I lost a significant amount of weight in 2004-05, but as so often happens I gained back much (actually, most) of it. People who have not had a weight problem do not understand this. “You worked so hard, how could you gain it back?” Back in 2005 when I reached my goal weight, I simply got lazy. I had not done a radical program, nor had I gone gym-crazy. I actually followed Weight Watchers, ate sensibly and exercised. But all the things I did to get to goal, I gradually quit doing once I got there. So what happened? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. I gradually gained. I had some life issues between then and now, but that really can’t be an excuse. We have to figure out how to handle life’s problems in way other than food.
Fast-forward to October 17, 2009. I was very unhappy with myself and where I had let myself end up again. The unhappiness was affecting my relationships as well. Dave and I were at a Renaissance Festival that day, and it all just kind of hit me. I cried and apologized to him (although he never said a negative thing to me) and made the decision right then to start back on Weight Watchers the following Monday. Dave was and is so supportive of me. On October 19, 2009, I got myself to a WW meeting and was humbled by the scale. I had no idea until then of how much I weighed. I started calculating and counting POINTS again.
Then I knew I had to turn my attention to working out. I had become pretty fit before. My first workout was humiliating. I couldn’t get through it without stopping to catch my breath. The same DVDs I had done a couple of years ago, I couldn’t begin to do now. However, I kept doing them and just did the best I could.
When I lost before on WW, I didn’t really concentrate on what I was eating, instead focusing on the POINTS. Well, let me tell you that a calorie is not just a calorie. Our bodies need quality fuel, not processed garbage. This time around, I decided to focus on whole, non-processed foods as much as possible. It is amazing the difference in how you feel when you eat properly. I do stray from “clean” eating from time to time, but I do so in moderation. For me, this keeps the deprivation mentality at bay. I know I can have some of my favorite things, just not vast quantities and not every day. I would set myself up for failure and bingeing otherwise. After all, this has to be a new life, not a temporary change in eating habits.
I decided to switch from WW to SparkPeople in January 2010 for tracking my food and exercise. Meetings were difficult with my schedule, and since SP is free, I decided to give it a try. I discovered a great online community there with tons of support, motivation and information. That is one of the best things I’ve done in this journey.
I have been plugging along now for a year. I have had ups and downs. But I have always had support, and I have always stuck to it no matter what. On September 22, 2010, I met my goal weight. This equaled 86.6 pounds GONE! I like to “gone” instead of “lost,” because I never intend to find those pounds again. My fitness level is amazingly improved. My blood pressure and cholesterol are stellar. I feel fantastic.
Now, the secret to my success… It is so simple, yet so elusive for some people. The secret is consistency. You know what to do, you just have to keep doing it every single day. Not just when you “feel” like it. Not just when you want to. Not just when it’s convenient. You do it every single day. And if…um, make that when…, you screw up, you move forward immediately to get right back on track. Don’t let a meal or a day or an event turn into a return to those bad habits. With consistency, you learn new, healthy habits that will serve you for a lifetime.
I would be lying if I told you that I am 100% sure I will happily maintain my healthy weight. In fact, it scares me to death sometimes that I won’t. Dave worries that I obsess about it. But I know that I have a great support system in place between him, my family and the SP community. I just have to keep in tune with those support systems by checking in daily. I need help to be accountable. If... uh, when... I fall off, I have to consistently get back up and get it done.
Today is October 19, 2010, one short year since I started this journey. I’m a year older, but feel 10 years younger. I’m about 90 pounds lighter, much more fit and am looking forward to celebrating every October 19th as a healthy, fit person.