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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Lease on Life

Losing weight is one of the best things I have ever done for myself, it has truly given me a new lease on life. I have now lost 90lbs, slowly, slowly since last September, averaging about 2lbs/week. I have gone from being extremely sedentary and fat,  to quite active and slim. My daily diet has drastically changed, lots of vegetables, fiber, protein, some fruit, a little fat, and really no added sugar. I run/jog most days of the week and find 3 miles to be an easy workout, but do five or six miles a couple of days a week. I make sure I get exercise every day. My blood pressure is now very good, always quite a bit below 120/80. My cholesterol is excellent, I am curious to see how low it will go. I sleep very well at night, I feel good, I feel energetic, I feel twenty years younger.

I am a fifty-one year old female and if I was to believe all that I read I would assume it is impossible to lose weight at my age, that I am past my peak, that jogging is bad for me, that I should accept high blood pressure and high cholesterol as normal and be a good girl and take my meds. I should continue on the path of poor diet, because at my age there is no hope, and probably go on to develop diabetes II, because of course there are meds to take for that too. Oh, and I am allowed to blame my lack of motivation, depressed state, and general poor health on any number of things, genetics, old age, menopause, just to name a few. Each of us has the power to unlock optimum health we just have to want to do it, and it can be done and all you have to do is start right now.

I am here to say there is hope if you track your calories, take some exercise, a walk each day is an excellent start, and begin to weed out the poor food choices in your daily diet. Make small changes, if you have a lot of weight to lose simply reducing the number of calories you eat each day will cause the weight to come off. Remember to be honest, and better to over estimate the calories in something rather than underestimate. As weight comes off you start feeling better and your body starts craving more activity and walking becomes enjoyable, something you look forward to. As weight comes off you begin to appreciate your body and realize that you need to treat it better and fuel it correctly, so slowly but surely you adjust your diet so that the food you eat is good for you and offers benefit and quality nutrition. Your entire outlook on life changes, poor food choices become just that and the lure of cakes, pies, sweets go away, in fact on the rare occasion you might have a dessert you become shocked at how exceedingly sweet it is, really sickly sweet. And when you think about it "sickly sweet" is kind of an ironic description isn't it, because all of that sugar really is sickly and will damage your body in the long run.

Today I urge you to review your daily diet, your daily activity level and make one small, manageable healthy change, and continue to do this every day and you will find you change your behavior and begin to reap the benefits. When you want to snack, ask yourself why, and then have a drink of water if you realize you are bored rather than hungry. Enjoy an apple instead of a donut, eat a serving of nuts (preferably unsalted, raw) instead of chips. If you want something sweet eat a fiber bar instead of a candy bar. There are always good fuel foods to replace foods that offer little nutritional value. Make sure you eat good, lean protein with each meal, and plenty of fiber. Fiber not only helps you feel full, it will keep you regular as clockwork paired with daily exercise.

Excuses will pop up, I don't have time to plan my daily diet, I don't have time to exercise, I am not ready to do this. Well yes you do have time, you already plan your daily diet if you think about what you are going to have for dinner, you will instead think about what good fuel foods you can have for dinner.  Exercise, just start with twenty minutes, most people can find twenty minutes in their day. When you go to the store, park as far away as possible. Look for opportunities to add steps into your day, you will be surprised at all of the opportunities you have to do this. And the last excuse, I am not ready to do this, so when will you be ready? When you have a stroke? When you end up in the hospital with a heart attack or problems caused by diabetes? Don't fool yourself into thinking that it doesn't matter because you can take drugs to address your current health issues, wouldn't you rather control you habits and be rewarded with a healthier body that is not dependent upon drugs to make it function in way that causes you less harm?  Are the immediate rewards of a large piece of cake really worth the long term problems this type of non-nutritious food causes, spikes in blood sugar, inflammation, weight gain?  Immediate gratification is WAY overrated, sticking to a plan, seeing things through, focusing on the long term brings such immense gratification and reward. Nothing worth having comes easily in life, hard work and effort bring such good rewards to the body, mind, and soul.

Sometimes a day will pass where you don't exercise, or you make poor choices, evaluate the day, ask why, and then develop a game plan to avoid the pitfall in the future. I read an article a week or so ago and it said if you were on a road trip and took a wrong turn you would not say, oh boy, this trip is ruined and keep going the wrong way, no you would turn around at the first opportunity and get back on track. Making healthy living choices is the same, you will have days where you "take a wrong turn", forgive yourself, smile, and confidently get back on track. As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, the weight keeps coming off, your body becomes toned and fit, you will find that you rarely "take a wrong turn" because your new lifestyle habits have taken over.

With a 90lb weight loss I am fast approaching the end of weight loss and the beginning of maintaining my weight for the rest of my life. I weigh 150lbs now, a good weigh for my height of 5' 10". Weight is still coming off but I assume it will stop, or slow down soon, I weigh less than I did in high school, it is very strange. I catch glimpses of myself reflected in a glass door as I enter a store and sometimes take a double take as it seems unbelievable that the tall thin lady reflected back at me is me. I am buying medium in clothing sizes, a far cry from the 2X I used to buy. I got rid of all of my fat clothes, I am NEVER going back to that size because I was miserable and I didn't even realize I was so far overweight, I was in denial and could always find an excuse to eat more. Worse still I didn't realize that there was an energetic, fit and slim person in me that was simply buried in fat, what a tragedy if I had never discovered this fact! I am so glad I made lifestyle changes before I had any major health issues, and I continue to be amazed at just how forgiving our bodies are if we begin to treat them properly, it is truly miraculous.


Anonymous said...

Well done on your wonderful achievements! I need to do the same and hearing your story has helped to inspire me.
Please may I ask, how many calories did you limit yourself to each day?

Bean said...

Myfitnesspal has me on 1200 calories a day for weight loss of 2lbs/week. Myfitnesspal also provides information so you can make sure you are eating a proper ratio of carbs to fat to protein. About 50% carb, 30% fat, 20% protein.


VickyF said...

I love Myfitnesspal. Keeps me on track.
Good job!!

Pen Wilcock said...

Bean, you have done so, so well! I admire your self-discipline. You were always beautiful, but I'm sure you feel much better in yourself now. Well done! xx