Thursday, February 2, 2012

W.O.W.: Getting started


It's amazing how it just slips away.

One minute, you're looking at a day (off) full of possibilities and the next minute you realize it's time to pick up the behb from day care. You aren't any more rested, the house isn't any cleaner and dinner isn't made. In fact, it seems that the only thing you have to show for yourself is a stack of homemade baby invitations.

Apparently invitations take 55 hours to do, and they are the precise reason I didn't write my W.O.W. post on my motivation at the start of my weight loss journey. I hope you don't mind if I give it to you now. (#twss)

If you have read my weight loss story, you know that I didn't just decide to lose weight and - BAM! - x amount of time later, I weighed 122 pounds. No. It took a long time, with a lot of up and downs. Along the way, there were a lot of things that motivated me to start, restart and to get serious. I'm going to talk about the moment (moments, really) that helped me get to the track in August 2009 and stay there.

My mom's death. As I've shared in the Woman's Day/Yahoo! story, watching my mom die - not just the moment she took her last breath - but the years of seeing her destroy herself, made me look at the way I was treating my body and myself. I was so mad at her for not caring enough about herself (and me to be honest) to do something. As I worked through those feelings, I realized that I had no right to them if I wasn't willing to do something.

However, as a commenter pointed out, having someone in your life to be an example of what NOT to do is not enough. If it was, I probably would have never let myself get to 245 pounds. There were other things - almost a perfect storm, if you will - to get me going.

Getting the picture. In my weight loss journey, I lost 50 pounds then another 25. Those 25 pounds were lost and regained through three cycles, the last loss cycle just before my wedding in December 2008.

When my mom died, I was under the delusion that I was looking good and far better off than she ever was.

And then I saw photos from a girls' weekend in Chicago. Not only did I not look good, I looked big. I tried to blame it on camera angles and unflattering clothes but there's no denying that my weight had crept up. I had to ask myself whether the person in those photos was who I wanted to be.

Buddy system. I mentioned it in my previous post by my BFF joined Weight Watchers just before I did. The program really clicked for her, and she was able to give me an example of what to do and what I could be.

Support system. Also, in that vein, it's important to surround yourself with people who will encourage the changes you make. I mean no offense by the following but you tend to surround yourself with people most like you. If you are fit and active, your friends are fit and active. If you are sedentary and unhealthy, your friends are more than likely the same. It's important to reach out to those - without alienating your friends - who will encourage you. Mark, a lifelong runner, joined me for my Couch to 5K runs and never grumbled about going slow with me.

Again, with the dog. Mark and I inherited Denali so to speak from my mom, and we brought him home in late July. I wanted so desperately to be a good dog owner, and I knew a key to that was exercising our Siberian husky. I also knew that it couldn't be just something I did when it was nice. Come rain, come sun, come snow - Denali would want to go out. I made it my goal to be able to run a 5K by winter as I knew running 3 miles would be less painful than walking 3.

Breaking it down. I never looked at the big picture when I started. With Weight Watchers, it was about losing 5 percent, then 10 percent. I then looked to getting in the 160s, where I had never been, and down "decade" by "decade." It would have been hard for me to be successful otherwise because I would have felt overwhelmed.

Exploring. It can feel limiting to take on a new lifestyle/diet. The things you like to eat might not fit into your program. I really went outside my comfort zone and tried things like vegetarian patties, faux sausage and low-carb tortillas. I searched for WW friendly recipes and heeded suggestions from members. Slowly, I began to find new tastes and textures that appealed to me and helped to bring excitement to planning my menu.

Splurge. Living healthfully can be expensive, and it was easy for me not to buy the things I needed to be successful. However, if you want to order a crap ton of VitaTops to help you stay on track, do it. If you need Laughing Cow wedges for a wrap but they aren't on sale, buy them anyway. You'll be motivated to eat better if you have not only what you need but what you want.

In it to win it. I am not sure how or why but so much of my success is because I decided that I was worth it and made the changes. I would no longer accept that I was just meant to be overweight. I would no longer sell myself short. I would treat myself how I wanted to be treated - with love and respect - and take action to do so.

Are you a weight loss success? What can you share with others?


  1. I agree with everything you just said! I might add that every day is a new day, every decision is a new one. I might make a poor choice in my afternoon snack, but I can't throw in the towel and get Micky D's for dinner because I think I "already failed." Pick yourself back up and keep going.

  2. I find I did better at weight loss when I stopped looking at it as a diet. When I stopped searching for that magic SOMETHING (metabolife, anyone?) that was going to make it easy. When I changed my LIFE instead of just changing what I ate that day...

    (you inspire the hell outta me, just saying...)

  3. WOW is so right for this, thanks for sharing, I am a new reader and love your blog!!!

  4. Love this post! Thank you for sharing your tips!

  5. Beautiful post! I've been known to lie to myself from time to to time.

    I would also say that for me, it's a life-long commitment. There is no goal weight that I reach where my eating/exercising goes back to "normal" - staying active and eating healthy is the "new normal"!

  6. Definitely not a success - definitely want to be! Sigh, I love donuts . . . and it's sooo hard to remind myself that I would LOVE size 10 jeans OH SO MUCH more than that dang donut! Thanks for the honesty you shared in this post!

  7. This is such a great post and you make losing weight so approachable rather than saying it's easy. Because losing weight is anything but easy. I lost 45 lbs a couple of years ago and like you, I did it will exercise and change of diet. It was really a change of lifestyle. One of my tricks: If I wanted a treat, I would have it but I would throw away half or split the treat with someone else. My craving was fulfilled but with only half of what I used to eat.

  8. I am working on getting back to being a weight loss success. I have made it a goal to run a marathon after every baby. So far I have ran three! I don't run the marathon to lose the weight because that doesn't happen. I train and run them to prove to myself that I can do hard things. I can find the time I need to invest in myself even with having one, two, three children, a job and a husband. It's also having the determination to keep going after the motivation is gone.

    You look great. Keep up the hard work!

  9. I have lost over 60 lbs and am still on a journey to transforming my body while losing another 40 lbs. I had to realize that I was worth it and I had to learn how to love, respect and honor my body. I endured child abuse...mental and physical and later experienced infedility so accepting I was good enough to take care of myself was a journey for me. But I am on top of the mountain now and look forward to the rest of my journey.

  10. i've lost 50 lbs over the last few years. i have about 40-50 left to go. i'm going to do it no matter how long it takes.