I’ve been writing for SlendHer for a little more than a year now–and love it! As a freelance writer, I’ve been tackling the topic of health and fitness for years. Providing tips and tricks that make fat loss goals easier for women like you gives me purpose. However, I must confess, sometimes I’m definitely guilty of “do as I say, not as I do.”
When I was in my teens, I could put most frat boys to shame given the amount of junk food I could consume, and do it all without gaining a pound. Now, in my mid-30s, I so much as think about ice cream (and I think about ice cream a lot!), and my belly seems to bulge. The first time I noticed my weight really fluctuate was when I was getting married–nearly 10 years ago. I bought my dress in February, and a week before my late October wedding day, I had to have it let out. I was blessed with good genes so never has that happened, and it caught me off guard. Since that time, I’ve seen my weight shift up and down. Nothing drastic, but still enough to annoy me and make me feel less confident.
I’d try to “fix the problem,” by taking an all-or-nothing approach: only eat healthy, exercise early and often, and overall live free of junk. It’s great in theory, but sometimes I’d take it too far, stripping my life of just about everything I enjoy, just to try to achieve some magic number on the scale or size in my dress. While this method would work for a while, I’d eventually become so burnt out and cranky, that even I didn’t like hanging out with me. I’d also be working out so much that I’d get injured (more so because I’m a klutz and fatigue does nothing to help with that) or get sick, so then I couldn’t work out–falling right back into my lazy girl slump.
You’d think the first few times of doing this would be enough for me to realize that going down that path leads to nowhere. The extra weight may come off, but rarely would it stay off. And typically I’d feel further set back by this approach than closer to a healthier me. Something had to change.
That change came in the way of vacations. My husband and I had gone on a long weekend away in the spring, and despite having lost a few pounds using my go-to, all-out approach, I still didn’t like how I looked in my clothes or how I felt health wise. I came home from that and just felt sorry for myself instead of doing something about it. During the summer we decided we’d take another vacation in the fall to celebrate the now 10-year wedding anniversary. As soon as I booked the flight, I vowed that I would not let how I looked affect my vacation (and really my life in general) like last time, so I put a plan in place–this time with a new approach: baby steps.
I had 12 weeks to get into shape, and about 10 pounds that I wouldn’t mind saying “see ya” to. I decided to baby step toward that weight loss by focusing on one pound per week. Not a big number by any means, but one that is doable and realistic. It’s also one that wouldn’t have me too disappointed if one week I didn’t hit it–and let’s face it, life happens.
Instead of cutting everything I love to eat–pizza and ice cream–I changed my portion sizes. I don’t need to eat an entire pizza by myself (although I could probably eat two). And if I eat only half, it means I get to eat pizza twice in one week instead of just once. Instead of drinking the occasional sugary soda, I started drinking lemon sparkling water with a splash of lemonade. While there’s a little bit of sugar in it, it’s a lot less than soda, but still gives me the bubbly refreshment I enjoy.
For exercise, I went back to what I love–weight lifting. This time, though, I decided not to go for “personal bests,” and instead focused on lighter weight in order to better develop my form. The workout still needed to feel challenging, but I wanted to eliminate the risk of injury. And instead of only lifting, I started riding my bike and doing more yoga–both of which make my mind feel better.
I’m currently eight weeks in and have lost six pounds. On an earlier week when I was sick in bed with an upper respiratory infection, I could’ve cared less about the lack of loss. Again–life happened. And last week, when the scale didn’t move a second time, I wasn’t surprised. A busy week of work meant having a harder time fitting in my exercise, eating out due to exhaustion, and drinking a little…OK, a lot…more wine. I still made decent choices with what I consumed (ok, maybe not with the quantity of wine), and because of it, I can say the scale didn’t move up either.
Like many females, I can be pretty hard on myself and the way I look. The past approach I took toward being a “better me” only left me feeling like less, instead of actually weighing less. With the baby-steps approach, getting there feels a lot less daunting and more carefree–something I would’ve never associated with fat loss. For the six pounds I did lose, I celebrated with a new pair of jeans in a smaller size. I was actually surprised when they fit because, in a way, I felt like I hadn’t worked for it. The journey toward that loss wasn’t the painful and mentally draining experience I was used to undergoing. And the lesson learned is that it doesn’t have to be. Sure, it may take a little more time to get to where I want to go, but if it means the results last, then I shouldn’t have to do it again.
What’s your motto when it comes to getting healthier? Share it in the comments!