August 29, 2010

My move towards a healthy life

I've briefly mentioned this before, but this year I started what I am calling a "Life-Style Change." Hokey I know, but it's better than "diet,” referring to fad diet, or weight loss plan. I call it a lifestyle change because I realize that this can't just be a temporary thing, it has to be something that I do for the rest of my life. So far, it's been about 8 months of serious change and about a month of "just kind of getting into it" (December of last year). In December I finally was able to accept the fact that I was the heaviest that I had ever been and was just sick of being like that. My lifestyle change consisted of a change in my eating habits and creating an exercise plan, I wanted to be an overall healthy person. My original goal was to loose 25 pounds by the summer, meaning that I had to loose on average a pound a week, this goal ended up not being enough of a challenge so I increased it to 30 pounds and set a waist measurement goal.



The first thing that needed to happen for this change was my acceptance that it was entirely my fault. I finally stopped making excuses and was able to take responsibility; being fat as a child is usually the parent’s fault, being fat as an adult is the adult’s fault, in other words my fault. I now believe that this is the crucial step forward; you can't completely change and be successful unless you are willing and able to blame yourself and stop making lame excuses.


"I don't have time"

"I don't have money"

"I've tried diet/exercise and it just doesn't work for me"


These are all poor excuses. There are free places to work out such as trails, sidewalk, parks, even your own yard and you don't need fancy equipment, your own body weight can work great for resistance exercises. As for time, it can be hard, but if you have time to surf the Internet or watch TV you have some time to work out and eat properly. Finally, if you know what you're doing and are actually trying your hardest, it will work. I have used all of these excuses in the past but in the last 8 months I've dropped almost 35 pounds and many, many inches and I've also eaten my fill on a cruise and at a few parties during that time, you just can't do this all the time.

People always ask me how I managed to loose the weight and then are disappointed when I say eating right and exercise, but really it works. When I started, I went to the gym twice a week, and then I joined a fun and laid back yoga class (included in the membership) to add a third workout. The first few months that I went I used the machines and eventually found one that I didn't mind, the elliptical; finding a cardio machine that I didn't hate really helped encourage me to go, the built in TV as a distraction didn't hurt either. Try to find something that you don't hate and as you get better on it, you will probably find yourself enjoying the workout, once you reach that stage re-try some of the other cardio machines and you might find that you don't hate them as much either. Each month I would add one more workout session to the week until I was working out pretty much everyday; I now enjoy working out, so it's actually not as bad as I know that sounds to those who never go to the gym. In addition to working out, my life change involved cleaning up my diet, as in what I eat.


To reach my weight loss goals and my goal to be an overall healthy person, I had to make a few changes to what I was eating and many changes to how much I was eating. I always thought that I was a pretty healthy eater, and people would tell me that too, but there really was a lot of room for improvement. I really love food and portion control was my biggest issue; I would eat too much food, I still eat a lot of food but I try to only eat a lot of the good stuff and only a bit of the "bad" stuff. I started buying ground turkey and chicken instead of beef for making pasta sauces and chili since you don't notice the flavour change too much and switching my other meats to leaner cuts and types, which included more chicken and fish and less beef. I would make sure that I made less carbs, my true weakness, and instead tripled the amount of vegetables that I was making so that I could fill up on that instead. I was already eating 6 or more servings of vegetables but I managed to increase it. Since carbs do add a lot of calories to the diet, I began to change the types of carbs that I was consuming by switching to brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole grain bread (from whole wheat) and by adding quinoa and more beans. I didn't even think that I liked beans until eight months ago, the more ways I prepared them, and the more I like them. I found it hard to find free recipes that I felt fit into the healthy category and would be something that my husband and I would enjoy; I have been experimenting, creating and modifying recipes, some have been really good and others have been terrible but I haven't gotten bored with what I am eating which is good. One of the best things about my changes in food choices is that when I make healthy veggie and bean filled dishes I can eat until I feel really full but I don't get that gross bogged down, can't move, sleepy feeling.


All of these changed that I have made fit into my life, that's why it has been working and I have been continually loosing weight over the last eight months. If I had to cut out all junk food and wasn't able to take a day or two off from the gym every once and awhile I know that I would have quit long ago. It may be a slow loss in the eyes of some but it took me years too put on all that weight and to loose my previous level of fitness and I realize that it may take a year or more for it to all come off. Once the weight is off I won't be able to quit and go back to my old ways, I will have to maintain what I have been doing to stay in shape and keep off the pounds. I didn't make these changes for instant gratification, I don't want to start in on the cycle of weight-loss and gain like many fad dieters, I feel like this can and will work, not just for me but for others too. My life-style change and plan is basically what doctors have been telling us over and over, but now I finally feel like admitting they were right.

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