Weight Loss Journey
Everyone has vices that aren’t necessarily good for them. Most of the time, even when we know they are bad, we still take part, i.e. obesity. My dad, although he has a small stature, he makes up for it with his bigger than life personality. If you ever what to know where I get it from, it comes from my daddy! Well, he has a vice that isn’t very healthy, and he hasn’t cared to change for anyone, and that includes his wife of 35 years.
My daughter is doing well; however, when we were not sure about so many things, we simply chose not to travel. We wanted to stay close to her doctors. But, my husband and I knew that we needed to get the two of them together and soon, so we flew him out. It had been long overdue, and life was calmer, and pretty gosh darn good; there was no need in us keeping all of this happiness to ourselves.
About a month, before he had arrived, I had begun to start working on my vice, which was food. He was here for three days, and then we took him to the beach, for the rest of his stay. He said he wanted to see some girls in ‘kinis, and I wanted to make it happen. By gosh, it would be his first time seeing the ocean, in his 65 years! What’s a girl to do? I love my daddy!
Well, after he flew back to Arkansas. He called and said, “I love my grand baby! She sure is pretty! I think she looks like me! Baby, I am going to work on me, and start to do better. Can I come back for her second birthday?”
I said, “sure why not! We would love to have you, and we can do Christmas and New Years together, and this time only go to the Biltmore Estates, which isn’t far from us.”
He said, “Good! I’ve seen enough ‘kinis that drive isn’t worth seeing anymore.”
Now, I do not like my dad’s vice, but I also feel that it isn’t going to get better, until he decides to do better. Everyone chastise him about it, except me. I just want him to eat everyday, at least three times a day. I know that he wants to tell his granddaughter about the evils of the world, and the danger in boys, like he told me, and to make sure she doesn’t date until she is 25. He is very old-fashioned and a sharp dart, when it comes to his girls.
About two weeks later, he called and said, “Baby, I haven’t had a drink in a week. I am going to the doctor to make sure everything is working right, so I am there for my grandbaby.” Shocking, right?
Of course, I wasn’t sure how serious he was, so I called my mom to check. She confirmed, but was skeptical. We didn’t know how long this was going to last, but we were going to support him how ever long he needed. And this will be my dad’s first visit to a doctor in 10 years. He was finally ready to hear what the doctor had to say.
To make it interesting, since we both are clearly going through a life transformation, I made him a part of my weight loss journey. I call and talk to him about my wins and fails. Then one day I said to him, “Pops, if you keep fixing yourself, and I keep working on me, we can support each other, which pretty much guarantees that my baby will have the both of us for a long, long time, at least until God feels otherwise. You can have the fat I am shedding!” He thought it was funny, but rapidly agreed. I will shed some weight, he will gain some weight, and do as his doctors have advised. We have a plan. Although, we have fun, we both know that it isn’t going to be easy, and there will always be an obstacle; however, we know that we will walk this journey together! For God’s sake, my baby needs us!
I have such a long row to hoe, on my weight loss journey. I do not like associating my lifestyle transformation to a diet. With a lifestyle change, I can accept that every day is not picture perfect. There are days, such as Monday, where I want to indulge on chocolates throughout the day. I accept that, but I also know that I cannot do that every day.
I have made a conscious decision to not allow cheat days either, because they are so restrictive. I eat what I want, for the most part. There isn’t anything stricken from my food choices; however, I have modified tremendously how much of it and how often I will indulge. Macaroni, for example, is a favorite food. Yet, because it is 10 points, on the Weight Watcher scale system for 1 cup, I will eat it only once a month. 10 points for one measuring cup of macaroni is absurd. I really enjoy snacking on peanut butter and Ritz crackers. Sometimes, I just want some peanut butter, and this is typically how I would consume it. What I had no idea of was how easily those points add up, if consumed carelessly. If I need a peanut butter fix, I will just make me a peanut butter/jelly sandwich. One tablespoon is enough to spread on one slice of bread; it is 200 calories or 5 points for 2 tablespoons; I just need one. I still do not eat it as often as I use to, but have found a better/lighter way of getting my fix.
