Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Big 50

Phew!  I did it! 50 lbs since starting to blog about my weight loss!  I'm starting out this post with my latest FB status, that sums up how I was feeling yesterday...then some quick thoughts on how I've made it here. I have to be quick because I'm actually up before the kids and want to squeeze in a workout! LOL

It is REALLY hard for me to share this because, honestly, I don't like a lot of attention. But my fear of looking arrogant is overcome by my love to prove the media wrong, encourage others and hopefully help at least one person stick with their goals! I've lost another 10 lbs by sticking to MY daily goal of eating more fruits and vegetables. Do I stray from that? Totally. smile emoticon Do I get back on track though? Yes. It's hard to make that positive statement about myself, but I should! Also, I try to do some kind of exercise 6 days a week, even if it's just going for a walk with my kids, or jumping on the trampoline with them- yes, I can comfortably do that now! smile emoticon 50 lbs later (and 65 lbs less after i left the hospital with our 3rd baby) I can honestly say this change in my life has been more than worth it, even though there have been a LOT of ups and downs over the years. Don't give up on yourself and your health! You are too valuable to this world! There are things you are meant to do! You don't have to go to extremes to make this happen. The time, the months and years, will pass either way. It's up to you if you want to see personal progress during that progression of time. If you really do and are willing to make some changes, I know you can do it too!! heart emoticon

OK, so how did this kind of weight loss happen without fad diets, special diet foods or a gym membership?  I've been thinking about it and I've noticed 4 changes I made over time that seemed to make a big difference.  Even though I've been blogging on and off during my journey, I don't think I ever spelled out these steps.  I hope you find them helpful in your efforts!

1) EAT EVERY 3 HOURS- I know what you're thinking.  "But I'm hungry before then." "But I'm not hungry by then." Whatever!  Your body needs fuel, but sometimes not as soon as it thinks it does.  I find that waiting until 9 to have breakfast is a good time for me, and then eat about every 3 hours after that for 4-5 eating times.  Just think, the fewer times and properly spaced out times you have to eat, the less likely you are to over do it.  When I started doing this my portion sizes were still much too large, so doing this eliminated having as many opportunities for over-indulging.  I generally get "hungry" again an hour and a half after eating.  Yup.  So for that next hour or so it's my Water Time- and that's super important!  I try to make sure I get enough of that necessary fluid and if I just ate when I was hungry then that wouldn't happen.  On days when I didn't think I could do it, I reminded myself I had done it before, so I could do it again. ;)

Eating at similar times every day also put my body on a much needed schedule.  Our bodies are machines, and they will adapt.  They like structure.  Now that I eat at more regular times it's like my body knows not be hungry yet, or when to get ready to digest.  It also makes it a lot easier to get a workout in the morning before eating because I'm not hungry so early in the morning.  When I ate an early breakfast I felt like I had to wait before exercising and then by the time I was ready other life's responsibilities were up and out of bed (i.e. kids) and the work out wouldn't even happen.  This eating schedule helps me not get too hungry between meals, drink enough water and make the most of my day!

2) NUTRITIOUS SNACKS (ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT)- If by after 2 and a half hours of having a meal I'm REALLY hungry, then I have a piece of fruit or some cut up veggies.  BE SURE YOU HAVE THESE ON HAND!  I guess I should make healthy shopping a step too.  LOL Same thing goes for eating after dinner or dessert.  Is that always what I'm in the mood for eating when I'm about to watch a late night movie?No.  But I try to stick to it and tell myself what I tell my kids when they don't feel like eating their veggies: "If you're really hungry, you'll want it." And want to know what the truth is anyway?  Your pallet changes.  The more you have the good stuff, the more you start to crave it.  Soon your body is trained and can't even handle the greasy stuff, or as much of it.  Trust me.  Good choices lead to more good choice, especially when you start seeing the numbers on the scale go down!

For me, bad choices also lead to more bad choices.  I have to be very careful if I want a little junk food, and there are some I know I just can't even have one bite of- stay away Cheetos!  Even though I don't even like how it tastes that much, once I have some I just want more and more.  I know it's a chemical reaction and I try to just not even go there or have it around.  "Will power is overrated." -Jillian Michaels

3) SMALLER PORTION SIZES-  AFTER I had steps 1 and 2 down I worked on shrinking my portion sizes.  This was hard for me.  I think my binge eating came from my college dorm days, when I knew the cafeteria would close and the free food would be gone.  I was on a tight budget and it made me nervous.  I had trained myself to eat as much as I could to get me to the next meal comfortably.  So this step was more mental for me.  I would try to slow down and listen to my body.  I would try to use things I learned from reading "Intuitive Eating" and stop when I felt comfortable and not stuffed.  I had to trust that in 15 minutes my stomach would catch up with my mind and feel full.  If I wasn't sure, again I would focus on having seconds on the veggies.  Veggies NOT covered with butter either ;) If I started worrying I would get hungry between meals I would tell myself to calm down, that I wasn't going to starve to death and I had done this all yesterday so I could do again.  Little by little I came to trust the recommended portion sizes of meat and carbs, and be OK and HAPPIER when I stuck to it.

