In the past week I've had two girlfriends send me e-mails asking for my advice on food and weight loss. With one I ended up going to lunch and I shared with her the kind of things my family and I are eating. I told her the best piece of advice I could give her was to start counting calories (not for everyone I know, but I think it will help this specific person). She got started yesterday and I can see the excitement in her eyes about starting this journey full of hope. I wish her the best of luck and hope I can support her in any way I can.
My other friend sent me an e-mail last night asking for my help. She has been struggling with motivation. She asked if there was a special moment that clicked for me. As I've written here on my blog, my success has been a series of many small ah-ha moments that have built on one another. I ended up writing my friend back with the thoughts that came to my mind at the time. I'd like to share them with you (slightly edited):
Let me try and answer some of your specific questions. I took a lot of little steps that built on one another. I was motivated by my friend Liz who had lost weight on weight watchers so that was the first thing I did. From weight watchers I learned how to eat properly. My biggest issues were portion size and thinking that certain foods were "bad" and that I was bad for eating them. So I lost about 25 pounds in the first six months. It came off pretty quick because I had been eating so horribly before I got started.
Then I maintained that loss for a few months and decided I wanted to try to start exercising. I started Zumba in September and lost eight more pounds by November. I lost quite a bit in my face and waist.
From November until July I just kept losing and gaining the same five pounds all while I was going to Zumba two or three times a month. I was getting discouraged and felt like I just couldn't lose weight. I was eating better than I had been and exercising more than I had in my life but the scale wasn't going down. That's why I started my blog in June - it has really motivated me to kick this weight loss thing to the next level.
In mid-July I started tracking my Weight Watchers points again. Religiously. Then the weight started coming off. I've lost 10 pounds in seven weeks. Now that I'm committed to tracking, it's easy. I've got all the components I need to do what I need to do - I'm tracking, measuring and exercising. I know exactly what is happening to my body and I'm in control. It's a great feeling to be in control. To not be confused by the scale. To know that I will lose every week because I know I'm doing it!
So my biggest advice to you is to either count calories or track weight watcher points. I think both are equally as effective. You have to make the commitment that you're going to do it and then the choices will come easy to you. I can give you some examples of what I'm eating if you're interested. I'm not eating rabbit food, I'm eating what I want, when I want it - I just have to plan it accordingly.
People are really noticing my weight loss now and it's awesome. I'm buying new clothes that are showing off what I've been working so hard on. You're not the only one that's asked me what's working for me - so many people are where you and I have been - they just need that little push to get started. I think if you start writing down what you're eating you will see the results you want. Go to http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/ and type in your info and it will tell you how many calories you should be eating to lose weight.
I'm happy to help in anyway I can. It's still weird for me when people ask me for advice on this stuff because I was so heavy for so long - it's a big adjustment to make.
The friend that I went to lunch with was telling me that she can tell that "I have it" and I do. I'm so motivated and in control that it's just not possible for me to mess up. I'm not going to go over my points. It's just not going to happen. I know this sounds cocky, but it's true. It's where I am right now. It took me nearly two years to finally get here, but I'm here.
And I feel for my friends. I was where they are for so long. So many times I had told myself "I'm going to do it this time." The difference was I wasn't confident all those other times. I wasn't really sure I could do it. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of succeeding. I was so very afraid.
Now "I have it." I've gone through this bumpy journey and things are different now. I'm not on a diet. That has been important to me from day one. This is not temporary. I needed to do something that I could do for rest of my life. Staying within a daily caloric value and doing Zumba are things that I'm comfortable with for the long haul. I know myself and I know that I will have to track every day to see the results I want. Every day people. I won't eat anything without knowing what the weight watcher point value is - this is that important to me.
Another thing is, this wellness thing takes up a lot of my time. Between tracking and exercising and blogging and reading blogs, my brain is on wellness all day. There's no time off. There are no vacations. I've committed myself fully. That's what it takes.
One of my friends and I were talking. She and her sister-in-law have been working out together and her SIL is seeing success (I think she reads my blog - hi sister-in-law :). So my friend updates me on how they're doing and her successes and a lot of times we'll talk about my transformation. My friend said something to me that no one else has - I'm paraphrasing here but she said she can see a difference in my personality. She said I have more confidence, that I'm more outgoing, happier, that it just shines out of me. She's right.
I notice that strangers look at me more than they used to. I wondered if it was because of my slimmer appearance, but honestly I think it's because I have my head up. I'm walking with more confidence. I'm looking strangers in the eye with a smile on my face.
Like I said in reply to my friend's e-mail - It's still weird for me when people ask me for advice on this stuff because I was so heavy for so long - it's a big adjustment to make. But I do want to help you if I can. Do you have a question? A comment? Do you "have it?" Let me know in the comments below.