Well, today marks one year since we lost 500 pounds (180 for me and 320 for Cliff) according to My Fitness Pal…who will no longer allow me to export my weight loss data without paying them money, so you’ll just have to take my word for it).
Does it count as maintenance even if you haven’t met your goal weight?
Meh, I’m going to go with yes because it just feels much better to say “We’ve lost (and kept off) 500 pounds” rather than “We still have about 100 pounds before we hit our goal.”
Silver lining and all that. 😉
We’ve certainly gained and lost over the past year, but to realize that we’ve kept off 500 pounds for an ENTIRE YEAR was pretty terrific.
And this wasn’t just any year…
This was a TERRIBLE year. Just awful. Really.
- Our fertility specialist put me on thyroid medication (only because my levels were too high for IVF, not high in general).
- On vacation (last August) I got sun poisoning which resulted in TWO rounds of steroids.
- I completed two rounds of physical therapy and several scans on my leg (which turned out NOT to be a torn meniscus as initially thought) that showed a plethora of other pulls and strains and just a touch of bursitis in my hip.
- <insert other random anxiety inducing life events here>
All of these…let’s call them “life lessons”…caused almost constant urges to binge. Upset about bad news? Let’s eat! Happy about good news? Let’s eat!
The medication certainly didn’t help things.
There were weeks where I just watched the scale creep up and up and it seemed like there was nothing I could do about it.
I would love to tell you that I stayed strong 100% of the time.
That I didn’t have a single large fudge-filled Snickers and Oreo Blizzard…or 4.
That I kept my diet full of healthy food and did upper body work while my legs healed.
But that would make me a liar. Well, mostly a liar.
At least it seems as if I managed to make more good decisions than bad ones on some level. I wasn’t able to keep off 190 pounds, but I’ll take 180 any day of the week.
So, here’s the $64,000 question.
HOW did I keep off the weight through it all?
1. Trust the system. It’s working. Even when it seems like it isn’t.
There will always be weeks where you work the hardest you’ve ever worked, then step on the scale fully expecting to have lost 23 pounds (at least!) only to see you gained 2.
After you’ve smashed the scale to bits with whatever hard, inanimate object you can find, take a deep breath and accept that you did all the right things. There are many more changes happening in a healthy body than just the number on a scale or inches on a tape measure.
Plus, your weight fluctuates more than the stock market.
2. Take time for yourself. Single. Day.
Even if it’s just 10 minutes to breathe and reflect. Do it. It helps. Over the course of the past year I’ve learned much more about breathing and meditation than I ever thought possible.
Square breathing. (thanks Erin!)
3. Stay out of restaurants as much as possible.
Most of you are familiar with our many, many restaurant challenges . One thing they have taught me (other than people spend WAY too much money in restaurants) is that they’re a huge binge trigger as well as the start down a slippery slope of bad eating and no exercise.
Not to mention the ridiculous amount of sodium in each meal. Talk about weight fluctuations! (See #1)
Even though it seems like a time saver, it really isn’t when you’re trying to get (or stay) healthy. Take a “healthy” piece of pizza for example:
Try to ignore how much longer it takes women to burn it off than men. I know it’s hard.
Instead of adding that extra 71 minutes into your workout routine in hopes of burning it all off – try skipping the pizza and putting an hour into meal prep. You’re going to be spending the time either way right? May as well front load the convenience and let your future-self (and tummy) thank you for it.
In that same 71 minutes you could:
- Prep a ton of fruit and veggies for the week
- Make a one pot meal (this Cajun Chicken Pasta is amazing!) and split it up for lunch each day
- Make smoothie bags
- Freeze waffles (from box mix! The trick is to toast them rather than use oil/butter for maximum crispiness)
4. Build a support network by reaching out to others (both virtually and in daily interactions).
A friend recently taught me a very valuable lesson.
I am not special.
I know, without context, that sounds really bad, but it was truly an eye-opening conversation that I’m sure will help me for the rest of my life. When I say I am not special, it doesn’t mean that I’m not unique or that I’m not important, it simply means that I am, almost certainly, not the first (or only) person going through hard times.
I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful, loving husband who is a constant inspiration to me. He’s my number one fan and vice versa. I have also built a solid support base through friends and other bloggers and health nuts I’ve met online.
If you don’t have those kinds of people in your life, find them.
There are also two women that have, unknowingly, helped to change my life. Janae at Hungry Runner Girl and Katie with Runs for Cookies. These ladies never shy away from sharing the hard stuff. They remind me that we all stumble, we all cry, and we all go through times in our life that are just downright rude.
But, even more importantly, they remind me that I am the only one with the power to decide how my story ends.
Thank you ladies, from the bottom of my heart.
If you aren’t familiar with their blogs, change that right now.
5. Try something new…but try to keep it health/fitness focused.
This could be a new recipe, a new workout, a new city. Anything your heart desires, as long as it centers on something that is good for your health.
- Pick a new recipe from one of the websites above and make a date night out of it (or have the whole family pitch in).
- Try out a site like Fitness Blender or Yoga with Adriene
- Rent bikes in your hometown and pretend like you’re a tourist (or do the same in a city close by)
- Plan a healthy picnic in a park with lots of trails to explore
- Try Geocaching!
Do whatever it takes to make the event fun as well as healthy. Not only is this great for your waistline but it does amazing things for anxiety levels.
Personally, I’m partial to anything involving a bike ride.
Bonus tip – Give it 5 minutes
The first place I slack when I’m stressed is exercise. “I don’t have time!” “I’m exhausted!” “I’m just too mentally drained!”
While this may all be true, the only way to guarantee that you’ll stay that way is by not even trying to get off your ass.
Promise yourself 5 minutes. Start working out for just 5 minutes. If you want to quit at the end of five minutes, fine; however, I have found that just getting started is the hard part. Staying with it is much easier.