Today I began setting up my tripod and camera.
“What are you doing?” My husband asked.
“Honey – this is stressful enough – I can’t have you watch me while I do this.” My husband recognized my tone. He went back to the kitchen.
“Maybe you can tell me when you’re finished.”
I hate being short with my husband – because he’s an amazing supportive man. But I was stressed about theses pictures. I was trying to take shots of me that weren’t just of my face. Pictures that actually showed… my waistline. And long time body insecurities don’t disappear overnight.
It’s January and the time where we all start to look at our waistlines and vow “this will be the year” that it will shrink. This past year I’ve worked hard and lost 30 pounds. I weigh less now than I did at my wedding. Honestly I haven’t weighed this since I was in junior high. For most of my life I’ve been on the “plump” side (to put it kindly). It’s been a journey (one that isn’t complete in my mind). But I thought I would share some things that I’ve learned along the way.
Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional so all of this is strictly my opinion/ experience but my first piece of advice is:
Get thee to a Doctor.
And I mean a real doctor – not a weight loss clinic. Women are complicated machines and if your thyroid or hormones are off – you could be fighting an unfair battle while trying to lose weight. Find a good doctor (ask friends and family)get some blood work done, and tell them that you want to work on getting to a healthy weight. By the way – when they check your thyroid, if they won’t run a full panel and will only look at your TSH (they won’t check your T3 and T4 levels) – they don’t understand thyroid and you need to find a new doctor.
When it comes to your diet – begin as you mean to go on.
If you’re waistline is not where you want it to be – it more than likely means that you need to change what you’re eating. For some reason (and I say this sarcastically) eating white cheddar popcorn and a giant diet soda everyday is not conducive to weight loss. Name the diet and I’ve been on it (Weight Watchers, Adkins, eat a potato for lunch and skip dinner..) but I could never fully succeed with these because they weren’t sustainable for me. When I say begin as you mean to go on – I mean pick a diet that you can do FOREVER. Not just a few months but for the rest of your life. For me I found that a modified Paleo diet works best. Basically no sugar (or artificial sweeteners of any kind), very limited flour, limited dairy , lots of veggies, a few fruits and low fat protein. I’ll have a couple of treats on the weekend and that’s it. This diet is pleasant, manageable and I can do it the rest of my life. By finding a sustainable way of eating I can maintain my weight loss. So find a healthy way of eating that you can live with. Weight loss isn’t a journey with a final destination. It’s a way of life. To get me started I used Dr. Oz’s rapid weight loss plan. You can find it here. It was recommended to me by my doctor. But be sure to consult your health care professional before you try it.
I honestly used to be scared of breathing hard. But over the past several months I’ve learned that I can push myself harder. The human body is an amazing machine – the harder you work it, the stronger it can become. You need not just to exercise, but you need to get your heart rate up. Depending on your fitness level it might just be a walk. Or you might need to take it up a notch and push yourself. I’ve learned that for me to stay interested I need convenience, variety and exercises that I find fun. I do best if I roll out of bed and exercise before my kids are up. It gives me time to myself and puts me in a good mood for the day. My favorite work out videos lately have been TurboFire – a fun kickboxing meets dance series that has several videos/classes of varying lengths to keep things interesting.
For strength training I’ve really enjoyed the PiYo series. It doesn’t have as much variety but I am loving the results. Ans again – check with your Doctor on what is a good level of exercise for you.
Invest in workout clothes…
Make sure that you have the proper work out gear. You’ll need good sneakers for exercise in ( key for healthy knees and feet). If you’re well endowed be willing to get a good/sturdy exercise bra that you can jump in and keep everything in place. Be sure to have workout clothes that are separate from your lounge clothes. You need to have clothes that you can sweat in and not think twice about it. A good place to look for cheap workout gear is Zulily.
…and smaller clothes.
Once you start losing weight, buy smaller clothes. Don’t keep wearing your baggy ones. This is for a couple of reasons :
1. baggy clothes will make you look FATTER than you are.
And 2 – it’s a signal that life is different now – you’re a different person. So buy a few things in a smaller size – and donate the big clothing. That way there’s no going back. Buy a few shirts and some cheap jeans – if you have a large amount of weight to lose – you will need to buy some clothing to tide you over until you get there. And window shop for that one dress you can’t wait to wear when you get to your goal size. My personal favorite place to shop online is ModCloth – they have prettiest dresses. And you can make a “wishlist” of items that you want. I like to have a wishlist to keep me motivated.
Even after losing 30 pounds there are days where I still feel fat. The truth is it takes the brain time to catch up to your body. I think this will take some time for me to wrap my head around my new size. But until I can maintain this weight loss (and trust myself that I will maintain it) I think that feeling will hang around for a while.
Objects have shifted during flight
I have given birth to and nursed three babies. Stuff has, well shifted. Giving birth changes you to your core – literally. Paleontologists can look at a female’s bones and tell if she had kids or not. So if the skeleton is different your outside is going to be different. I confess I struggle with this one. My breasts are different and my stomach. But I wouldn’t trade those things for my kids. Being a mom changes your mind, body and soul. It’s made me a better person. A few stretch marks and sagging items are really a small price to pay.
You will fall off the wagon
When you are trying to completely change your life. Old habits die hard. At some point you will screw up. You can either throw your hands up in there and dive into a bag of white cheddar popcorn (my personal favorite and nemesis) or your can dust yourself off and pull yourself back on. It’s the willing to pull yourself back on the wagon that makes you able to succeed. Don’t give up on yourself – you’re worth it.
Believe it’s possible.
You need to believe that you can reach your fitness goals. I say fitness because getting hung up on number will hold you back. At the end of the day you need to believe that it’s attainable. Take it from a former fat girl that still figuring it out. I went through my twenties and a good part of my thirties being overweight. But if you put good food into your body, stop feeding it crap and move everyday – you’ll see results. speak to yourself in a positive voice and fight for yourself and your family. You’re capable of amazing things, you just need to be willing to do the hard work to make them possible.