2015 was my year to turn over a new leaf and make healthy choices for my life. It wasn't a New Year's Resolution - it was a step-change in my behavior and the start of new choices and habits. Hopefully for the rest of my life - which will be a tad longer as I've gotten healthier! My focus was getting stronger - which at the time meant physically stronger. I was single minded in my focus and as a result lost nearly 90 pounds that year.
2016 was the year I wanted to reach a 100 pound loss - but that turned out not to be the case. In fact I stress ate on the pounds. Many factors played into the dynamics of the year - my mom passed away, I traveled a ridiculous amount for work (nearly 50%!) I listened to my inner voice - I learned my eating triggers. I came to realize that to be happy and healthy in the rest of my life I need to be physically and emotionally strong. Strong enough to make big changes in my life. Strong enough to surround myself with the best network of friends and avoid bad influences - even if that be family members.
This took me all year to do. Today was the last of these good-byes. Took me probably a dozen years to make the call - but it's done. And I feel like a great weight has been lifted - clouds have parted and the sky is blue. I'm not sure where I'm going or what my future holds. I'm making my own life choices which I haven't done in ~30 years. Simultaneously exciting and scary.
Friends ask what the keys to success will be as I knit together the insights to not only lose weight but also be strong emotionally/socially. I answer by sharing five things I always keep in mind:
- Set a realistic goal for the long term. I'm not a fan of the weekly or monthly goals. Too many things can upset a short term goal - items like salt and TRAVEL come to mind! I used this site to understand the level of activity needed to make a yearly goal of losing nearly 100#. Would I make my goal or should I set a different one that is reflective of my commitment level.
- Make a plan that supports that goal including tracking tools. The site above helped me set a nutrition profile and exercise routine. I could always go back to the site to see what would happen to my trajectory if I did not meet my activity level. I also used two apps to track my daily activity. My Fitness Pal - which I used to mainly track my food and nutrition (every single day.) Also I used Polar products - wrist band, heart rate monitor, and app to track exercise and steps. Having a plan is not sufficient - intentions don't matter. Action do.
- Make Good Choices Every Day: If you're like me I think about food constantly. Probably 100's of choices a day. So I streamline this activity - have the same thing for Breakfast and always salad for lunch whenever possible. Just so much easier. Each Choice is it's own - can't say that because I was "good" before I can "cheat" next time. Constantly confront the facts of the choices I make. Not striving for perfection - just honesty
- Get a support Network: I thought I had a good support network - but 2016 really tested that. I met new people who would go with me biking and to workout and that was AWESOME! Thank you! I also had people in my life who never ever commented on my weight loss even after I dropped 90 pounds. People who still brought me candy as a gift too! Other people were a constant source of stress - and each time before or after I interacted with them a feeding frenzy would occur. Being aware of these triggers really helped me make some painful but needed changes in my life. Support Network is not the same as Friends. I changed and so did my world...
- Do it even if you don't love it: People will say to find some exercise that you love and focus on that - I'm not sure that I will ever love any exercise. What I do love is the RESULTS. So I do it even if I don't love it. I swim, bike, walk, weight lift, spin, do yoga and Pilates because it's just good for me. Exercise transform me. Stick to it - get results. My trainer would say do you like this or that? - I'd say No. I wasn't kidding - but it was and will be worth it.
Thank you LA, AA, AA2, IH, KF, TR, HM, CK, EL, JB, CW, CD and 5SNB.
Love you guys!
Happy New Year