How Did You Do It?

When I went home a couple of weeks ago, I ran into several people that I hadn’t spoken to in years. The first thing they noticed was my weight loss. {It is hard to miss a 70 pound weight difference!} Or, if I am sharing my weight loss experience with someone; I am often asked, “So…How did you do it?” It happens 90% of the time.

<cue the totally awkward perplexed expression>

I always give this awkward look because I know what answer you would like. “Oh, I drank a magic potion and over a month the fat just melted off.” “I began <insert any diet fad here>.” I know the true answer will make you immediately lose interest. “I changed my eating habits and exercised.” It isn’t simply “diet” and exercise either.

I began my weight loss journey over TWO YEARS ago. I remember the exact moment I made up my mind to change. My daughter was two months old, we celebrated the 4th of July, and we went on a beach vacation. During the whole vacation, I was so tired. I could barely keep up on our walks and I felt so miserable. Then, I reflected on all of the pictures. I realized, I was obese. I’m not exactly sure of my weight at that time, the scale was not a friend. However, the OB nurse so gently reminded me that I had another month to go, so 210 pounds was a lot of weight on my 5’2″ frame. I gave birth that week, a month early, and did not change my eating habits at all. I stood on the scale before I left for the beach trip; it read 205#. It could’ve been all the hormones, but I cried…a lot that night. So in all honesty, I could have been 210-ish when I began my weight loss journey. I go with 205 though.

With all of that said, How did I do it?

1.) Determination. I had to change! I didn’t want to be another person in my family with heart disease and diabetes. I didn’t want to give my daughter those horrible eating habits. {I grew up in the South, the rural South, where everything is better fried, with some butter/lard and sugar on it, and over processed. Plus, I grew up eating fast food…hello Taco Bell, Sonic, and McDonalds…and your typical junk food.} Although, I was thin growing up, I wasn’t fit either. Actually, looking back at my college photos, you can see within a few months (April to August) I really began packing on the weight. It was around this time I began having anxiety attacks. The next year, I had a total nervous breakdown, complete with severe depression.

2.) Goals. Setting down some realistic goals with my exercise plan and eating habits. This is a two part answer. First, I had to change my diet. {I will post later more about my specific dietary changes.} I needed to realize that I was not an animal that needed rewarding with food. I was a human that needed fuel from food. If I ate un-nutritional, over-processed foods; my body was not going to run properly. Your body needs whole, minimally processed, and nutrition dense foods. I never drank water…it is in sweet tea, right? Drink water, water, water! Also, the word “diet” shouldn’t refer to the current health fad either. I eat a 60% “clean” {separate post to come}, 80% organic diet. That’s over 100%, you say. Yes, while some things are clean and organic; I eat mostly organic, not necessarily “clean” foods. Secondly, I had to make an exercise goal that I could stick with. It is unrealistic for me to spend 2+ hours in the gym working on my quads. I am lucky to get a hour. So, if I can manage 3 days/week for 1 hour, I’m doing good. Sometimes, my workouts include chasing my child, dancing with her, and using her as a weight. {As of late.}

3.) Reflection. My goals reflect my realistic expectations. I do not want to be a fitness model. I want to be healthy. So, my diet reflects “wiggle room” for desserts and unhealthy foods on occasion. Also, as a SAHM, my exercise plan isn’t that strict. A fitness model or bodybuilder requires a strict diet and hours in the gym. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep such a goal. This leads into my last point.

4) Hard work. Fad diets do not work long term. They can give you some helpful tips, but not to keep up. Plus, those programs are expensive. Also, the “health supplement” vitamins and wraps…complete crap. {It Works, Plexus, etc.} Again, something to spend a lot of money on that is not long term. You only lose the weight if you follow their directions and products. The second you stop, you gain the weight back. I’ve watched so many people work so hard to lose weight and gain it back because they didn’t set realistic goals or relied on fad diets/products.

If you want to lose the weight and be healthy long term, you have to work for it. It isn’t a miracle diet, pill, or drink. It is a life long commitment to healthy eating choices and exercise.

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