Okay, enough people have asked that I’ll go ahead and say it. Yes, I’ve lost weight – about 10 pounds in 2 months, and 20 in two years.
(That sounds really impressive until I tell you I weighed 5 pounds less than this 4 years ago! I was in a stressful job where I sat a lot and then went home and ate a lot of ice cream and drank a lot of wine. Not the healthiest time in my life!)
I have to say, I honestly don’t believe in watching every pound. Obsessing about weight usually leads to more self-reproach than benefit. Everyone knows about the yo-yo effect of dieting, and yet diet fads (usually horribly misguided ones) persist.
It’s almost a cliche, isn’t it?
A healthy lifestyle – including stress management, good sleep, diet and exercise – will naturally result in a healthy body weight. It might not make you look like a supermodel, but you know that’s not a healthy weight anyway, right?
I was aware I was carrying around extra pounds I didn’t need to be, though – mostly from emotional eating and overly processed foods.
I haven’t really changed anything radical. I do think Livestrong.com’s nutrition tracker has been very helpful, but more than anything, I think my recent weight loss is the result of persistence and consistency. I try to eat mindfully and make smart choices about the food I allow into my body, as well as about the food production practices I’m willing to support. I’m not perfect, but I am certain diligent effort will overcome brief lapses in the long-term.
I’ve been exercising regularly, of course, as I have been for five years since I joined Gold’s (how time flies!). (I did exercise before that – yoga, rock climbing, walking, some light home training – but fitness didn’t become such a part of my identity until I got involved with group fitness.) I increased my “training” time about six months ago, and have been pretty good about sticking to the weekly plan, though my schedule sometimes must be adjusted to the demands of daily life.
I have also eaten a vegetarian diet for three years this month, which is a natural, easy way to eat healthy. I eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This year my big change has been to minimize the amount of processed food I eat.
Processed sugar is my weakest area, especially in my day job(s) as a nanny. It’s so easy to reach for the sweets kept around for the kids. (Did you know Pop Tarts makes cookies now? They call them “crisps” and put them in 100-calorie packs, but still.) I’m getting better about not mindlessly reaching for this stuff, though, and I am committed to not bringing it home from the grocery store.
Another influence was Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet, which has been a great help in teaching me how to finally stop eating emotionally. I know now that I can always turn my attention to a productive task when I have a craving. (If I’m actually hungry, of course, I’ll just eat!) The craving usually passes within ten minutes.
My eating habits have changed enough over the years that when I go grocery shopping now, I am astounded by the aisles, which are absolutely packed with addictive, sugary food. I feel like I can’t go five feet without being tempted by something that offers the quick fix comfort food.
Now that I know how your body reacts, I know comfort food isn’t really comforting. This kind of food and its blood-sugar spike is always followed by a blood-sugar crash, which just makes you want to eat more. All of my worst binges (I’m looking at you, Nutty Bars!) have certainly started this way.
Conclusion (kind of)
So, that’s my story, but it’s not the end. I also don’t expect it’s the last time I’ll put on stress-related weight in a matter of months and take four times as long to take it off! Slow and steady wins the race, after all…. I just thought I’d share some things that have helped me along the way, for the curious!