I have been reluctant to post anything about my weight loss mission. I am not proud of my ability to "yo yo" in this area of my life. I would try to just “not talk about it” or “joke about it”. I had decided that I could be ok with this body because this did not define me. At one point, I had even “made peace with this” because perhaps God could use me this way or that he was showing me something from this perspective. Most of my attempts to overcome the mental and emotional side of the issue seemed to drive me deeper into frustration about it. Funny thing, everyone notices when you lose a few pounds. No one ever said, “Monica, have you gained some weight”. Probably a good thing, but you can see it in the faces of other people. It is not intentional and I am certainly not holding anyone else responsible. All of my life I have been a confident and centered person. When the weight started invading my confidence, then it became an enemy. One that must be defeated!
I began again the day that school started for the 08-09 school year. I actually went to the doctor so that she could run some tests. I was pretty sure that she would uncover some mysterious malfunction of my body that had been holding me hostage to this large frame. It couldn’t possibly be that I was eating too much and exercising too little. I had often “poo pooed” my little brother’s insight on the issue…..”It is just math, Monica, if you take in more calories than you burn then you will gain or if you burn more than you take in then you lose.” I had to be the exception. Other people make themselves overweight….I was certainly a victim. Weird thing….from those tests I found out that I am pretty darn healthy. So now I have nothing to blame, no magic fix, and not a chance that this will change in a couple of days. So it began….again!
To date, I have lost 22lbs. I still have more pounds to go and it seems to be coming off really slowly. I still struggle and some days are better than others. Thankfully, I am surrounded by inspirational people who fight this fight, daily. The two most influential people in my life are my best friend Stacy and my hubby Rocky. They have been wonderful and would probably like to choke me at the many failed attempts. I know that they would gladly do this for me, but this is a battle only I can fight. I wanted to tell you all of this so that I could share some of their tips for success. Some of these tips you have heard and others may be new. Either way they are tips that are put in practice by at least two people who have successfully lost weight and kept if off for a very long time.
1. Find your positive triggers – Stacy and I were talking one day about the things that seem to trigger snacking. I immediately realized that sitting at the computer drinking a diet soda always made me want to snack. Rather than focusing on eliminating a bad trigger (dieting already makes you feel like everything is taken away), she suggested that I add a positive trigger. She asked me what drinks helped me avoid snacking. I told her that coffee could only be enjoyed alone in my opinion. I don’t think that anything tastes very good with coffee. THERE YOU GO! A positive trigger. Since I do most of my computer work in the morning, it seemed the problem could be solved. I only drink coffee while sitting at the computer.
2. MINT GUM – If you know my husband then you have seen him with his extra green gum. It is an essential part of life. He may leave the house without his money, keys, or even shoes…..but he will always have gum in his pocket. I know that some people brush their teeth after every meal or snack. Both have the same effect…that mint flavor kills the taste bud’s desire for sugar or salt.
3. If you bite it….you write it! This is actually a weight watchers tip. It basically means being accountable for what you eat. Both Stacy and Rocky keep a running total of points (could be calories) every day. Stacy journals and Rocky tallies. Rocky keeps it in his head more now than on paper, but at one point he had a notepad with day #1036 (that is almost three years) with his tally marks on it.
4. Change the environment – Have you noticed that just going outside to stretch, pray, or take a walk around the block makes you less hungry? This one works for me every time. The sun is our best source for vitamin D and evidence from studies tracking the prevalence of disease by geography and nationality shows clear links between vitamin D deficiency and obesity. Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities. That should get us all outside today for at least 10 minutes!
5. Sweat! This one is my least favorite, but probably made the most difference in my success. Rocky is on the treadmill every morning. That is actually what wakes me up each day (kind of pathetic actually). I have figured out that I prefer to exercise anytime other than the moment after rolling out of bed. Stacy pushes the stroller around the park and then stops for a picnic with her son before going back home. Whatever it takes….every day…..no excuses….no matter what….they both find a way to make it a part of the day. I have been walking and found that I LOVE the elliptical. Yesterday I actually ran every other lap of my two miles. Shocked myself!
So there you have it….my confession, my tips to live by, and hopefully my last time to post about how to get it off. Maybe next time I will be writing a “how to maintain” post. Thanks to all of you who inspire me with your good habits. So many of you are runners and I am in awe of your dedication. May you always be blessed with sunlight, sweat, and lots of gum!