Monday, June 16, 2014

Times, they are a-changin'

I'm not going to turn this into a blog centered on the topic of this post, but it's a big deal to me. So, I want to share.

On May 20, I made the decision to change my life, and (as of Saturday morning) I've lost 9 lbs so far. Purdue (my employer) is focused very much on work-life balance and keeping their employees healthy. As a result, they offer a 12-week weight management class for free. I'm not stupid, and I know I'm very overweight. I'm under no illusions about that. So, I figured, why not just go and see what it's about, right?

The first meeting included weighing in AND taking a waist measurement. I hadn't been on a scale since before Christmas. I knew it wasn't going to be good, but I had no idea how bad it was really going to be. It was bad. A solid 15 lbs more than I'd ever weighed before ever. Including when I was pregnant. That bad. And my waist measurement was fully 2" more than the last time I'd taken it...whenever that was. Add to those facts, this picture, which was taken in April.....

YIKES!! Yeah. Clearly, I need to do something.

So what is "something?" Moderation and smarter choices. Listening to my body. Moving. This isn't a diet. It's a life change. I'm not a 15-year-old cheerleader anymore, so I can't eat like I am. I'm going to be 40 in August, and (like most Americans) I live a pretty sedentary life. I also really like bread and sugary treats. I mean...really.

So, I'm making healthier choices. I've stopped going to the pizza place for a slice and a bag of breadsticks for lunch. This doesn't mean I can't have pizza. I can, when I really want it. It just means not eating it several times a week for lunch. I'm also not visiting the vending machine for a sweet treat every afternoon. But, I'm also not depriving myself. I had a small bowl of ice cream last night. It was delicious. I've also discovered the tastiest salad in the whole world, which I've eaten for lunch 3 or 4 days every week for the past 3 weeks: Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken salad from Panera. It's sooo good!  I get the baguette as the side because the bread makes me feel more satisfied. The salad is sweet from all of the fruit that's in it, so I don't get that mid-afternoon sugar craving. I also don't get that mid-afternoon energy slump I used to get from the carb-heavy pizza and breadsticks lunch. I feel SO much better.

I purchased a Fitbit One a couple of weeks ago. I love it. It's a great motivator. It's so fun to see the little flower grow as I am more active throughout my day. I remember being really excited the first time I got two leaves. This is what it looked like last night:
That's SIX leaves! What did I do? Grocery shopping in the morning. Then, Tori and I went to the mall in the early afternoon so I could get new shoes--my old athletic shoes were extremely broken down. It hurt my feet to walk in them. That's been fixed with a cute new pair of neon Asics. Love them!  But, I digress. We went to the mall and walked around a lot. I did laundry. Our laundry room is on the second floor of our house, so there's lots of stair climbing on laundry day. I also went for a mile and a half walk after dinner. Ended up with more than 12,000 steps for the day!

I also started using My Fitness Pal, which syncs with the Fitbit, to track my eating and calorie intake/burning. This is really important for me. I have to log everything I eat to hold myself accountable. Typically, I will plan my food for the day in the morning. This eliminates the poor choices that come when I don't plan and I'm hungry. So far, it's working really well.

Now, let's talk about my Diet Coke addiction. I *love* Diet Coke. I mean seriously. Part of my morning routine is stopping at the Family Express to fill my 32 oz mug with Diet Coke. It gets me through the morning. I don't drink coffee or tea, so that's my caffeine for the day. For years, I've heard or read (and ignored) articles about how terrible artificial sweeteners and soda are for you. I'd see the headline, and skip it. I'd hear them start talking about it on the TV and change the channel. Head in the sand much? Yep. (My husband says I'm like this about a lot of things....)  Well, I wasn't able to ignore it when the instructor started talking about aspartame in the Weight Management class.  Not to mention the sodium, artificial coloring, and other chemicals in pop. Sigh. So, five days ago, I decided to start weaning myself off of Diet Coke. I went from 32 oz every day to 24 oz for three days, then 16 oz for three days. I'm on Day 2 of 16 oz. Not sure what I'll do Wednesday. 8 oz? I'd have to eyeball it in my 16 oz cup. Or do I just quit at that point? We'll see. At any rate, it's been pretty painless so far. I know people who have quit cold turkey and were a mess of headaches and energy slumps. I didn't want to go down that road. BUT, I know I'm making a healthy choice, and that feels really good. I'll be interested to see how it affects the frequency of headaches and migraines once I'm fully detoxed from it.

I think the most interesting thing in this whole process is how different it feels from every other time I've tried to lose weight. I'm not looking at this as a diet or a temporary thing. I'm living a more healthy lifestyle. Period. I'll never be an outdoorsy person or someone who loves to exercise. But, it's high time I start taking care of myself. I don't find myself thinking or saying, "When I get to my goal weight, I can finally go back to...." because it doesn't work that way. That's "diet" thinking, and leads straight to gaining all the weight back. I'm not going there.

So, that's my story for right now. Maybe you don't care, and that's okay. This isn't a health or weight loss blog, and it's not going to become that. I just wanted to share what's been on my mind lately.

In other news: The YLA2 class starts tomorrow!!! I can't wait!