2010 saw me doing lots of running and logging my miles as one of my yearly goals. I ran several 5Ks and my first 10K. But I was still eating junk, just smaller portions. Late in the year, I started a round of the Game On! diet, which was great. It really got me thinking about the composition of each meal, snacking between meals, water intake and how much of the food we eat every day is filled with junk like sugar and salt.
In 2011 I ran another10k and then relaxed my running schedule a bit. It seemed like unless I was going to move on to half marathons, I had reached the goals I wanted to and it was time to move on. So I moved on to weight lifting! Another easy to track exercise, you can lift x lbs for x reps and keep records of your progress. I started off with The Female Body Breakthrough and then moved on to Body for Life. I followed to diet program that goes along with Body for Life. Despite the claim that small meals throughout the day keep your metabolic fire going and your blood sugar doesn't spike and all that, I found that I didn't gain any weight but it didn't make a huge impact on weight loss either. But all that dairy and eggs and protein powder did a number on my digestive system so I dumped that after a couple of rounds. From 2010 onward I did not really loose much weight at all, which was a clue to me that I was at a happy weight.
Let's look at the whole journey in graph form! You can see my initial loss in 2003 followed by a period of maintenance. Then a gain and a couple of years of complacency before REALLY being inspired and taking things seriously. Then another period of complacency which came with a small gain followed by another serious push to get down to the healthy weight that I've been slowly decreasing/maintaining for around 2 years now. Is this just another period of complacency? That was my first thought when I started to plateau at this weight but after seriously thinking over what my goal weight would be if it weren't this weight, I think I've found a good stopping point. I like the amount of exercise it takes to maintain this weight. I like the food I'm eating and the amount I'm eating. After loosing over 80 pounds I do have excess skin, especially on my stomach and arms but I'm not even thinking about surgery right now to remove it. It doesn't impede daily activities or chafe or anything like that, it's just mildly annoying.
|2012, I'm in purple|
I feel MUCH more alive when I am well hydrated. Game on! made me realize that sometimes when I think I'm hungry (especially if I'm craving fruit) I'm really just thirsty. So I aim for at least 100 ounces of water every day.
I am much happier eating larger meals (I never quite caught on to the snack-sized lunch and dinner.) three times a day and not snacking in between. I measure out my grains and nuts/seeds, which helps me keep an eye on portions but I don't feel bad doling out large helpings of beans, fruits and veggies. Game On! got me to read labels on my food and now my newest experiment, Dr. Fuhrman's Eating to Live, has helped me transition to an even more whole-foods diet. It makes so much sense that food is fuel for your body and you need to give your body not just the calories it needs to survive, but the nutrients that all of your systems need. Yes, if you eat fewer calories you will lose weight. But if you are still eating processed foods like frozen meals, lots of added sugar (like in pasta sauce, yogurt, crackers, everything!) and empty calories (like a lot of no-fat and low-calorie products that Hungry Girl pushes), your body will still be craving food and signaling you to eat more because it still NEEDS the nutrients you're not giving it. Once you feed yourself all of the multitude of vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy, you won't crave those empty foods any more!
Another big hurdle for me was being able to see what was actually in the mirror. Just like in all those childhood pictures that I had seen a fat child that wasn't really there, I still saw the same old me in the mirror even though that's not what was physically there anymore. I struggled with this and had to honestly look at myself, acknowledge that there was a different reflection looking back at me and that my idea of me was changing. What I had always thought and done did not apply anymore. I can't tell you how many times I bought clothes that were too big because I had always reached for the XL shirt and still saw myself as that size. Once I was seeing a factual picture of myself, I was able to start dressing for my size, which improved how I looked. This in turn fed my self-esteem and turned into a positive feedback loop, enough that I even bought a bikini!