Here I am… about to talk about my most dreaded topic at the moment… my weight. First off, let me say, I’m like 90% of all the other women out there who think they’d look better if they dropped a few (or 50 pounds). 😉 Unfortunately, I have fibromyalgia, so I am very limited on what exercises I can do and how often to help lose the extra weight; my body just can’t handle it. If you have fibromyalgia, you know exactly what I mean. I succeeded at that lifestyle change everyone is talking about and it wasn’t as difficult as you might think.
If you want to lose weight and successfully keep it off,
you have to make it a lifestyle change.
I suppose I should tell you how it was I gained the extra poundage to begin with, right? Well, I had two beautiful little babies back to back; and I mean still nursing Gracelynn while I was 6 months pregnant with Arianna, kind of back to back. My body likes to hang on to the extra insulation until after my babies are at least a year old before it decides to say “Oh, okay, I can go now…” Well, the day I stepped on the scale after Gracie was born and saw the beautiful number that was my pre-pregsters weight was also the day we found out we were going to have another baby! Mix in postpartum depression and a side of a mile-long list of medications I had to start taking, I lost myself entirely.
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I knew I had to get serious. No way I was going to let this beat me. I tried every fad diet/weight loss thing out there and nothing was working. I couldn’t exercise as hard as I wanted to because of the pain, so I focused on the food part. They say losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise right? Well, I made it a point to change the way I ate, not ONLY because I wanted to lose weight, but mostly because I wanted to lose weight. Who doesn’t though, right?
I woke up this morning and saw a number
on the scale I haven’t seen since I got married.
Needless to say, I was thrilled!
First things first, I focused on portion control. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted, I just didn’t overdo it. By overdo it, I mean I didn’t gorge myself, I just ate until I was satisfied. I knew that I would be able to satisfy any cravings that came up, so I wasn’t bummed in the slightest when I set the fork down after the last bite. Eating smaller, more appropriate portions (of whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted) allowed my body to get accustomed to having healthy portion sizes before focusing on more “lifestyle change responsibilities”, like what the food actually was. It always makes me so miserable (and more likely to fail) if I do both of those steps at once, so I didn’t. Using a smaller plate and only helping myself to one serving made this part easier.
When I was comfortable with my portion sizes, I began cutting down on starchy foods, limiting myself to no more than two slices worth of bread or other “simple” carbs. I tried substituting other, more healthy, choices and the more I did this, the more my cravings started to change. After awhile I wasn’t craving a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, aka my kryptonite, or potatoes of any kind, especially in the chip form, am I right? I started substituting things in my diet for healthier choices, and with a lot of them, I found I liked the substitutions better that the “bad for you” original.
I said I didn’t deprive myself right? But I didn’t say I didn’t have to work at this either. So, don’t be a lazy bones jones and eat only some healthier-ish stuff, mmk? Yeah, plain Greek yogurt was naaaaasty when I first tried it, but I didn’t want the extra sugar that was in all the other yogurt, but I could do a little something, something to the plain stuff to make it more appealing. I found a few different ideas on P and decided that all natural, straight from the hive raw honey (agave works too) was what it needed. Mixing a small amount of honey in there, adding a handful of berries and some toasted coconut sprinkled on top quickly became the breakfast I craved.
I made accessing healthy snack options easier by chopping and making “grab bags” of fresh fruit and veggies. For lunch, I substituted a leaf of romaine or butter lettuce for bread on a sandwich, and for dinner I ate whatever I wanted as long as it was before 7pm and appropriate portion sizes. If I ate after 7 pm it was sugar-free jello, cucumbers, or a sugar-free popsicle. I started to see the weight come off, slowly, yes, but that number on the scale was getting lower everyday. Keep in mind you will lose the weight faster if you try to remain on your feet as much as possible during the day.
When you don’t eat enough, your body goes into “starvation mode”
and your metabolism slooooows way down, halting weight loss.
At this point, any time my weight loss stalled, it was because I wasn’t eating enough! Sounds backwards, yeah? I didn’t stand on the scale over a weekend and hardly ate anything. I gained a pound and a half! Fail! Over the next few days, I jumped back on the bandwagon and it fell right back off. If you bounce from diet to diet (especially when you focus on counting calories), you are teaching your body to prepare for those “starvation” times. In turn, your body stores anything extra you give it, which is why the weight comes back when your “diet is over”. I lost the most weight when I spent my days snacking on healthier options throughout the day, never letting myself get hungry, than I did sticking to a strict meal plan.
Now to the cravings… Like I mentioned before, my cravings adjusted themselves as I adjusted my eating habits, but there will be a time when you walk by a Cinnabon at the mall and you’ve gotta have it! I kept a list of all my cravings and then waited for the day to reward myself! After losing 10-15 pounds by adapting to these new eating habits, you can go all out. When I had a day pop up where I felt like it would be a fantastic day and I could go on a long walk (to ease the cheater’s guilt), I pulled out my list of cravings, picked out a few of them and indulged.
I was soon shocked to discover that a lot of my
cravings were not as good as I remember.
It was way too sweet; and after not liking it was the last memory I have of it, I know that I, personally, won’t crave it again. If I am going to spend the calories, I might as well do it on things that make me say “oooh myyy gaahhhh” when I eat them. After awhile my cravings list started to shrink because I began craving healthier options. After I lost another ten pounds, I made sure that the only days I would eat whatever and whenever I wanted fell on days when I was up and about and on my feet a lot. I am limited with regards to what I can do, so when a good day comes around I can’t bring myself to sit down!
Up until now, I have lost all my weight without doing any sort of formal exercise. I can’t say I didn’t exercise at all, it’s amazing what a few games of tag with your children will do for your soul (and your waistline!). It has taken me longer than I wanted, but that’s okay, because I know this time, the weight will stay off. I succeeded because I focused on myself, my body. I stopped trying to force a cookie cutter diet to work for me because they don’t work, not long-term anyway. Make a lifestyle change, it’s not as hard as you think, just make sure you do it for you. Focus on what YOU need, not what everyone else tells you you need. I hope that sharing how I have managed to lose 40 pounds by making a lifestyle change helps you pursue your own lifestyle change, let me know in the comments below!