One year ago I set out to lose 10lbs. I set a reasonable goal of trying to do this in 10 weeks- 1 lb. a week. By the end of 8 weeks I had lost 10 and then, continuing the healthy habits I had been practicing, I lost another five! Over the next three months I lost another five simply by maintaining the habits I had begun initially to lose weight. Thankfully this hasn’t been a quick-fix plan to shed some junk in my trunk, but a lifestyle of honoring God, my health and the one body I’ve been given in this lifetime to enable me to work, play and care for others.
Maybe you’re trying to lose weight this year- maybe you’ve been trying for awhile. When I began to intentionally try to care for my body better I wondered “once I hit my goal weight what happens next? Well, one year later here are a five things I’ve learned that have helped me stay within 3-5 pounds of my target weight.
- I can apply my love of learning and variety to eating and food. When I began to try and eat 5 fruits/veggies a day, I suddenly needed to find more ways to keep it interesting so I would continue to enjoy eating healthy. Rather than seeing cooking as a necessary evil, I began to see it as a place to learn, experiment and enjoy the diversity of food that God has given us.
- All or nothing thinking is of the devil. I’m not kidding. When I begin to think “I’ve failed at eating well!” when I help myself to a second cupcake and then continue to eat that way, this sets me up for failure. Balance has been key. If I make choices to eat foods that are more rich in fat and calories one day, I try to exercise a little more the next day or to eat foods that are low-calorie/high fiber/low fat i.e. fruits and veggies the next day. Food isn’t bad or good. Some food have more calories and fewer nutrients. I would go crazy if I never ate McDonald’s fries for the rest of my life. It’s been amazing to see that when I try and apply a more balanced view to eating and exercise, it positively impacts the way I view other areas of my life.
- Weight, just like money is not static. A bank balance goes up and down. There are times of the year that I have extra cash and less cash. I don’t let my bank account define my worth, so why should I let my weight? I’ve found that staying in a range rather than a specific number has been helpful and knowing what a healthy range is for my frame. I’ve tried to stay within 3-5 pounds of the mid-range of what a healthy weight should be for a person of my size. Even knowing what this range has been is really helpful. It can be tempting to think I need to keep losing weight to be in the lower range, but I’d rather stay in the middle than make myself miserable by obsessing about eating and exercising.
- Small choices make a big impact. 20 minutes of exercise, the choice to eat an apple instead of a handful of chips, or being strategic about when I splurge has helped me to develop an integrated way of thinking about eating. Every choice that I make impacts my long-term health; whether I’ll be more prone to heart disease, adult diabetes, osteoporosis and all kinds of other ailments that can be impacted by weight and exercise. Plus, I’ve found that when I do take even that small amount of time to exercise, it helps me to think more clearly, sleep better and have a more positive outlook. Especially in these dreary winter months, I need exercise to help me stay positive!
- I take my measurements once a week. Scales can be deceptive depending on time of day, how much water I’ve drank, etc. Apparently this is one of the things they do at Weight Watchers to help people measure progress. I’ve found that when I take my measurements it helps me not to freak out if the scale says I’ve gained weight. Plus, it helps me to know my measurements when I’m ordering clothes online. As Shakira says “my hips don’t lie” even if the scale does 🙂
It has felt so nice to be comfortable in my own skin- to not have my clothes feel too tight or too baggy, to not be winded going up and down the stairs or chasing my son, and to look in the mirror and say “dang! I look good today!” as opposed to “dang! I’d look great if I lost 5 pounds!” I really do believe that part of the learning process has been learning to view my body as God does- I’m treasured, valued and created to enjoy life! In the long run, feeling bad about yourself is a terrible motivator for losing weight and being healthy. Plus, do you really think God wants you to walk around all day berating yourself for what you’re eating or how you’re not exercising?
Since I’ve been able to learn how to integrate healthy eating and regular exercise into my routine my next goal is to focus on toning my body and getting stronger. I’ve loved doing yoga, the way it makes me feel and look. BTW- the 12 days of yoga challenge I did last month….I ended up doing 7/12 days. Which, as the month got progressively more crazy I realized that I probably even wouldn’t have done that much yoga if I hadn’t set a goal of trying to do 12 sessions during December. Some exercise is always better than none!
What are your goals for the next few months? What helps you to stay motivated? I’m shooting to do yoga 3x/week and to walk outside twice. My friend Gracee asked for recommendations of swimsuits the other day & I found this one that I just love!