Did you know there are people who have lost weight and gotten fit since Covid-19 started? I hate those people. Just kidding–sorta. I really do hate those people sometimes.
My whole life I have struggled with weight. I have never been a small person. In high school, I played tennis and had an athletic build. Of course, most of the time I looked bigger than I really was because of the clothes. I still can’t believe some of the things we wore in the 1990s.
My mantra this week is to do 5 things a day on my list. Since coming home in March, I’ve had a hard time with motivation. Blame this on my ADHD or something, but I find it hard to get off the bed, or stop binging Netflix. I have consistently walked with my neighbors. I’ve also consistently made excuses for why I packed on 15 pounds. I can tell you why I gained weight: I ate and drank too much and I didn’t move enough.
In that past, about 9 years ago, after my daughter was born I lost about 60 pounds. I did this by eating less and moving more. I know I can do that again. I am back to the same weight I weighed 9 years ago when I decided to lose that weight. It’s funny, because I consistently told myself I would never be that weight again, but here I am.
I know weight doesn’t make a person, but the truth is I feel better about myself when I weigh a certain amount. I can breathe better (I have asthma). I can keep up with the kids more. I’m happier with my body and my self image. Those are important things toward my overall happiness.
I’m sick of doing nothing, so instead I’ll do something.
Today my 5 goals:
Ride my bike
Clean the kids’ bathroom
Spend Time Away from my phone and with My Husband
Log my Food All Day
I think it’s important to recognize when changes are warranted and to start making them. As a person, we all grow and change as we move through life. I spent a lot of time at home once COVID-19 changed all of our lives. I am a homebody, and this is where I felt most comfortable. Unfortunately, it meant my life became more sedentary without me even realizing it. So I’m going to change for me!
Not pretty enough. Not skinny enough. Not smart enough. Not fast enough. Not talented enough. Not good enough.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve felt like I’m not enough. These are the mantras I’ve told myself about myself for years. Self-doubt and a crisis of confidence have haunted my life. I am not sure why, but from an early age I felt a little less than. Part of it was the alopecia and not knowing how to deal with it. I mean, my mom brushed and put barrettes in my hair to hide my bald spots until I turned twelve. Part of that hiding made me hide who I truly was, probably even from myself.
I think for a lot of my life I have been scared to tell people what I really think or who I am. I am sure this has impacted my friendships and relationships. I’ve been scared to assert myself (my husband would disagree with this, and probably my children too because I’m comfortable around them). I told myself to just be kind and people would like me. But sometimes being kind means getting stepped on and not being true to yourself. There is a middle ground for sure.
I told myself a lot of negative messages about myself, while assigning perfection to other people who probably tell themselves a lot of these same messages too.
Not skinny enough. I always had an athletic build in high school–I played tennis and it was pretty much my life. After high school, I packed on the pounds. Freshman 15? More like Freshman 45! I have always struggled with my weight and let it define me. And why? Weight has nothing to do with my talents or my personality, but people do look at weight and judge a person. I have done it myself–looked at an obese person and wondered how they got there. And I’m not skinny, so that ain’t fair at all!
Not smart enough. As a kid, I went to one of the most prestigious schools in Montgomery, Alabama. I felt like a complete idiot. Everyone there seemed smarter than me. I struggled, especially in math, and was so embarrassed by this that I often hid my grades from my parents. I also had two older sisters at the school who seemed to do fine. Of course, one of my sisters studied her butt off, and I never did that–I sort of had this fly by the seat of the pants attitude about life. And it ended up working for me…until it didn’t.
Not talented enough. I have always loved to write. As a kid, I wrote these long stories mostly about people growing up in the Civil War Days. I had a huge obsession with Abraham Lincoln and triplets. I wrote most of my childhood, but I never felt talented enough to turn the writing into anything. I let other people’s ideas of what I should do influence me. I felt like my writing talent was not enough to make anything substantial. I told myself this even when I published a book, and after that book went out of print.
