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 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.