Okay, so this post has absolutely nothing to do with writing. I mean, not really. But my tagline for the blog is "Navigating the publishing world with splashes of real life," so I figured I'm covered to talk about real life too. Right? Right. Okay.
So if you're friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen me post this week that I've finally broken through the lost-50-pounds ceiling. And I have! I'm super-stoked about, and it is so motivating to see the numbers coming down on the scale.
But a lot of people are asking, "How?" or "What's the secret?"
I wrote a post on losing a while back, but I thought I'd expound a little bit.
First of all, there is no secret. I'm not taking a pill, or following a diet, or ordering foods from a company. I meal plan, buy all my own groceries, make all my own meals, every day, day in and day out. (Yes, I am tired just writing that. Ha!)
Basically, I subscribe to this principle: Eat less, move more.
That's really general to what I do. I am eating less, but not only that, I know exactly how much I'm eating. Down to every last calorie. I count calories. For a couple of months there, I was guesstimating, and I wasn't losing weight. So I went back to strict calorie counting, where I write down everything I eat.
This is not has hard as you might think. I email it to myself. In general, I eat 200 calories for breakfast, 300 for lunch, 100 for an afternoon snack, and 500 for dinner. That's 1100 calories/day. No more.
I do move more, but it's more specific than that. I do weight training twice a week, for 20 minutes. It's not hard to fit into my morning pre-work routine, and I listen to something uplifting while I do it. I go to the gym for carido 5 days a week (if my schedule allows, but never less than 3 days. I'm not that busy! It's usually 5 days/week) and I work out for 45 minutes.
I walk on the treadmill (with an incline) because running is only what happens when dogs are chasing me. If I'm bored of the treadmill, I get on the elliptical. I think I'm going to add a water aerobics class this summer for even more variety.
And that's what I do.
I personally think the key is in what you eat. I could probably reduce the exercise and still lose weight. But for me, the exercise MOTIVATES the good eating.
I'm not really sure what "Paleo" or "clean eating" are, but I think that's what I'm doing. I eat low-fat proteins, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and cheese. I eat very, very few carbs (bread, rice, muffins, cereals, granola, etc.). The only sugars I take in are from fruits.
Is it hard? Absolutely. Sometimes I just can't take it anymore, or I really need a treat. I have a stash for these days, and I am disciplined in how I eat them. (This means I eat the chocolate caramel covered pretzels, but I count the calories.) Sometimes I drop off the program for a week or more. And that's okay. I'm not on a diet. I'm living my life.
See, I'm an emotional eater. Eating makes me happy when I'm sad, distressed, stressed, overworked, mad, happy, joyful, celebratory, etc. No matter the mood--even if it's good!--eating makes it better. I have a little bit of an anxiety problem, and eating has always soothed that. Eating for family celebrations is awesome.
I'd like to eat everything, everyday, forever. The problem is, I weighed a lot. I could still do everything I wanted to do, but my quality of life was suffering. I didn't do some things because I was too tired, or didn't feel good about myself doing them.
One of the best posts I've ever read about losing weight went up by a friend of mine, Tristi Pinkston, a few weeks ago. Pretty much everything she says, I could ditto. I felt her post deeply, because it could be mine.
In the end, if you want to lose weight, you have to be doing it for yourself, for your own increased quality of life, for your own better health. You have to be dedicated to it, because it takes time away from writing, from work, from family, from friends, from everything. I do it, because I think my health and myself are worth the time away.
Maybe I didn't think I was before, or maybe I was just being lazy. I remember a time at critique group when we were talking about losing weight, and I remember thinking, If I wanted to lose weight, I could--and would. I don't need to. I'm fine the way I am.
I was lying to myself. I didn't know it then, but looking back, I can see that I wasn't being truthful with myself, rationalizing away the fact that I wasn't healthy or happy.
I don't know if I'm a ton happier now, because well, eating makes me the happiest. Ha! But I'm definitely healthier and I enjoy my life more, so that has to count for something.
And there you have it! How I've lost over 50 pounds. I hope to keep going, maybe lose another 25-30 pounds.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!