I've been writing this post in my head for the last two weeks, and am thrilled to finally be able to publish it.
I'm ten pounds lighter than I was in March!
Here's the story - last fall, I had to buy all new pants because nothing fit anymore. I was two sizes higher than I wanted to be and spent all winter feeling miserable about it, but still not miserable enough to take any serious action. As I'm approaching ages that start with a higher number, it's getting more and more difficult to indulge in junk food without consequences. (Three years of breastfeeding got me into that baaaad habit.) I knew that it was time to change things around while it was still manageable, but still lacked the motivation to do so. Then around the end of February, a few things happened at once that gave me a push.
1. My cousin wrote a book:
... so as our family was preparing to celebrate her accomplishment, I had skinny on the brain.
2. Lent was beginning ... the perfect time to cut out sweets. I'd been in a bad habit of enjoying multiple treats a day, usually mindlessly.
3. My friend Shaun writes a blog about his weight loss journey that's incredibly honest, funny and inspiring and I've been thinking a lot about his struggle and how brave he's been to report on it.
4. During a particularily low day, I posted this to FB:
... which prompted my friend Jen to invite me to join a weight loss challenge. I've never done anything to make me publicly accountable for weight loss, because I was sure I would fail. But I committed, and then I needed the tools to follow through.
So! Here's what I did.
1. I put myself in a mindset that this was a lifestyle change, not a diet. I constantly remind myself how hard it was to get started so I won't be tempted to slide back to old habits.
2. I started using this:
I really thought that just cutting out the junk food would be enough, but wanted to track my eating for a few days to see for myself. Turns out I had to cut waaay back on lots of things! I've been really surprised at how fun this is to use. If I know what we're having for dinner, I'll go ahead and enter it in the morning, then I know what kind of lunch and snacks to eat for the rest of the day. I can access it from my phone, desktop or iPad, so it's incredibly easy to keep up to date. I love that it does the calorie calculating for me and that I can add more calories by logging exercise for the day. And I log in EVERY little food, which is a big deterrent when I'm considering eating something junky. Seeing everything on screen makes it much easier to make healthy choices - now that I've been using it for a month, I can go back and look at best options for each meal.
It hasn't been easy, but there have really only been a handful of times that I've felt cranky hungry (and it turned out that two of those times, I hadn't eaten enough calories for the day, so it was warranted!) Tea is my best friend ... if I really want SOMETHING but have snacked enough, a cup of tea usually does the trick. (Caf before 5 pm, decaf after.) Peppermint tea is an excellent substitute when I have work to do after dinner but don't want to snack.
3. I also have been using this:
I really, really, hate exercising, but I love walking. Jeff got this pedometer from work and I stole it from him and have been using it since August. It has a USB connection, so I can upload my steps each week and keep track of activity on a chart. I love this!! My personal goal had been to hit at least 7000 steps / day, which I was only doing about 4 times a week consistently. However, since I've started this weight loss challenge, I've been more committed to it and have hit my goal every day since the beginning of March. In the last three weeks, my daily count has been between 8000-15000 and I've been doing it in surprisingly small ways.
• I go walking once a week with my friends, but I've also been taking every opportunity I can to go by myself or with one of the kids.
• When the kids are at the playground (and it's not too crowded), I walk around the outside. Clark and I go to the skating rink once a week and I walk laps while he plays or rides his trike.
• Doing an extra lap quickly around the perimeter of a store before and after shopping. This only takes ten minutes and adds at least another 1000 steps!
• Taking every opportunity to go up and down the stairs at home ... and there are MANY during the day. Put these books upstairs! Put these groceries down in the pantry! Take the laundry up and bring some down! Go downstairs and call the kids for dinner instead of just shouting! (The list goes on and on ... )
So, I've successfully completed my group weight loss challenge and officially dropped a size. I have more to go, but I'm halfway there and plan to be at my personal goal by the time school is out. I don't think you'll see me in a bikini any time soon, but I'm really going to enjoy shopping for new shorts!
I also want to add that this was incredibly hard for me to start - I truly didn't think I could ever be this disciplined. Turns out, I'm actually capable of much more than I thought. And I already feel a zillion times better. Moral: If I can do it, anyone can ... it's worth it!!