that I was wanting healthier lunches, so I listened to my body and obliged. When I realized I was craving something crunchy and fresh I would eat a dinner plate full of salad and it was so satisfying.
While I was listening to what my body wanted food wise, I started to notice that I was wanting to be more active too. A part of that actually happened unintentionally.
Back in April I had a patio built off the side of our house, and then me and a couple of our employees put flower beds in all around the house. There are 8 of them all together, and they’re all big. Whose crazy idea was that??? Then I planted things. They’re my flower beds, so they’re my responsibility to look after. Do you know what happens when you’re gone for 6 weeks during the rainy season? Things grow. They grow a lot. Including the weeds. When we got back I was shocked at how big my plants had gotten in such a short time, and I cringed at how much weeding there was to do. Mostly just this grass that likes to keep reseeding itself.
I knew it wasn’t going to go away, so one day I put on my work clothes and got out my new gardening gloves and knee mat and got to work. I worked as much as I could until the sun got too hot and I had bad blisters on my hands. The next day I told Chris I would love it if he would weld up a garden “claw” for me that I could use to turn over the dirt so the weeding was easier, and before I could say boo he was working on it. As I started making progress on the weeding things started to look nicer, and it was incentive to keep going. Then I wanted to move some things around, and other things needed clipping and trimming to get cleaned up.
Before I knew it a week had gone by and I had been working outside for several hours each day. The kids even joined me in the mornings and evenings when they were able, and I enjoyed their help and enthusiasm. Chris has a whole yard full of fruit trees that are starting to give us delicious things, so now I guess we’re a family of gardeners. Most of all it feels good to be nurturing something and putting the work in and seeing the benefits.
While the yard is looking good the biggest thing I realized is that I enjoy the exercise I get while gardening. And let me tell you, it burns a TON of calories. I started to feel my body responding to the work, and it felt good. Rather than being sore, I was feeling stronger. Rather than feeling stiff, I was starting to feel more flexible. That was enough to encourage me to get back on the treadmill and to start a regular exercise plan. I’ll talk more about that in another post.
So the take away is this – pay attention to your body. Rather than trying to cram my body into a plan, whether it was eating or exercise, I went the other way around this time. I started paying attention to what left me feeling good after meals, how much, how often. This is a constant process, but because of it I’m feeling less deprived, so it’s been easier to stick with things. Because I’ve been working to find exercise I enjoy I haven’t started hating it. In fact, I’ve been enjoying it so much I feel a bit angry that it’s taken me this long to figure things out. I just feel better when I’ve been active in a day, as opposed to when I haven’t. When I’m feeling cranky now I think through my day and more times than not it’s been a day where I haven’t worked out or been outside doing yard work.
More to come! Thanks for following along with me :)