Not fast enough. A few years back, my sisters decided we would all run a half-marathon together. I said, “Thanks, but no thanks. I do not run.” Well, sibling pressure is real, y’all. I ended up training for 20 weeks, hurting my foot, you name it, but competed and finished the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon. But I’ve never been fast. I trained all that time and still had trouble with pacing, keeping up with my sisters, and increasing my time. I told myself I wasn’t fast enough to be a real runner.
Not pretty enough. I have never looked at myself and thought I was pretty. As a child, I struggled a lot with self-image. I had alopecia, and kids made fun of and bullied me. I struggled a lot to look in the mirror and think the person looking back at me might be beautiful. Everyone always told me I had a beautiful smile. But I just couldn’t see what people saw in me. And when I lost all my hair nine years ago, I struggled again. I had a hard time confronting the emotions that came with that loss, and thinking that grieving the loss of my hair might make me self-centered or something like that. I rolled with the punches. I told people about alopecia. I feigned feeling confident. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
So how do you go about changing the not enough into a great big ENOUGH? Start changing the mental dialogue. It takes practice, and sometimes I fall into the same pattern of telling myself I’m not enough.
When I look in the mirror now, I try to think about how easy it is not to have to deal with hair. I can go bald, and I don’t use that much shampoo. When I run, I think about how strong my body is getting. I think that speed doesn’t matter as long as I’m continuing to run the race. When I write, I can acknowledge my talent. I had to stop thinking about what other people might be thinking of me, and start thinking about what I should and could tell myself.
SMART ENOUGH. PRETTY ENOUGH. FAST ENOUGH.
Still not really skinny enough, but hey I’m working on it.
Today is June 9th. Well, you’re reading this on Friday, June 10th, because I wrote this post yesterday. I’m literally speaking to you from the past. This week I have been making excuses. Back a long time ago, on this blog I checked in once a week with goals. I felt this helped me make changes in my life. I know this might be boring for some of you dear readers, but it might also inspire you to make your own goals and live by them.
Back at the end of April, I ran a half-marathon. I think some of you might remember that. And then I lost my exercise mojo. I hated running after that dang half. I didn’t want to take another step. I didn’t want to run another mile or two, but definitely not LONG runs. Thinking about running 8, 9, or 10 miles gave me anxiety. I threw myself back into yoga and Glide, and I went to a few other classes at the Y. Then I started cleaning out my closets. And eating…a lot. And I gained weight. Imagine that. But at first, I lost weight which was weird and confusing. Then I gained 5 lbs this week. In one week. Hopefully that’s water weight, but gees. It takes me so long to get it off that standing on the scale and looking at that number made me want to vomit in my mouth a little a lot.
So I decided today was the day to make goals. And I will do this every Friday for the upcoming week. Friday seems like a good day, because it’s the day I weigh myself and actually believe the scale (I weigh myself almost daily, because it helps with maintenance but Friday is the day of truth). Also, it allows me to set my goals for the week ahead and not fall off the wagon if I play around a little bit on the weekends. I was originally taking part in a weekly blog post on Fridays, but I lost that motivation too. Ugh—motivation can be a hard thing to grasp.
Here are my goals this week (and they are weight loss, lifestyle, and writing goals by the way).
Run 4 miles on Friday, June 10th
Run 6 miles on Saturday, June 11th. Try to keep up with my running partner who has suddenly become a speed demon.
Sunday is a day of rest (I think this was duly noted somewhere thousands of years ago)
Glide on Monday, Yoga Tuesday, Glide Wednesday, Thursday short run, start over Friday
Food , Drink, Weight
No alcohol on weekdays.
Eat more fruits and veggies
No chips from my chip-pusher James.
Strive to lose 1 lb per week until I hit my goal weight (12 lbs to lose)
Write every day – I’m done with setting word limits, because sometimes I do less and sometimes I do more, but I find creativity flows better when I write at least a little bit every day. Blogs count too.
Those are my goals for the upcoming week. What are yours?
