Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Overweight Never Again – How I Lost 20 Pounds in 2 Months

Like many people, I have a goal of eating healthier.  I want to lose weight but I also want to have more energy, and now that I’m over 40 I also want to reduce some of the signs of aging I’ve been experiencing.  Over the years my weight has gone up and down.  Getting my weight down always takes a significant effort and yet it has a habit of creeping back up if I’m not careful.

I’ve noticed that when I’m in a relationship the weight comes on the fastest.  That’s not surprising since my dates like eating out as much as I do and don’t need to be as careful with calories.  This last swing of the pendulum I had gained 30 pounds in about 18 months.  January 1 I decided it was time to make a change (ok, I was on vacation 1/1 so I didn’t actually start until 1/6).

I knew what I was doing wrong.  I know how to eat well but eating out and drinking wine several times a week have been working against me.  The relationship I was in ended shortly after I returned from vacation so it was the perfect time to make some changes.  Here’s my plan:

  1. I track everything I eat plus my exercise in My Fitness Pal (I love this app!)
  2. I use an accountability partner.  My sister and I report to each other each day how many calories we are under.
  3. I include my friends.  I told them what I was doing and asked that they support me by scheduling active things together instead of eating/drinking.
  4. I eat before I go out (unless I know there’s something healthy on the menu I want) when I go to eating/drinking events (which I do several times a month with different social groups), and I treat myself to a diet soda instead of alcohol (until now I almost never ordered soda out).  When people ask why I’m not drinking I tell them that it’s just for tonight.
  5. I include my kids.  It had been a long time since I’d gotten my kids out on their bikes, even though bike riding is something I love to do.  I’m now looking for fun places they will enjoy riding and have promised to buy them better bikes if they will come riding with me.
  6. I take time for myself.  Now that my kids are older (11 and 13) they can stay home alone for an hour or two.  I joined a gym and although I don’t go often I have found that I really enjoy the 8 am yoga class that’s scheduled on Saturday mornings.  It’s early enough that the kids are still kind of waking up and late enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m getting up for work.
  7. I add exercise whenever I can.  I walk at lunchtime which burns an extra couple hundred calories.  When I take the kids to the park I walk laps around wherever they are playing or play with them (if they’ll let me!).

My goal is to make these changes into habits.  I don’t want my weight to swing back up once I get to my goal.  I’m not on a diet.  I’m making changes to the way I live and I feel like I can stick to it, even as a busy single mom with so many other priorities.

I’ve lost 20 pounds in 2 months so this is definitely working!

Photo by Timothy Lamm on Unsplash

Why I Actually Swallow My Audacious Pride

When I was young I felt like I always needed to be right. I felt like I was a failure if I didn’t know something. My already battered pride couldn’t accept that there were things I just hadn’t learned yet.

I remember one day walking on a paved trail with my mother and sister. I was about the age my children are now. It wasn’t a particularly nice area as it ran next to the highway, but I thought it was fun nonetheless because we’d never been on this path. Each end was marked only by a post in the middle of the concrete to prevent vehicles from entering.

But I didn’t know that’s what this marker was for. When we got to the end of the trail my mother paused to rest. I got impatient and told her we still have a long way to go (whining might be a better description). I said this looking past the post at what I thought was more of the trail, but was actually a road that appeared to go on forever.

My mother corrected me and told me we were at the end and pointed to the marker. I can still recall the feeling from that very moment, my blood running cold. I felt that somehow I should have known this. I felt humiliated and ashamed, even though there was absolutely no reason I should have known that we were at the end of the trail.

So to hide this I told her I knew this was the end, but that we had to walk all the way back. I’m certain she realized I was bluffing but she let it pass.

Growing up, I felt validated by my intelligence and knowledge. I may have been poor, teased and ridiculed but my peers couldn’t deny I was smart. I didn’t work harder than they worked. I just understood things, remembered things. I consistently got straight A’s in school while my Guess-wearing fellow students worked twice as hard and could only get B’s.

To admit I was wrong, or that there was something I didn’t know, would be to reveal a crack in my armor. A weakness that others could exploit.

