As I was leaving the gym last Thursday night I realized that I belong there. For so long the thought of going to the gym was more than I could deal with, so I didn’t. We had a family membership at the local rec center for close to 2 years before I ever stepped foot in there. I went once did 30 minutes on the treadmill, left and never went back.
A month ago I decided I needed to add strength training to my workouts. It was time to add to the walking I was doing for exercise. I was having knee pain when I tried to run so I knew I couldn’t do that quite yet. I decided it was time to venture out to a gym again. I also decided I was going to give working out with a personal trainer another chance, someday I will have to write about why that was a big hurdle for me to overcome. I am very glad I did.
My trainer, Michelle is awesome at kicking my butt. For my part, I will not allow myself to complain or whine about doing anything she makes me do during a workout. I give everything I have to finish a set even when I start to feel like it is not possible. I just dig deep and keep going.
The workout we did last Thursday was hard. She wanted me to keep going until I couldn’t do any more reps. I have programmed myself to keep going until she tells me to stop, so it was hard for me to stop on my own. By the time we got to the end and she wanted me to try to do a plank, something I have never been able to do in the past I did not want to fail.
She showed me how to modify the move and told me to try. I visualized myself doing it and not immediately falling down. And you know what? I did it, not for long, but I did it.
The past week has been full of reflection of my efforts at losing weight and getting fit since I hit my highest weight last August. I had a good start last year but stumbled. As I look at then and now I see a lot of differences in where my head is at now versus a year ago.
It was one year ago this month when I thought I really had had enough. It was the week I started on the Dr. Oz 14-day Diet, which I followed diligently for 2 1/2 months and lost 25 pounds by the end of October. I felt good but when life started to get in the way it became harder to follow and my commitment waned. Little by little I got off track and by the holiday’s hit the program had been abandoned. I managed to keep off 20 of it through the end of the year.
I wasn’t exercising regularly during that time. I was still recovering from foot surgery and the only exercise I was getting was at physical therapy. I was okayed only to ride the stationary bike or swim, which did not appeal to me at all. I wanted to walk, and I did not want to get up early.
When I was okayed to walk again, I never pushed that hard when I did actually get out the door. I would walk 1.5 miles in about 35 minutes, and never tried to get any faster.
As the new year started I had lots of starts and stops of getting back on track, but I couldn’t make anything stick. By the time June 2012 rolled around and I rejoined Weight Watchers I had gained back 15.5 pounds of the 25 I had lost.
Since joining Weight Watchers in June staying on plan has really become just part of what I do. Making better choices just happens now. I don’t eat anything without tracking it, and usually I have most of what I am going to eat in a day planned ahead of time.
Most of my meals every day are filled with fruit, vegetables, good proteins, and whole grain. I avoid a lot of simple carbs because they are high in points and not as filling.
But, I don’t eat “perfectly healthy” every day or every meal. I drink alcohol and eat ice cream on most days. Those are the things I choose to have. I enjoy them, every bite, every sip.
I bring my lunch. I eat take out less often. I don’t randomly eat the food that may sit outside of my office some days. I pass on the bagels someone brought in because it’s Friday. I skip the birthday cake from Costco. It’s not that I can’t have any of these things, I just can’t have all of them and lose weight. Usually now I really don’t want them. In the past I would mindlessly grab them, because they were there.
I no longer eat high calorie (point) foods without really thinking about whether I really want them. That is really all it is. I stop and think, before I grab and eat. Being mindful of what I put in my mouth helps me make better food choices.
When I go out to a restaurant, I look at the menu before I go. I have changed the restaurant we are going to before because it just isn’t worth the effort to make a good choice there. I find plenty of delicious things to eat at restaurants that allow me to stay on plan.
Exercise is no longer a matter of “if I have time”, it is part of my day almost every day of the week. I don’t look for excuses not to go, I look for ways to get it done. There were a few days I didn’t plan my day well enough and missed working out; I was disappointed in my poor planning and made sure it didn’t happen again the next day.
The other thing about exercising now is I don’t just go through the motions. I use everything I have and push as hard as I can during whatever amount of time I have that day.
I have a busy life, just like most people that work full time and have little kids. All of these things didn’t happen overnight. It really didn’t take that long to make these changes. I made little changes everyday and stuck to them. And I continue to do that everyday.
I made planning and tracking my food a priority.
I made time for exercise non-negotiable.
I invested money into joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer. It wasn’t money I had sitting around, I made a choice to invest in my health rather than buying scrapbooking supplies, eating dinners out or decorating my house. All things the money probably would have been used for in the past. In the long run it will be cheaper than doctors visits and medications for obesity related health issues and diseases.
I have found every reason and excuse in my past to not make this happen. I was always too busy with work, kids, life. If I can do it anyone can. I’m just saying we all make choices of how we use our time and how we schedule our lives. If you want to find the time you will. Sometimes we aren’t ready. I believe I am ready now.
The biggest difference now is my mental approach to getting healthy. I now really believe that I can lose weight. I believe that I can become athletic. I have already seen a change in my strength and endurance in just a couple of months.
I want to run a 5K, do a triathlon, hike some local trails, and lots of other things that I never dreamed of doing before. I can see myself achieving these things, and when I am pushing through something hard at the gym I picture myself crossing a finish line with that rectangle number on my chest.
I know I can do it. I know I will do it.
And so can you.