Finding What Works For You
The first few days of my weight loss journey were totally based on willpower and enthusiasm. It was easy to avoid unhealthy foods, and easy to exercise because I was excited about starting!
But of course, a few days into it, I was hungry, worn out from exercising, and wondering what the heck I’d gotten myself into. I was determined though, so I managed a good few weeks of willpower before I found the cravings and laziness slowly creeping back in.
I succumbed a few times to the cravings. One night in particular, I downed an entire box of Oreo cookies. The whole time I kept telling myself “Whatever!… I’m hungry!…I just want to eat what I want!!!”
The next day, I wrote down what I ate, how many calories it was, forgave myself and got right back on track. I didn’t even bother trying to exercise it off, or make up the calories. I just started the day as if the night before never happened.
But I realized I needed something more than willpower to get through the days. I came to the conclusion that I love to eat – a LOT of food at a time, and I like it to take a long time. So what I did was find foods that I could eat in large quantities, that took a long time and that didn’t go over my calorie allotment. For the most part, these foods were fruits and vegetables. I would load my plates with steamed vegetables, and then a little amount of the supper I made for the family. My plate was so full that I never felt deprived. For snack, I would pop some light popcorn. An ENTIRE bag of light buttered microwave popcorn only has about 200 calories and can take forever to eat. This was, and still is, a favorite of mine.
I also realized I like to eat in front of the TV at night. So instead of depriving myself of that, I saved a few hundred calories for a late night munchie. I looked forward to these times, and knew I didn’t have to feel guilty because it was built into my calories for the day.
I used to allow myself a splurge day on the weekend, and would totally eat anything and everything I wanted. I did that for a long time, before I finally got worn out feeling like I had to make up for it on Monday. I decided I was much happier when I stayed within my caloric range over the weekend too, with maybe one meal, or one snack as a splurge, instead of the whole day. Mondays didn’t seem so hard then.
As I continued my journey, I began making better choices when I went out to eat. I gravitated towards restaurants that had the calorie count on the menu, or had a menu online that I could look at before going. I was realizing that I enjoyed my meal so much more when I knew they were good choices and not sabotaging my goal.
My cravings for foods began to change. I no longer craved a Big Mac and fries. Instead, anything with grease in it tasted too, well, greasy. I hungered for fresh foods, chicken, salads, vegetables.
I began to LOVE exercising. Springtime came around about a month after I started my weight loss, so I began waking up early in the morning to get my walk in before the kids woke up. It was so peaceful watching the sun rise, and being totally alone with my thoughts, and I loved the feeling I had when I walked into the house a little sweaty, a little out of breath, and very alive! As walking became too easy, I began running parts of it. Soon, I was in competition with myself to run the whole thing! What an awesome feeling that was!
And the numbers on the scale dropped weekly, keeping me motivated to keep going. Throughout my whole weight loss journey, I weighed myself every day. I tried not to be too upset with the numbers, and I think I did a pretty good job of that. I used the numbers to just keep me in check. After I reached my goal weight, however, I became obsessed with the scale. I was so afraid the numbers would go back up once I increased my calories to maintain my weight. I had worked so hard to get where I was that I absolutely did not want the weight to go back on! I have to admit, it took me a long time to get over that. A LONG time. In fact, it was probably only a few years ago, that I completely quit weighing myself. I finally trusted that I was eating right, and exercising enough, and my weight had not changed for many years, so it was OK to not weigh myself. I’ll tell you, that was the biggest relief for me.
I still keep track of how much I eat in the back of my mind. I know if I go over a little one day, that it’s no big deal. I don’t try to make up for it necessarily, but I try not to go over too many days in a row. I still enjoy healthy foods, but I still love to eat in front of the TV at night, so I save enough calories to have a bowl of ice cream with my favorite shows. My lifestyle has changed tremendously. If you had told me 13 years ago, I would be totally fit and health conscious, I never would have believed you.
Any of you can have the same success, if you figure out what works for you. Reading about my journey, and following others on the same journey will give you plenty of motivation, and help you realize that there’s more than one way to reach your goal! 🙂