For some people, the moment that they decide to stop the insanity that is their weight gain issues and do something about it – REALLY do something about it – is obvious. For others, like me, it might have been a culmination of moments within a very short time frame that suddenly slaps you upside the head and screams “A-HA!” That moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension. Or all of those.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’ve had plenty of opportunities before now to do something about my weight. There have been plenty of semi- A-Ha moments or those times when just my embarrassment with things that have happened that should have been a big enough kick in the ass to say, “I think now is the time.” But it never lasted. It never stuck and next thing I now, more weight is packed on and more of those “reminder moments” occur, and still I’d go on…till it’s so out of control that here I am now – struggling even more.
And while I know that it could even get further out of hand, I’ve finally found my line in the sand. My “A-Ha!” moment.
For me, those moments looked like this (in no particular order):
- Gaining nearly 20 pounds in a 3-month time period from April to June 2015 for seemingly no reason. I’d changed nothing in my eating habits to have suddenly gained that much weight in such a short time.
- In that same 3-month time period my A1C level shot from 6.6 to 7.4.
- My clothes were suffocating me. For those that know me, I always wear clothes that are way too big for me. It may make me appear unkempt and disheveled but imagine seeing someone my size wearing clothes are that simply not loose enough. But more so that I feel so restricted in tighter fitting clothes that it makes my skin crawl to feel them on me like that. If you ask Dr. S she’ll tell you how often I’ve sat on her couch and yanked at my clothes that while looser fitting, weren’t loose enough for me. So now imagine that my normally too-loose fitting clothes were now feeling tighter.
- I was less flexible. Despite my size, I’m actually a pretty flexible girl. But it’s noticeable even with that extra 20 pounds when it comes time to put on my shoes or bend down to pick something up. I’m not Gumby, however, as I tell my doctor when she wants to do the annual physical that involves invasion of a woman’s private area with an instrument that resembles a duck. Quack!
- I was more easily winded. Now this currently isn’t saying a lot because I get winded quite easily. The walkway from my door up to the street, then up the street to the driveway where my car is doesn’t look very strenuous to most and it probably isn’t. But to someone my size – it’s a bit of a workout. So I get to my car and I’m breathing pretty deeply. Worse is when I’m dragging a twenty to thirty pound garbage can behind me to put to the curb at the end of said driveway. So I was noticing more of those heavy breathing moments – and not in a good way.
- The idea of meeting someone for the first time that has come to mean a lot to me and having him “see the real me” really bothered me. I didn’t fear that he would be unkind or anything like that but more so from inside my own hamster head that I would be embarrassed to have him see me and know that I’d let myself go. That I didn’t care enough to do anything and didn’t take care of myself.
- And lastly when I broke a part in my new car – for the SECOND time in 6 months. ……………
So all of things contributed to my “A-Ha!” moment. Regardless of which is more important or how they all came about, that was enough for me to finally say “enough is enough”.
Now honestly, after all that it might have just came down to my mind deciding it was the right time and the above reasons really had nothing to do with convincing me it’s time. After all, I’ve had plenty of things happen before now that should have told me it’s time too and it never worked. I’ve asked others who have been successful how they knew it was the time that they could do it. Really do it. And no one had a definitive answer for me. They just said they just knew.
So I wish I could offer some great inspirational words of wisdom to anyone else going through this and needs help to get started on their own journey but I don’t really have any fool-proof method. Only you can tell when you’re really read to make the change. To make the commitment to save your life if you’re as far into this unhealthy lifestyle and weight as I am.
Make small changes. Baby steps. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change too much too soon. I’m still on the baby steps myself so it’s all very new to me – I’m just mentally more ready this time around and I think that’s actually the key to all of it. But I can promise you this…if you need my help, ask me. I will do anything I can to help you with your journey, even while I struggle through my own – because it will give me strength to keep going but also because I want YOU to succeed as well. And it’s always easier to get through things if you do it with others.
This is why I’ve been able to last even this little bit of time so far with the same “Yay me” attitude because of all of the love and support I’ve received. It really does make all the difference in the world.
So maybe start with one of the following, then gradually adding or reducing more and more until it’s routine for you:
- Cut out all soda pop even diet. There have been a lot of studies lately that show that the faux sugar in diet soda pop can be just as harmful as those with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. I am trying to lean towards eating more naturally and less additive-induced foods, which is hard given my pallet, but I’m now more conscious of what to look for in food labels.
- If you’re like me and you have feet issues and aren’t able to walk very far, try a stationary bike, or even increase your steps by only 50 or 100 more a day. Get a pedometer to show you any progress you make – seeing adds to the mindset of success. I have a FitBit. I currently have it set to 3600 steps a day and while I don’t do it every day, I do it usually at least once a week and then next week I try a little harder to do it twice, and so on.
- Drink lots of water. This is something you hear all the time and there are now publications out that drinking a lot isn’t good for you. I, for one, don’t believe that given most of our body is made up of water and it’s easy enough to lose it and should be replenished. It also flushes out the toxins in your body, makes you feel fuller so you eat less and generally is better for you than anything with sugar or a faux sugar (soda pop but also be careful of something with natural sugars such as fruit juices). Not a water drinker, put a little lemon in it – this is even better for flushing out the toxins. I don’t drink coffee and tea (which is just as well at least for the coffee part – black tea or green tea is good for you) but usually in the morning I’ll fill my travel mug with hot water and lemon juice.
- If it helps you, keep a food diary. This helps you see how much food you are eating and help you figure out where to cut down. There are a few good free food diary tracking sites but I recommend Spartkpeople.com or if you have a fitbit, through that program.
- Try to get off the couch once in a while, even if it means you do so at every commercial and walk around the living room a few times. If you can’t or don’t wish to join a gym, there is plenty you can do besides walking (or if you have a stationary bike). I have those big elastic stretch bands. They can be used even when sitting to stretch your arms and legs and build some muscle. Swimming is the easiest on the body’s joints so if you have that option, I recommend it as well.
- Invest in a crockpot. One of the things I dislike the most is cooking for just myself, especially after a long day at work. By preparing a meal in advance and leaving it to cool while you’re at work, it’s so nice to have it ready when you get home. I have searched for many recipes and have tried several, so I think this is a great way to start. Some recipe ideas can be found at Yummly.com or BettyCrocker.com. Be sure to read the nutritional value of each recipe and the portion size to ensure you’re not eating more calories, fat and carbs than you expect to.
- Lastly (for now), try to ensure that you eat three meals a day. Don’t skip and if you can, cut back on the bad-for-you stuff and eat more good-for-you stuff. Even if that means for the first little while you try to eat at least one veggie a day, then gradually increase it.
Again, while this is still new to me and I’m still new on the journey myself, I will continue to share my thoughts and ideas on things that can help those of you who need it.
Wishing you blessings, peace and love. Thank you!