Last week, I told you 10 Pitfalls to weight loss. I had so funny twitter comments. From the Writing Wenches: chocolate, wine, and beer. I agree! We all have our splurge items. But I’m going to tell you, splurge items aren’t that bad if you have them in moderation. And speaking of moderation, did anyone see the news the WHO came out with yesterday about processed meat being carcinogenic. I found a great article about how it’s still okay to eat meat in moderation. People have been saying for years that Americans eat too much meat. I’ve been a vegetarian and a meat-eater, and right now I’m a moderate meat-eater. We have meat at home maybe once or twice a week, and I order it when I go out to eat sometimes. I’m thinking about reducing it further.
But I digress, because I’m not supposed to be writing about the horrors of meat consumption. I’m giving you TEN ways to lose weight.
You might not like the first one, but it works for me:
Weigh Every Day: Studies have been done, and people who weigh every day lose more weight and keep it off. Don’t stress over the number, but if you have a target weight, weighing every day can let you know if you backslid or help you pinpoint what foods you ate that may not be helping you lose weight. Once the weights off, weighing every day can help you stay at the weight you want to be. (Disclaimer: If you have body image issues or an eating disorder this is not the path for you)
Buddy Up: Having someone to take the journey to weight loss with you is great. Accountability when you have a buddy in your journey helps. You can buddy up with someone you know IRL like your husband or your best friend. Or you can join a site like MyFitnessPal and participate in forums of people, just like you, who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Add Foods to Your Diet: Say what? Ever had an avocado? What about cherries, blueberries, kale? Add healthy foods to your diet. Find out what you like. Adding more fruits and veggies gives your body vitamins and minerals it needs, plus it naturally adds fiber. Fiber helps you to feel more full, is great for your intestinal system, and helps you lose weight.
Make Small Changes: When I decided to do something about my weight four years ago, I was overwhelmed by all the changes I needed to make. Make one small change a week or every two weeks. Wait for it to kick in, and then make the next change. If you’re drinking five sodas a day, drop down to three, then to one, until eventually you’ve knocked sodas out of your diet. Small changes stick and add up to big changes which will help you lead a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise: Can’t afford a gym membership? Walk your dog, 15 minutes a day. Next week up it to 20 minutes. Dance in front of MTV (do they even play music anymore?). Do chores. Run around the back yard kicking a ball with your kids. Do anything except sit on your bottom.
Use Smaller Plates: I said this last week, but using smaller dinnerware helps you to reduce your portion size. Let those big dinner plates in your cabinet collect dust. Pull out your salad plates and cereal bowls, and eat out of them instead of the larger version. When the salad plate looks full, you’ll stop eating once the plate is clean, and you’ve naturally and easily reduced the amount you’re eating!
Drink Water: I can’t say this enough. People are constantly confusing thirst for hunger. If you’re hungry, drink a glass of water, wait ten minutes,
By Derek Jensen (Tysto) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
and if you’re still hungry dig in!
Plan Ahead: Plan ahead. Decide what meals you’re going to eat on Sunday. Grocery shop, do a meal calendar, and stick to it. If you’re going out to eat, pull up the menu on line, look at the nutritional information and pick a food you like that won’t blow your calories out of the water. Bring high protein or fiber snacks to work (i.e., nuts, fruits, roasted chickpeas).
Go Whole Food Instead of Processed: Stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store to stock up on leafy greens, lean meats, and dairy. Stay away from the middle aisles and the boxed and processed food-like-products stuffed with salt, chemicals, and things your body doesn’t know how to process.
Sleep: Sleep is so important to your body and mind. Get your 6-8 hours a day and you’ll reach for the right foods and make healthier choices the next morning.
The thing I learned most on my continuing weight loss journey, is you’re going for a sustainable lifestyle change. If you think about it that way, then you’ll make necessary changes you need and you’ll be able to keep them. The other thing to remember, is it’s okay to splurge! Eat a piece of chocolate cake every once in awhile. Let yourself have that candy bar. Just don’t do it every day.
What are some changes you’re making to your lifestyle to become healthier? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t?