To quench my sugar fix, I have found balance with cookies, smaller portions of cake, 1 cup of orange sherbet, or fresh fruit. We are in the season of watermelons! I love watermelon, although it is difficult finding the seeded ones I love so much. I can indulge on a big bowl of strawberries or a sweet banana. I also really like grapefruits and oranges. At any given time, I always have a huge array of fresh fruits, in my home. I still haven’t given up my sweets. I have just modified the type of sweets I eat, primarily. If I want a slice of chocolate cake, I will eat it. I am simply thinking about my food, and the difference this makes is amazing.
Finding a balance is so important for me. I also do not give my daughter horrible sweets. She loves bananas, mangos, and watermelon. I try to give her as much fresh fruit as possible. She is so young, but I am responsible for shaping how she views food.
I am no expert, but this has worked for me. I do not want to live in the gym, so my option is controlling my food, and I have found success.
I’ve lost another 1.8 pounds this week. I feel fantastic. I was just reading a blog that was so inspiring. She said, “Since I’ve lost, I gained a life”. How true that statement is. Now that I am on this path of discovery, I have not considered the endless life changes that I will experience. If I felt that my life was pretty good before, I am on the road to greatness!
I have already noticed changes with my sleep, mood, and energy levels. It really is truly a transformation. My goal is to not get a head of myself, and appreciate the steps that I am making, on a day-to-day basis. One thing I have done to avoid overwhelming myself is to place my weight loss goals in small 20 pound increments. Overwhelming myself is a real possibility, if I took on an insurmountable goal; my task would seem more daunting and frightening.
20 pounds is easier to digest than 80 or 100 pounds. At the end of each 20 pound victories, I do something nice for myself, and I start all over again, as if it is day one! I hope I am not making it seem that the 20 pounds are easy to shed, because they are not, but it is a real conclusion. Moving past what our society and environment expects is the tough part, because there is not a quick fix to transforming a lifestyle. Sure, I could explore the options that are available, such as gastric bypass or Phentermine or Orlistat (weight loss medications). However, are these things going to change my behavior; my mental thoughts of food; decrease my ignorance on good and bad foods? No, it is not.
These things are quick fixes and temporary. The Mayo Clinic found that ” it’s common to regain weight no matter what obesity treatment methods you try. ” This means that all the work that should have been done, in the beginning, still has to take place, to keep up the weight loss. One way or another, a behavioral change has to take place, or the weight will come back.
So, I am settling in to my 20 pounds at a time, while I walk into a better life, one day at a time.
Mayo Clinic (2012). Treatments and drugs. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/ds00314/dsection=treatments-and-drugs
I am almost certain that I can come up with a ton of valid reasons why I have been overweight most of my life. I can probably dredge up a horrible story from my childhood, or a horrible moment while dealing with the pressure of peers. In truth, I was not a bullied kid, in school. I was not one of the popular kids, but I got a pass, because all of my classes were with the smart and popular kids. When I was in school, being smart was not a bad thing. However, I have identified what triggered my weight gain. I was very, very young. At one point, I was a very active child. I could almost outrun any boy; I could climb a tree better than most; I tried or out raced everyone on my bicycle. Then there was a transformation in my home life that changed everything. I could not go out as often, the older I got. So, I began reading and listening to music, which were great indoor activities, but not activities that promoted exercise in a growing child. At the age of 14, I had become plump, and I was reading 7 novels in 2 weeks. I read Roots, The Color Purple, and tackled Gone with the Wind, before the age of 15. I had developed an enormous thirst for reading. I was a really good singer too, so I used that to take part in talent shows or events to stay busy. My mind flourished, although my body did not.
In addition to my lack of exercise, I ate more. The foods that were available were not served in the healthiest way. We ate sugar on our beans and turnip greens. The natural sweetness of a sweet potato increased, because of added brown and white sugars and butter. Corn bread was sweeten as well. Anything that was not a meat had sugar on it, and that was just fine with me. No matter how poor we were, we ate. There were not any lessons on how to eat well, and it was not expected.
