Life is hard for everyone no doubt about it. For me one of lifes joys and comforts was in food
. The hidden blessing and curse of food is that we need it around. A blessing to meet our needs and give joy a curse if you have a habit of overeating then it is toooo easy to over do it. Growing up with my Oklahoma dad who plopped steak after steak on our plates as kids and told us to "eat up!" and my mother who felt guilty for working so hard to support the family that food was her way of 'making up' to us, plus it was a good bribe for a kid. "Try not to yell in church and I'll give you gum!" Food was a great incentive and behaviour modification tool!
As a grown up I just had no concept of what a healthy portion was and found myself at 236 pounds at 5'8"-OOPS! Health has always been esconced as my deepest virtue, so at that point I decided this wasn't about vanity 236 pounds was just plain unhealthy. When I read a study showing that our weight also influences our loved ones' weights (negatively or positively) I knew I had to change. I had never in my adult life lost weight before, no diets or anything, this would be a challenge!
Then I thought up all the reason why I wanted to be healthy. It was more eco-friendly, I wanted kids one day and wanted to be a healthy role model, I wanted to climb a floor of stairs in not clutch my chest and feel like my heart was trying to escape. Then I wondered what would I look like if I was healthy? What impact would it have on me to have achieved such a worthy and amazing goal? I know that when people use affirmations and visualizations, in order to create changes, they try to imagine everything about their lives when they have changed their lives, so I did that. I even imagined how it would feel to get a hug from my husband, how different it would be...
I had always exercised, but it didn't take off pounds, I was still obese. Once I heard Bob Harper declare to a woman. "Your weight is determined 25% by exercise and 75% by what you consume!" A real shocker for me. I wanted to be able to atone for calories through exercise. I wanted to eat as much as I always had, I reasoned most of what I ate was extremely healthy anyways.
Healthy or not, after gym memberships and dedicated 1.5 hour workouts I realized I had lost only a small amount of weight, plus I thought I must be quite toned under my blubber now!!!LOL! Counting up all my reasons to do it I decided I could do it and I put my self on a strict diet of watching "the biggest loser", and then enrolled myself into a nutrition class at a college. Among the many shockers I had in that class was realizing that men didn't need more that about 2,000 calories per day to maintain health. If big old tough men didn't need more than 2,000 calories... that really begged the question, why did I?
I also wondered how many calories was I actually consuming? It seemed like a tedious chore, honestly and completely, counting my calories, but ignorance never got a person anywhere in life, so I knew I would have to do that, just to find out where I stood. I was eating not as much as you might think. 2,500 cals or so typically per day (that's like 5 extra pieces of bread ya know). I guess those extras count up fast.
With cash registers, etc, Math is seldom needed in our world, but this did bring up some math questions like, what if I only ate the upper most recommendation for a woman my size, age and activity level- what would happen???
What I had to do was keep track.... hmmmmm err. how to do that? The college rule booklet kept getting lost and it was difficult to flip through pages to determine how many calories each piece of food contained. Then I came across FitDay! It became my ally. Also I want to mention that I started keeping track of my moods too and realized that I had moderate pms, also important for my food struggle and general health and care. Thank goodness for progesterone.
I did and I do keep track of almost everything I consume, and found it wasn't that hard to do that a commitment of 5 min a day or so. I found I was usually thirsty instead of hungry, so I swilled the water, and ate high volume low density foods like lettuce when I was hungry, but in danger of overdoing cals.
It was an experiment to find out how life would be on 2,000 calories and as it turns out life was just fine! Then I noticed the pounds they just melted off- hey my eating right had earned me a brand new way of seeing myself. I literally saw my strengths when I let go of the fat and I had quite the rockin bod!
Taking careful notice of the rate at which I was losing I realized what I needed was a goal, it would keep me motivated too. I looked up healthy weights for a woman my size, 150 sounded good, something I could commit to, nothing too fancy or out there. Then I calculated how long it would take me to lose the weight... 'so losing1/4 a pound a week, it would take me some months'. After working in the holidays (everyone chows on the holidays so you got to work in moms turkey and Aunt Hildas Fruit Cakes and cookies). After that my goal was set- mid June 2010. I still remember when I made that goal how excited I was, then I looked down at how my fat just dropped over the sides of the chair on which I sat.
Reporting to you that I MADE THAT GOAL! It is now 2011 and I have kept it off. I have a healthy way of eating, so I know I can do this forever as long as I don't set myself up. I have a healthy life and future to look forward to now! I want you to know your ideal life is within reach, you deserve it, so do I. If you're in the process of taking care of your health right now, then I really want to say that I love what you are doing because you are setting an example to everyone! Healthy is something that is more valuable than anything else in this world, without it you can do very little to improve the world. Thank you for reading my story and more power to ya! And feel free to shoot me an email if you want support, I will cheer you on!
PS Also having a weight loss partner helps:
Before I started counting cals, I took my cat to the vet. The vet told me that my cat was far too fat and in danger of health problems, she said, "Cats are supose to look svelt."
I said, "Oo like people?" and the vet and I looked at eachother, we were both grossly overweight.
The vet affirmed, "like people."
So I when I started counting my cals, I also started giving my cat the healthy portions for her size. It made me feel less guilty putting her on a diet because I was facing the same challenges as my cat, like having to deny superflous hunger signals.
My kitty got healty along with me, faster than me actually. Recently, I took her back to the vet, and much to my satisfaction, the vet had also lost weight!!! We three girls had now become healthy!