It’s been a long time since I actually looked forward to going to the doctor to discuss my lab work, but today that changed. You see I’ve been working on improving my nutrition and increasing my activity level, and it’s paying off.
The whole reason I started this blog way back when was to hold myself accountable for improving my health, but it didn’t really pan out that way. Over the years I’ve had ups and downs, and ups again when it came to the numbers on my bathroom scale. I’ve always known that I need to lose weight, mostly for my health, but also for my looks and my state of mind. I don’t want to be lugging around a body that struggles to do the simplest tasks. I want good health, energy, and a cute wardrobe that I feel good wearing. I’m on my way to achieving all three of those goals.
You see, a few months back I started noticing a few new issues with my body, issues that concerned me. I started to imagine a quick decline leading to all sorts of unpleasant consequences, and for what? Pizza? Chocolate? Cheeseburgers?
I know, I’ve been down this health kick path before, but for some reason I’ve been able to keep on keeping on for almost six months, with the most noticeable result that I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds. Yes, I’ve lost weight before, and it felt good, but it didn’t last. I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently.
In the back of my mind I’m a little nervous that soon I’ll hit a point where the subconscious voice in my head says, “Ok hotshot, you’ve gone far enough, now it’s time to stop this nonsense and scarf down some donuts with a milkshake chaser.” Do I want that? No. But I am a little worried that old patterns will manage to reestablish themselves. HOWEVER… I have some tools this time around that I didn’t have previously.
First, I have the extreme motivation of being truly concerned for my own well-being. Hip pain, nerve damage, pain in my feet, and an increased risk of developing any number of illnesses is a pretty strong driving force. The little phrase, “Is it worth it?” has been doing an excellent job of helping me keep any cravings I might have in check.
Speaking of cravings, I haven’t really had too much of an issue with them. I’m eating wholesome food, and I’m rarely hungry. When I do crave something, I can usually find a snack that doesn’t damage my efforts. Applesauce, carrots with hummus, and grapes are a few favorites. I also enjoy a cup of coffee with flavored creamer. Yes, it’s a little splurge, but I’m striving for improvement and balance, not instant results and perfection. Learning what works for me and how to fuel my body without depriving myself has been a game changer.
In the past I’ve done Weight Watchers (a few times) and Jenny Craig. I’ve tried the Pritikin Plan and given the South Beach Diet a go. I even briefly attempted to “eat right for my blood type.” The issues I had with all of these approaches are A) I never really completely bought into any of them (they all seem too lockstep and sort of cult-like to me), and B) I was always thinking about food. Seriously. Always. What could I eat? When could I eat? How much could I eat? It was constant, and the more time I spent thinking about food, the more I wanted to chuck whatever plan I was attempting and just EAT, which made losing weight an extremely frustrating exercise in self deprivation and self pity (poor me, I’ve been working so hard so I deserve this ice cream), leading to self sabotage.
For the first time I can remember, I’m enjoying eating healthy foods, and I’m not constantly thinking about my next meal. I eat real food, but I track it all. I don’t count calories, but my little app does, and it provides me with a visual snapshot of where I am with my daily intake. Again, I don’t obsess over it. I do get on the scale every morning, which is new for me. I’m okay with it wiggling up and down a little, because I can see that the overall trend is downward, even if there are a few days when my weight increases. Of course the graph tracking my daily weigh-ins is motivating too.
Besides losing weight some of my non-scale victories include:
- smaller (and cuter) clothes
- no extender on the airplane (seriously, this is a huge victory)
- excellent lab results and a happy doctor (whom I really like and respect)
- increased energy
- a mom who is delighted that I’m taking control of my health
- a son who has also decided to make healthier food and movement choices
- a more positive outlook on my health and future
I can’t guarantee this change is permanent, but I hope it is. I know several people who have made significant improvements to their health that have stuck, and many of them have been my age or older. I know it can be done, and I’m confident that I can get through the upcoming eating season without too much damage. Every day is a new opportunity to begin again, so slip ups aren’t forever. I’m just going to keep at it one day at a time.