As an adult, we must become accountable for our own behavior, especially when we know better. There is an adage that says, “you do better, when you know better”. Around the age of 25, I began exercising. I had a gym membership; I loved water aerobics; I loved to dance, which I did most weekends, for hours at a time. However, I maintained my current obese weight, became stronger, and lost a pound here or there, but it was not a physical transformation for me. And because I did those things, I thought I was healthy. I was active, busy, an intellect, had a social life, dated often, and for the most part felt that I had it together. What is it that I did not mention or try to change? This answer is what I have since figure has and will always be my downfall, if it continues to go unchecked. My food! I am a sweet eater. You can take off the skin on my chicken, boil or bake it, and I would not care. I will eat must green vegetables, and did not mind sautéing in olive oil. However, I wanted my lemon or strawberry cake, ice cream, or this delicious peach crunch pie I make from scratch. It’s full of butter and sugar, and it is not complete without a healthy scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Oh, dare I not forget my sodas. Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.
What have I done? I have identified what triggered my early stages of obesity. I have taken steps to further find ways of at least keeping hypertension and diabetes away. The stage I am in now is understanding my food, so that I can experience a healthy physical transformation. I still want my sugar; however, I am finding ways to give me that through naturally sweet things. Fruits! If I want to bake a cake, I use Splenda or the fancy new phrase of ‘portion control’. I drink about 40 to 60 ozs of water a day, no additives. For that extra, if I want something different, I drink crystal light. I am far from having it right, but I am getting there.
I have a little girl who needs her mommy, and deserves every opportunity to have success in life, and she cannot have that unless I transform my mind and spirit, which will eventually change me physically. Anyone that is reading this and identifies with my story, it is not going to happen over night. It is not easy. We just need to decide what is important in life; what we want from it; and how we can carry out those very personal goals. I am not a work out guru. If it is not fun, I am probably not interested. So no, I do not want to go jogging. However, I will take a walk with you, down this beautiful trail or garden or along the beach. We can have a play date with our kids at the park. Or, we can rent some bikes and cruise.
I want everything. I want to travel; be successful in my career; a loving and healthy family; one more baby; and a healthy physical transformation. I am currently losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. Since starting my journey, I have lost totally 26 pounds. I did find that I need help with understanding my food and thought that Weight Watchers (WW) was the way to go. Since joining WW, I have lost 16.2 lbs, since 3/19/12, and all I want to do is have fun doing it. So far, so good.
I have been fat all of my adult life. I always justified it, because I had not experienced any health care scares, and I was fairly active. I hiked, camped, kayak, and loved the water. I didn’t have any issues putting a bathing suit on, and proudly displaying what ‘my momma gave me’. I felt that life was pretty gosh darn good. I went dancing almost every weekend. I didn’t smoke, abused alcohol, or any type of drugs. I just wanted to dance and dance. I think I am pretty good on the dance floor too. I just needed my bottle of water, and some rocking music. I have a thing for old 70s and 80s music. I could really ‘get down’ to that stuff!
What changed for me?
My husband and I had an unexpected pregnancy; our first. Needless to say, we were ecstatic, but I experienced my first scare about my size. Clinically, I was obese, regardless of my height; I am almost 6 feet tall. I knew that I wanted to lose weight before our first pregnancy, mainly because of the weight I thought I would gain, gestational diabetes scare, and high blood pressure, which could cause a very difficult pregnancy, and I did not want to expose my unborn child to any of that. What could I do now? Nothing.
I threw myself into a healthy lifestyle immediately. I drank ungodly amounts of water, fruits, and vegetables. It was an easy transition. I did not experience the horrible issues of morning sickness. The only thing that made me gag was gargling, after I brushed my teeth. Around my fourth month, I began to lose weight, DURING my pregnancy. I began to shrink, and my belly began getting larger and larger. Now, I have another fear. What pregnant woman loses weight during her pregnancy? Something was wrong, I thought. I was so scared. My OBGYN kep
t assuring me that everything was just fine, and that my pregnancy was a diet for me. He found it amusing. Our baby was still measuring properly and was at a healthy weight. Hmmmmph..
By the time, it was time for our daughter to arrive, I had lost about 15 lbs during my pregnancy. One week after she was born (8 lbs 15 ozs/22 inches long), I lost 35 extra lbs. I am letting you know that it is possible, strange, and I did not like it. It scared the bejesus out of me, even with a healthy baby girl. It just did not seem possible. I was also curious about how long this was going to last, because I knew that my mind had not changed about food, and it would all come back if I did not change.
Now the challenges had begun.