I carried this mentality with me through most of my life. It wasn’t until my divorce that I was willing to swallow my pride and admit there were things I just didn’t know. In the beginning it was a blow to my already low self-esteem as the things I didn’t know I felt I should.

But just as the little girl walking a trail for the first time wouldn’t know where the end was, a single mother on her own for the first time can’t possibly know all she needs to know.

I couldn’t have known how to find a lawyer – I’d never needed one.
I couldn’t have known how to fix a running toilet – that had never been my job.
I couldn’t have known who to turn to when my air conditioner stopped working – I was new in town.
I couldn’t have known how to handle the lonely days and nights when my kids were with their dad – I had never had to share kids before.
I couldn’t have known what to do when my kids started coming home repeating the things their dad told them – I had never had to leave them alone with their dad so long before.
I couldn’t have known who to ask for help when my ex threatened to take away my kids – I had never envisioned this possibility.

It felt like I was reminded every day of how limited my knowledge was in these areas. I felt beaten up and bruised. But it was because the things I needed to know were so far beyond what I already knew, that I had to learn to swallow my pride. I was forced to admit that there were things I hadn’t encountered yet. I had no choice but to start asking people for help and looking for ways to start teaching myself what I needed to know.

It was because of this that I started on a journey of learning and self-discovery that has awakened in me a desire to constantly grow, take risks and push myself.

It is because of this that I remind my girls that no one knows everything; that it’s okay to be wrong; that pride limits our ability to learn and that learning can open far more doors for you than your pride ever will.

It is because of this that I encourage my children to ask questions and look for answers, instead of simply telling them how smart they already are.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Swallow

The Terrifying Faceless Enemy in the Mirror

A couple months ago I started doing yoga. I had done some yoga poses before as I was trying to strengthen my core to help with my persistent back problems, but I’d never taken an actual class before. Honestly I’ve never been into the whole “focus on your breathing” stuff but I decided to give it a try.

My first class was brutal. An hour is a very long time to spend breathing, bending, stretching, holding and focusing if you’re not used to it.

The instructor would remind us to “focus on our intention.” Yeah, well my intention is to get through this miserable hour and go grab a cheeseburger! Okay, maybe not a cheeseburger…how about a smoothie? Are my toes supposed to be numb? How long is she going to make us stay upside down like this? I can’t feel my fingers…oh wait…yes I can…owwwww!!! How long has it been? We have to be almost done. What? It’s only been 10 minutes? You have to be kidding!!!

On and on my inner dialog went, ranting the whole time. Yoga is supposed to involve quieting the mind but I’m not sure my mind knew that.

But I’ve realized something else in these classes.

I’m honestly happy with myself and my life yet, as I watch myself in the mirror I’m still far too self critical. Do I really look like that? Why are my arms still so flabby? Maybe I shouldn’t wear this tank top. Ugh, look at those thighs!

Then, even worse I start to compare myself to other people in the class. Wow, how can she bend like that? I’ll never get down that far! Seriously? How does she do that? I wish my stomach was flat like hers!

This is not my conscious mind; these are unconscious thoughts brought about by the “quiet” of the yoga class. These thoughts come to me as I try to clear my mind. The conscious version of me would never think these things. I’m awesome. My life is amazing. My kids are unbelievable. My friends are fantastic. Why would I compare myself to someone I don’t even know? I don’t want to be like her; I want to be like me! These are things I know.

And yet, as far as I’ve come in my journey, there is a faceless enemy looking at me in the mirror.

Being aware of this though is a good thing! It means I know what I need to work on. Unwittingly I have been programmed for negative self-talk. It’s egotistical to think too highly of yourself. I’m not worthy of respect. I’m not as important as other people. These, among others, are messages that were conveyed in my childhood.

I was poor, and therefore somehow less valuable as a person than my richer peers. I was “big boned,” and therefore somehow less pretty than the skinny girls. I was shy, and therefore somehow less noticeable than the more outgoing kids. I was always “less than.” I faced these messages every day until they became my story.

But it’s time to rewrite my story. Each time that terrifying faceless monster comes out I will fight. I will fight for the woman I am, and the woman I want to be. I will fight for my girls, and my friends who are fighting their own demons. I will fight, and I will win.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Faceless