Monday, March 24, 2014

The Fat Fatwa: Five Things I've Learned About Weight Loss

 First let me get this out of the way. I have news.

I have lost 14.4 pounds so far!

Ladies and gents, this is amazing. The last time I was on Weight Watchers I believe that it took longer to get to this point, and I had a gym membership then. This is weight loss despite realizing early on that I needed to lose some weight *first* before attempting to rapidly ramp up exercise.

Since I started this mission back in January, I didn't know how far I would come and how fast. I just figured it would take as long as it took this time and I told myself I would press on and continue even if it didn't seem like it was working sometimes, and even if I felt miserable sometimes it had to be better than the state of health I was in at the start.

This means I reached my first default weight loss goal set by the Weight Watchers software. Woohoo!!

So what have I learned so far?

  1. Don't fall off the bandwagon when things got tough. I seem to recall other times when I was trying to do this without the benefit of Weight Watchers, that I would spiral out of control. I ate more than I intended, and would kind of go "Oh, my diet's shot for the day anyway" and just pile on. And want to quit soon after.Not so, now. Have I had a couple of unexpected setbacks on certain days? Yes. But that didn't mean throwing in the towel. And I didn't quit when personal problems and depression and all sorts of things happened to shake my emotions and my psyche. I nursed myself back, but I didn't stop doing the Weight Watchers program. I did have some comforting things, but tried to treat my body as part of the whole unit undergoing stress and feed it nourishing things not just comforting things. And I am constantly in the process of learning to not be so hard on myself if I struggle one day.  It's just one day. The great thing about life is being afforded a new start every 24 hours.
  2. This is YOUR journey.  It is very helpful to start to get into the mindset of this being YOUR journey and so therefore it doesn't have to be at a rate or pace of anyone else. I believe that when you own it, and realize that it is going to be super difficult and don't let any weight loss program or any advertising convince you that it's not. You may not even have some grand epiphany like they do in the commercials. And your friends and family may have swifter weight loss success than you do. That's okay.  They are not you. Your body is yours and your relationship is very individual. Embrace being you. I have heard many weight loss experts extol the virtues of buddying up for exercise and weight loss. But I don't believe this is for everyone. If you are the type of person that wants to compete with someone else toward goals, I applaud you for your efforts. But that isn't for everyone. The friends I have that have been most supportive have been the ones that have been saying, "I have these struggles too." Where we share articles and talk about things together. For me, a support group of people that I know that have known me for years is much more therapeutic than a meetup say at a Weight Watchers meeting with total strangers. And I don't have to pay a weekly fee to have a total stranger judge my weight loss success or failure.
  3. Listen to your body. I had been listening to my body complain in other ways before the weight loss started. Now, instead of just the usual joint aches, back aches, fatigue, and ill health, I have days where my body tells me "I'm hungry" all day long. Why? Sometimes it's as simple as having too carb-heavy a breakfast, and sometimes I think it's just a matter of my metabolism taking another shift and burning more fuel. Or a whole combination of issues. Whereas in times past I may have drunk a glass of water and told myself the hunger was only in my mind, and "no pain, no gain," this time around I have learned it's better to satisfy hunger, just do so sensibly. I will feel like crap all day or all night if I don't take care of it. I have a wide array of healthful snacks and snack bars that provide me more balanced energy. I will have a very fitful night's sleep if I don't take care of the hunger, so if that means I go over and deep into my WW weekly bonus points allotment, then so be it. I am much more likely to be on track and feeling better the next day if I don't go to bed feeling like I am ready to eat my pillow.
  4. Try something new. I have realized that the key to giving up some things that are less good for you and moderating your diet requires trying some new things.  On my periodic pilgrimage to Trader Joe's I like to pick something out that I haven't tried before. So far I have managed to put into my repertoire a delicious rice medley, a Provençale cod dish with Ratatouille Rice, and Kiwi Berries (also known as baby kiwis). I also tried kumquats and discovered they are disgusting.  But the point is to add some things that really spice up your life. 
  5. Learn how to celebrate. I think we all celebrate in the language of food. I don't think that's entirely a bad thing, depending on the food. But I also know how to celebrate victories with non-food or food items. So celebrating with a whipped cream topped drink may be out, but a yogurt or a square of chocolate is fine. Or treating ones self to a new book.  Or a manicure. Or a nap. But celebrating the small victories is crucial. Realize even .2 of a pound is still a victory.
Know, my dear reader, we are in this together. And I thank you to those of you who continue to encourage me along the way, and who share conversations and articles that can help each other and your contributions to my life are such a blessing!

Keep on my fellow soldiers! Keep on!

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