The question I have been/am constantly asked is this: "What did you and Brandon do to lose so much weight?" Well, the pathway to weight loss is pretty hard. I'm sure many of you have tried to lose weight at one point in your life. Am I right, dear reader? Whether you succeeded or failed, you know what it takes. And it takes a lot. Oh, does it take a lot. A lot of what, you might ask? Well, it takes a lot of everything, really. Here are a few examples of things I needed to have to get myself going. Perhaps you might need them, too...?
First: The Desire.
Oh, sure, you may constantly say to your friends "Man, I need to lose 20 pounds!" or joke around with your family about your increasing size and appetite. I know, because I joked about it. I complained about it. I tried to pretend that being fat didn't bother me. Plenty of happy people are fat! So, I was happy, dang it! At least that's what I told myself. Over and over and over as I ate that entire pan of brownies. Yeah, I dreamed about being thin again. I dreamed about having energy and confidence. But I didn't truly have the desire. What became the difference? There were several reasons. One was that I hit my peak --I was bigger/fatter than I had been while pregnant. Bigger than my biggest while pregnant. How could I weigh more than I ever had in my life? What did I do wrong? The answer, dear reader (one of them, anyway), was that I didn't have the desire. I didn't have the desire to change my life and fix the problem. I was so focused on how much I hated my body --so focused, that I couldn't see a way out. So, I did something strange. I invited my Aunt Carrie to come visit me and show me how to dress. She was my "personal shopper" for a week, and we found amazing things! Clothing that fit (even if it was size 18-20) and clothing that flattered. For the first time in years, I felt pretty again. Some would say, "What the? How does that help you to lose weight?" Well, for the first time in 9 years or so, I saw that I had beauty. I was beautiful even while I was "fat". I had to overcome my own insecurities about my looks and my body before I could finally take control. When I finally had that love for me, my desire for weight loss grew and grew.
During this time, Brandon was steadily gaining weight himself. I'll have him do a guest post soon on his own weight loss journey, but for now, just know that he finally hit the same point I had --How in the world did we get so big? What can we do to stop it? The desire had come in a full force --the joking stopped. The complaining stopped. We realized we really needed to do something, or we'd continue on the same path and end up in a place where the desire could fade.
Second: A Partner
I have no self-motivation. Honest. When it comes to doing things on my own just for the sake of doing things on my own, I'm quite pathetic. I love accountability (hmmm...this could be a reason I like the Church) and I have to be accountable to somebody in order to do great things. Like this blog. If you people didn't read my blog and stopped commenting? Well, first I'd bawl my eyes out and be depressed for months, but I would probably slowly stop blogging. I need you, understand? I NEED YOU!!
Without this self-motivation, I tend to fail. That's why it's important for me to have a walking buddy and a running buddy --or a group of women expecting me to exercise. I also need someone helping me through the whole eating process.
About 2 years ago, I joined Weight Watchers with my friend, Jill. She and I were walking/running buddies, and until I got pregnant with #4, I had lost 15 pounds! It was great. But I couldn't have done it without her, because she was my only support. Now, I don't want to harp on Brandon, since he's the best in the west, but he was not very supportive 2 years ago. I had to make 3 separate meals each night (kids, him, me) and he just kind of laughed at me. So, without Jill's support, I would have failed, people. Failed! And technically, I did, although I blame #4 (haha!).
But this time it was different. I had no one to exercise with consistently (although, Camellia, I loved our walks and talks! I truly did!), and no one to do WW with --I was alone. One would think that could motivate me, though, right? Ah, no. You overestimate my abilities, dear reader. I remember the day with clarity when Brandon said: "I think we should join Weight Watchers together."
I signed us up immediately! See, I have no self-motivation, but it doesn't take too much to get me going. I don't fight it, people! I ain't a hater.
So, we started doing the WW program together. We got the passes that let us use the online tools (Brandon's favorite part) and go to the meetings. We started weighing in at different times and on different days, but we were doing the program and watching out for each other.
That's the best part! On days when I am tempted to over-eat, Brandon calls me on it. When Brandon reaches for more of something, I can swat his arm and remind him not to do it. It's so nice having this type of support! OH! That reminds me, too --we've saved loads of money supporting each other. How? Well, we eat less (duh). Plus, when we eat out, we usually share an entree (almost every time). That saves some dough! And some fat. :)
Also, for those thinking about WW (no, they didn't pay me to advertise for them, dang it!), they can be your support system. Those meetings are awesome! The support is just incredible. If you don't believe me, ask Lanette!
Third: Diets Don't Work
It's no surprise that I like Weight Watchers. I've followed the program twice now, and I know it works. My mother followed the program 8 years ago and lost 40 pounds in 4 months, and has kept it off. I have several friends who have been successful with Weight Watchers. So, I like it. But that doesn't mean other programs don't work. Or diets. I mean, how many of you have gone on a diet? And lost weight? For sure, you did! Of course you lost weight! But, what happened when you stopped dieting?
Yeah, that's the problem.
Diets don't work long term. They never have and they never will. To achieve real weight loss it's gotta be more than just changing habits for a few months. You have to change your habits for the rest of your life. If any of you people are like me, you will have to watch what you eat forever. Well, until death. And hopefully that's a long time!
But how do you learn what to do to change your habits? Where do you get the education? There are all kinds of places that explain they know what's best for our bodies. Remember the Atkin's diet? SouthBeach? Liquid? Yeah...not necessarily the best education for your average person trying to lose poundage.
You need it. Starving yourself is silly, because then your body believes it's starving (hey, wait a minute, that sounds too logical), and then it holds onto fat reserves. But what kind of food do you need? Well, just go read this. Most bodies need the following:
- Whole grains. 100% whole wheat pasta and breads. They are the best!
- Fruits and Vegetables and lots of 'em. The more colorful, the better!
- Dairy. My fave is yogurt.
- Lean meats or proteins --beans are fab, and lean chicken rocks.
- Healthy oils --olive is great, but you can use other kinds.
This is just to get you started on thinking about it. I'll actually share with you what I eat most days to give you a better tangible idea. But that will have to be in my next blog post.
[And please know --this is about me. So, if you hate milk, that's fine --but I love it, so I won't apologize for lovin' it. Also, if you're a vegetarian, that's fine, too. I'm lovin' me some vegetarians! But I eat meat, so that'll be a part of my posts. I just don't want any of my posts to get all "you must eat this or die" on me, you know? We cool? Good. I only say this because I know it can be controversial subject, and I don't need that here on my blog. Thanks!]
I hope this helps some of you out there. If you are thinking about losing weight, I really encourage you to do it. I'm hoping to share with you some success stories, soon. Jolene has been working her tail off (literally! Ha!) and has made amazing progress. My friends from the St. George post, A and B (okay, what the heck, her name is Ann, okay? ANN!) lost loads of weight, too. And I already mentioned my mother...I may have to do a success story post!
But now it's your turn to share. Dear readers, if you have lost weight, please share with us how you got started. If you could, please keep the details of exercise and food for the next post, though. Use this one to share your thoughts about how you got to the point where you finally felt the desire to do something about losing the weight. How did you get there? What has/had inspired you to get started?