I promised you a few weeks ago I would start writing a post on weight loss, healthy living, and healthy eating. Well because I’m a slacker, or extremely busy, or both, I’m just now getting to that! And today, I thought it would be fun to start with a Top 10 list! So here are the Top Ten Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight.
You’re Making Excuses: I put this as number one, because it’s true. Any time people say they’re too busy to exercise, or they can’t afford healthy food, they’re just thinking of an excuse to fail before they’ve even started trying. STOP MAKING EXCUSES! If I can fit exercise into my life five days a week, with three kids, a day job, writing as a secondary job, and taking an online class, then you certainly can.
Portion Size: There’s a simple formula to losing weight (More calories out than in–with a few caveats). Portion size in the U.S. is out of control. When you go to a restaurant, immediately ask that half of your food be boxed up. Then you’ll be eating a more normal portion size. At home, eat off of smaller plates like salad plates. The plate will look full and you will eat less.
You’re On A Fad Diet: Low Carbs, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Atkins diet. None of these will lead to long-term sustainable weight loss. Why? Because once you reintroduce the food you’re going to crave it so much you’ll overeat it again and be back where you started. Instead, replace unhealthy carbs with healthy carbs like multigrain bread instead of wheat. And reduce portion size to limit the amount you’re eating.
You Don’t Eat Enough: Seems like not eating enough wouldn’t be the problem, right? Wrong. If you don’t eat enough you’re messing up your metabolism. Plus, if you don’t eat enough at meals then you’ll be more likely to snack and choose unhealthy snacks.
You don’t know the difference between good fats and bad fats: Fat’s fat right? WRONG. The fat in an Oreo is not comparable to the fat in nuts or an avocado. While nuts and avocados tend to be higher in calories, they have good fats which help in weight loss and provide important nutrients for your body. Nuts are also protein-based and will help you stay full. Have a handful of nuts in between meals instead of reaching for that chocolate bar. Your waist line will thank you!
You Don’t Drink Water: Anyone who knows me will tell you I drink three things: water, milk, and beer. Okay, maybe four, I occasionally have a glass of orange juice with a snack of popcorn. Drink a glass of water before a meal, and you’ll eat less. Plus, staying hydrated can reduce your urge to eat as sometimes when you’re thirsty your mind thinks you’re hungry. Get rid of sugary drinks like soda and juice, which provide no nutritional benefit and are a calorie bomb! Plus, sugar causes you to feel hungry. (Your body treats the chemicals in diet sodas the same as sugar in a regular soda, so don’t think you’re doing yourself favors by only drinking diet).
You’re Only Doing Cardio: I am guilty of this one. I love cardio, and I dread weight training and strength training sessions. Strength training helps you build muscle and your body must burn more calories to maintain one pound of muscle vs. one pound of fat. Strength training can come in different forms: exercise machines at a gym, high-intensity interval trainings with weights, yoga, and you can even strength train at home by doing sit-ups, push-ups, and basic hand-weights. (Check out YouTube for some basic and quick strength-training exercises).
You Don’t Sleep Enough: It’s a fact, when you don’t sleep enough you’re apt to reach for a bad food. Snooze 6-8 hours a night (for adults) and reach for the veggies!
You Don’t Eat Your Veggies: Your Mom was right when she said to eat your veggies. Eat 5-7 servings of veggies a day (I like to get this in homemade smoothies or have a salad at work). Veggies offer vital nutrients to your body, and a plant-based diet full of fiber lets your body feel fuller longer.
You’re Surrounded By Unhealthy People: It’s hard to lose weight if your husband is eating an ice cream sundae every night. You need your family and friends to be on the same page with you and to encourage your weight loss goals. If you’re married, turn it into a friendly competition even if it ticks you off that your husband can lose ten pounds by just giving up soda. Talk to your kids about healthy eating habits, so it’s easier for them to establish a healthy lifestyle as adults. They’ll thank you in the future.
What are some ways you’ve found to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle? What derails you from your weight-loss goals?