Monday, January 3, 2011

I Finished WELL!

So I know my favorite blog-stalkers have been checking in here for days wondering how I finished my 60 day challenge to finish WELL.

Well, in my opinion I did just that.  I finished well!

Did I hit 80 pounds down?  Unfortunately not.  But I did end the year 50 pounds lighter than I began it for a total of 76 pounds down.  That's nothing to turn my nose up at.

The thing I've learned, probably more than any other lesson in this journey is this - like any journey there are things that don't go according to plan, adjustments to be made and the more with the flow you go, the more likely you are to succeed and reach your destination.  If I gave up at the first setback, I would still be 285 pounds, folks.  But I'm not.  I'm 209, on my way to 165.  More than halfway to my goal.  And more motivated than ever.

I still lost weight during the holidays.  Only two pounds in December, but we all know it would have been more if 2 weeks of the month I had not been sick.  It happens, so again, I'm moving past it.  I feel really great that I lost weight during one of the hardest times of the year to do it.  Not many people can say that.

So I promised some motivational posts to start the new year off right.  Lets start by talking about New Years Resolutions.

{insert groan here}

This is where I go on a serious rant, so please depart if you can't handle the truth (lol).

Because the word resolution takes on such a flippant meaning in our culture.

The dictionary defines resolution as:
"the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc."
We define it as:
"something we do every January 1st with all intentions of breaking it by Valentine's day, if we make it that far and then we'll all laugh about how badly scraped we are from falling off the wagon and letting it drag us 300 yards."

To me, diets are like resolutions.  Diets from the start, are doomed to fail.  For every person that says "but this diet really worked for me" I have to ask a hundred times "if it worked, why oh why are you having to do it again?"  If something works, it works forever.  Does it need new batteries sometimes?  Yes.  But it still works.  Diets have no warranty.  You can't get your money back.  But they are for sale everywhere.  And they all claim to be "it."  Trust me, take it from a girl who has lost 76 pounds.  I sort of know what I'm talking about here.  When you get ueber restrictive, you will automatically resent it from the start.  The diet is all that stands between you and ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and french fries. The diet is why you are miserable at the buffet.  The diet causes you to hate yourself when you slip up.  The diet makes you physically uncomfortable when someone (or everyone) brings in birthday cake. The diet makes you snippy with your family and makes you kick your dog.  
How unfair to everyone around you...and how unfair to YOU.
Diets just give you a short term good feeling before your resentment wins out and then they leave you with self-loathing, anger and sometimes more weight than you came into the diet with!  How in a million years is that worth it?  Not to mention most of the popular ones cost money!  Forget it!   

So I challenge you to ditch resolutions in the American sense and ditch your silly diet plans...and make DECISIONS instead.  

The dictionary definition of Decision is:
"the act of or need for making up one's mind."
I love that.  Making up your mind.  That is what a healthy lifestyle is all about.  I had to decide, like really truly honestly decide that my life and health was worth a little bit of hard work (ok a lot of hard work) and some sacrifice.  And I didn't change everything overnight.  This business of starting to be crazy restrictive on January 1st is ludicrous. And unlikely to last.
Instead, once you've decided, really decided (and seriously, I mean decided, not just wished, hoped and thought about it) then you can begin to make changes.  
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to determine if you're really ready to make this decision:
1) Am I willing to change the way I eat?  Try new foods?  Track my input (food) and output (exercise) until I've maintained my healthy weight for 6 months?

2) Am I willing to MAKE time to exercise, doing something active at least 3-5 days/week?

3) Am I sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Do I want to feel good?  Do I want to live again?

If you can say "yes" to all of these questions, then you might just be ready.  But it doesn't stop there.  Now the logistics.
Here is a to-do list once you've made your decision:
1) Talk to your family.  They have GOT to decide to support you.  If they are going to be eating fried twinkies while you eat as many super foods as you can cram on your plate, I can tell you this is not going to last.  Ask your family if they are willing to go on this journey with you.  Don't cut all their favorite foods out of the house (this is where self-control really comes in).  But ask them to support you and cheer you on.

2) Talk to your doctor.  Don't ever start an eating or exercise program without talking to your doctor about what would be best for you.  I'm not a doctor, I'm just a fat girl who knows what worked for me...there is my disclaimer.

3) Research and find some activity/exercise that you might enjoy.  Be willing to try different things!  Not everyone will want to be a runner like me! Maybe you will like cycling?  Maybe swimming?  Shoot, I started just by walking!  Do what you can... just MOVE.

4) Make a list of healthy lifestyle changes you want to make.  Here is an excerpt from my list August 2009:

*reduce caffeine
*drink water - go for 64 ounces.
*eat less fried food
*move more - do something active 5 days/week
*eat more vegetables
*makeover favorite fattening recipe into a healthier one

I didn't make all of these changes at once.   But here is what I did do in the last 16 months:

*reduce caffeine - gave it up completely!
*drink water - go for 64 ounces. - I drink 100+ ounces a day.
*eat less fried food -rare that I eat anything fried - makes me sick now!
*move more - do something active 5 days/week - I run 3 days/week, do Zumba 1 day a week and cross-train with cardio/weights 1-2 more days/week.
*eat more vegetables - I eat all kinds of veggies now!

5) Research Super Foods.  Go ahead, google it.  Or take a look at this article on Web md:
Either way - try to incorporate super foods into every single day.  You won't regret it - and I guarantee you will find you like more foods than you gave a chance ever in your life.  I can totally say that.  I love asparagus, broccoli and fresh spinach more than I ever thought I could.  And I'm being completely serious here.

So are you in yet?  Think this over...and DECIDE.  Really decide to make a change.  I know if I can do it, you totally can.  My 10 years in HR and my Marketing degree have absolutely not prepared me for this journey.  I have made it my own.  And you can do the same.



More on goals for 2011 tomorrow while you chew on all that.



Jordanmommy2011 said...

Hi Clara,
Congrats on your accomplishments! I had a baby in May and Im trying to lose my baby weight. SOme of it has shed because of breastfeeding, but its hard for me to get in a gym due to my hectic schedule as a single Mommy and a full time teacher. I would love to get back in to the gym, just feel thereis not time! Any advice on where to starT?

ClaraB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ClaraB said...

Hey there! Thanks for your kind words. You have to just start SOMEWHERE. It sounds like working out in your own home might work better for your situation. Try the Biggest Loser DVDs with weights; my favorites are the Cardio Max, Power Sculpt and honestly really any of their videos. They combine cardio with weight training which is just like taking an awesome class at the gym. The DVDs sell for about $8-10 each; a great bargain. I saw huge differences in inches when using them regularly. Also, I love Tae Bo and have a few Billy Blanks videos as well. I also do Zumba once a week outside the house; some Zumba and even gyms have childcare available so look into that locally. Congrats on your baby and best of luck in your journey! Email me anytime at Take care, Clara