It's been 6 weeks since I began embarking on this latest weight loss journey, and I'm proud to say I've dropped about 14 pounds so far. I say "about" because the number keeps changing, mostly due to several factors that I've had to accept about my body. In order to keep the scale on the downward slope, I must do the following:
1. Exercise every day. And by exercise, I mean spend at least an hour at the pool with the kids AND walk for 30 minutes each night. When I don't, I gain weight.
2. Maintain around 1200 calories per day. I have found that I can eat ANYTHING I want, as long as I stick within the 1200- possible 1350 range. 1350 is only if I have a good day, exercise-wise. If not, then 1200 is where I need to stay to continue losing.
3. Drink some water. I CAN have my precious Diet Dr. Pepper every single day, but I need to limit it to one at lunch and one at dinner and have water the rest of the day. I can even flavor my water with that MiO stuff (which is delicious, by the way), and I don't have any of the hunger I get with my soda. I think it's because Mio is caffeine free, and it's sweetened with sucralose instead of aspartame. I think aspartame has an adverse effect on me when I drink too much (excessive hunger, irritability, fatigue, etc.), and it's a shame I've only recently figured this out, because I've spent years (YEARS, people!) being a tired, grumpy bitch. I thought I had mono for, like, 20 years, and it turns out I was just dehydrated. (Side note: I seriously never used to sweat, and now that I drink hydrating fluids, I sweat like a pig. I always just thought I was blessed. Turns out, I was probably one step away from kidney failure).
4. Accept that I will have setbacks. I will definitely come off of my health plan every single month, without fail. And, I'm pretty sure you can guess when that is. Every other time I've tried to adopt a healthier lifestyle, I get derailed by this female issue, and it takes me months to gain back the motivation and determination to start over. And by that time, I've usually added 10+ pounds and compounded the issue. The difference is, this time, I'm trying to manage my indiscretions within my calorie restraints, except for one day in which I just didn't. My Fitness Pal has truly been a godsend with this.
5. Know that the scale is not the only measure of success. The scale is a whore. The numbers don't change much for me. I'm not one of those people who can drop a shitload of weight over a few months. It takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R for me to drop a few pounds, and usually I gain and lose the same 3 pounds for weeks before they come off permanently, and then I'm on to the next 3. This has been the hardest fact for me to accept, and this is usually the final straw for me when deciding I'd rather be a fat girl who gets to eat delicious, heart-stopping, fat-laden foods versus a miserable, skinny bitch who gets no enjoyment from food whatsoever. Two things are different for me this time. I have actually stuck to this thing long enough to realize that even though the scale isn't moving, the inches are, because my clothes are fitting much better. Also, I can budget my calories to allow myself to continue to eat what I want, but I just have to eat less of it. This guy preaches the counting calories method. I've been reading him for a while now, all the while trying every fad diet I could in order to drop pounds more quickly, but that shit simply doesn't work for me. He hit the nail on the head. He is a guy, though, and he works out more than I do, so he can eat 1800-2000 cals a day and still lose. I really have to stay at 1200. One day I'll join a real gym, though, and hopefully be able to increase my intake.
6. Track everything. I mean it. Every goddamn morsel. Every jumping jack. Everything. I mentioned it a minute ago, but My Fitness Pal is the one change I made this time around, and it's working. AND IT'S FREE! I have it on my Kindle Fire, my phone, and my computer, so I am always near something that will allow me to track every single thing I'm putting in or doing to my body. The reason I love it so much is because it's so easy. Everything is already in their system. You just point, click, and add. I used to use Sparkpeople, which is also free, but I like MFP better. It's stripped down and very user friendly. I highly suggest Sparkpeople as well, though, because it's also free, and it has tons of great articles and motivational stories. I just feel like that one takes more time and effort to navigate, but I do read their tips and stories. The bottom line is whether it's pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or a website, hold yourself accountable.
7. Create an achievable goal in a specific time frame, and tell people about it. Example, I am doing this run the Saturday before my birthday. I did a 5k last year, and I felt so accomplished when I finished. I wasn't the fastest, for sure, but I wasn't the slowest, either. I also hadn't been training that long before I did it, so I'm hoping the longer training period will allow me to finish with a faster time and perhaps jog a good portion of it. I have signed up for races before and not even shown up for them, so I've actually told people about this one, so I have to be there.
That's all I have for now, but I think it's pretty solid advice. I hope to look back on this post in 6 months and still be following my own recommendations. Ideally I'll be several sizes and pounds down and in a much healthier state. And, by then I should have some before and after pictures that show a sizable difference instead of a "well if I turn the picture sideways and squint a lot, it looks like my left pinky toe is slimmer" photo.