Achieving Your Goals

Maybe this is a funny post to write after all of the U.S.A. gorged themselves on too much food yesterday. But I always say there is no place like the present to make a positive change. I am a procrastinator, and I’ve always been hell bent on putting off until tomorrow what I can get done today. But all that changed when I decided to make some much-needed changes in my life.

Back, a few years ago, I lost all my hair to Alopecia Universalis. And I realized I was fat and unhappy. I’ve told you all about this before, so bear with me, this blog post might actually go somewhere.

I remember thinking it didn’t matter what I put in my mouth, because I thought that no matter what I’d always be fat. Watching my diet and exercise seemed exhausting on top of raising three kids, working, and being unhappy with most of where my life was heading. I focused on the negative and was in a real slump. I felt lost, and I wanted things to be different for me and for my family.

And then one day, I was walking up the stairs at work and I could barely catch my breath. I flipped through some pictures from my wedding, and I saw how healthy I looked. I looked at how I always sat on the couch and didn’t even really want to play with my three little kids. And it was enough for me to make a change. I started going to Tae Kwon Do. I made friends. I focused on myself and my needs. I changed my attitude to others. I started being nicer to people in my life and worked on controlling my anger, which had spiraled out of control at that point. I worked on both my physical and mental health (they go hand-in-hand folks).

I found the value in having goals, achieving goals, and not putting those goals off. Today, I’m more physically healthy and more emotionally healthy than I’ve been in a long time. I’m thankful for all I have: family, friends, health, work, and for my writing successes. I realized in order to make a positive change in your life, you have to be willing to do it and stop making excuses that allow you to fail. I also realized that happiness comes from within, not from external forces, not from your friends and your family. If you’re not happy with yourself, then everyone will disappoint you because you’re disappointed with yourself.

And slowly but surely, I lost 60 pounds. I struggled. I still struggle to get off the couch, but now I exercise about six days a week. I watch what I put in my mouth. And when I’m feeling sad, I let myself wallow for a few days, and then I think about what I can change to bring myself out of the funk, instead of blaming others.

LaurenBefore Picture

Lauren – Thanksgiving 2011. Someone tell me to get a new wig please! I didn’t allow anyone to take full body shots of me then!

Lauren 2015 Thanksgiving

Lauren 2015 – 60 pounds later – Sorry for the quality folks, I’m in between cameras!

If I can do it then anyone can. Set your mind to something and you can achieve it. Accountability matters, even if the person you’re accountable to is yourself.

What are your goals? Weight loss or otherwise?


 

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Top Ten Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

by Lulumon Athletica Wikicommons

by Lulumon Athletica Wikicommons

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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).
  7. 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).
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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?


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