THIS IS THE BEST STEP!!! :) Seriously.  It makes me want to draw happy faces all over the place!  Let me tell you why it's so great before I explain how I implemented it.  First, it keeps things flowing.  I thought I had blogged about this before, but after looking through some older posts I couldn't find anything about it so I will say it here.  Staying regular is SO IMPORTANT.  It keeps you feeling light and ready to move, and more motivated to exercise than when you are bloated!  It prevents toxins from being released into your system, which (for me) cause major depression and irritability.  Meat and dairy have NO fiber, and just clog you up.  Changing to a more plant based diet led to great improvements in my digestive and emotional health.  SO worth it just for that.  Now when people ask me how I've battled my previously sever depression this is the first step I mention.  Changing your thoughts isn't very effective if you aren't getting to the root of the problem, and seriously, physically, constipation plays a big part in that.

Second, you are getting SO MANY NUTRIENTS in real, plant based food.  There's a reason the Garden of Eden was a Garden of Eden...good, God-given food!  Enough said.

Third, your body was MADE to digest this type of food.  It recognizes it.  It's from the earth.  Processed foods, no matter how low-calorie they promised to be, just left my stomach feeling empty and my pipes clogged up.  There weren't enough real foods to keep my body satisfied or give it enough nutrients.  Once I made the change my body knew it and welcomed the "real" foods, as opposed to fake, factory made substitutes.

But HOW do you do it?  I'm still working on maximizing my efforts in this area, but this is what has helped me so far...

Take things one meal at a time.  I started with breakfast and still find this the easiest meal to be successful as far as plant based meals go.  I started with actual fruit- an orange, apple and banana.  But now I love a smoothie!  It took time to get used to this because before I always wanted toast.  But I told myself if I could focus on fruits and veggies before 12 o'clock, that would be so great for my body (and Christie Brinkley recommends it too so it can't be a bad idea- right?)  I didn't do a lot of green smoothies at first but now I love knowing I'm getting some spinach and flax seed for protein in my breakfasts.  There are tons of recipes online, but I will be posting some of my own favorites soon.

After mastering a plant based breakfast, I went on to lunch.  I try to have a variety of go-to options.  Some days it's a loaded salad, lots of beans and whatever dressing I want to treat myself with.  Some days it's a veggie wrap or sandwich on whole grain bread.  Sometimes I grill the veggies on the George Foreman grill and other days it's raw.  I experiment with spices and condiments, but have a few favorites so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every day.  I love chili!  I even enjoy a veggie omelet with egg whites sometimes.  There are so many options if you are willing to try something new and go out of the box.

The same thing goes for dinner, as little by little I sneak more veggies into dinner.  When we have Taco Tuesday, I try to skip the ground beef all together and just deliciously season the beans and tomatoes.  I did veggie enchiladas for the family for the first time this week.  There are so many ways to be sneaky and fill up on good stuff- you just gotta do it!  More of my own easy tried and true recipes coming... ;)

To be completely honest, there is one other step I've neglected to list.  NEVER GIVE UP.  Even if you gain back weight (I did) NEVER GIVE UP.  Even if your "cheat" meal turns into a "cheat" day, NEVER GIVE UP.  Even if you miss 2 weeks of working out, NEVER GIVE UP.  I didn't even list exercising tips yet because those were less important to me than getting my eating habits under control.  For me, this is about health.  It's about giving my children a framework that will set them up for success.  Even though at the beginning it seemed like it was going to take FOREVER, I didn't give up.

I don't think believing in yourself ever gets too much easier.  I look back on previous weigh-ins and see numbers 40 lbs bigger than I am now and still can't believe I've dropped that much.  But I have.  And really, the hardest part was just NEVER GIVING UP on myself.  That was harder than any work out or change in diet.  And the funny thing is, that is also what is most rewarding and what I take with me into other goals I am working on now. Anyone who has this much weight to lose knows it's not really about losing the weight.  That's a bonus.  It's about learning to believe in yourself.


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