10 weight loss lessons

I’m 2-1/2 months into my work on losing some weight and feeling better about myself.  I figured I owed you an update.  But, I feel sort of funny about it.  As I told you back in September, this is not something that I enjoy talking about.  It’s not something I like to share.  However, I’m plugging away.  I’m happy to report that I am 15 pounds lighter than when I started.

And, I know, for those of you who are thin, 15 pounds seems like a lot.  I ought to be prancing around in skinny jeans feeling hot.  However, those of you who are members of the chubette club along with me know that 15 pounds is a great start, but it’s not a dramatic difference.  So, I continue.

Here’s the part I really like: I don’t feel like I’m on a diet.  I know.  What diet plan doesn’t have a spokesperson touting how easy the plan is and how she barely noticed she was only eating cabbage and apples for two months?  I’m not a fad diet person.  I liked the Weight Watchers points system years ago.  It worked for me.  I wrote down everything I ate and tallied up the points.  But, it also stressed me out.  I’m anal.  I stress easily.  I’d have times where I’d cry because I was hungry but out of points.  You think I jest, but I do not.  I knew that wouldn’t work right now.  Life is much more hectic than it was then.  Then I was juggling college class schedules and homework.  Now I’m juggling a toddler, work, a house, a toddler, a husband, a dog, a toddler, extended family, personal hygiene, a toddler, etc.  So, I decided to just be aware of what I’m eating.  I’m eating less, I’m eating better and I’m feeling good.  And I’m not depriving myself.  For example, I’ve had two triple chocolate Ticklebelly Cupcakes (found at Target) during this ordeal.  I’m talking these (they are so good!):

Photo taken from Ticklebelly's Facebook page.

However, there are also some things I’ve learned through this that I have to share with you.

1. Once I committed to this, I was pretty sure that the whole world should now see me as a thin person.  Seriously.  Just a week into this new routine when I’d lost a few pounds, I felt like waiters at restaurants shouldn’t be judging my order because they should know I was serious about losing weight, and they should see me as a size 6 instead of the size I am (not sharing that number with the whole world!).  In my head, waiters would take my order, in which I asked for low-fat dressing or vegetables instead of fries, and smirk because I was another chubbo “trying” to lose weight.  I’m guessing 95 percent of the time, this wasn’t/isn’t the case.  They are too busy working to think about my ulterior motives for what I ordered to eat.  But, I wanted to tell them, “Hey, I’m serious, bud.  I’ve lost 8 ounces this week.  Take that!  And, don’t you love how thin I now look?  These hips are 8 ounces lighter than they were!”  Fortunately I’m much too shy and reserved to share that information with the general public.  I hold back only for my blog.

2. Having the aforementioned attitude of thinking I would look automatically smaller just by being conscious of what I was eating, I had a few surprises when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself.  Who was that well-rounded lady?  She couldn’t be me. I’m dieting.  I’m thin by default, right?  Not so.  But, I do feel better.  And my jeans fit a lot better.

3. Speaking of jeans, they used to immediately come off when I was at home.  Yoga pants are so much more comfortable.  And then I didn’t have to worry if the kiddo got stuff on me.  That was my excuse.  The truth was, I couldn’t comfortably get up and down off the floor and play well with her in my jeans that felt like I painted them on in the morning.  Now, I end up leaving them on without thinking about it.  Not all the time.  The yoga pants are definitely not retired, but the jeans are not so miserable.  It’s nice.  I’m sure my husband appreciates coming home occasionally to find me in something halfway presentable.

4. I am an instant expert on diet and weight loss now.  OK, that’s not true.  I am so not.  But, I feel like I’ve found what works for me, and that includes an indulgence here and there.  I know myself.  If I’m too strict, it won’t last too long.  I’d rather go slower and steadier than fast and furious and fizzle.  For example, last weekend the husband and I decided to take in a matinee.  I opted for a low-fat Subway sandwich for lunch so I could treat myself to movie popcorn with butter.  It was divine.  It was more calories and fat than probably what I’d eaten for Thanksgiving dinner, but I LOVE popcorn.  A treat of it here and there works for me.  I stuck with water to drink instead of Sprite (one of the only fountain beverages with which I can occasionally have thanks to the old bladder).  The Sprite would have tasted much better, but I made a deal with myself for one indulgence.

5. Accountability works.  When I made my last post about this, I got lots of great feedback and encouragement.  Someone I’ve known since elementary school said she’d be my weight loss buddy.  We had reconnected through Facebook. We don’t have weekly meetings and we don’t berate one another, but we do encourage one another.  She shared an awesome blog with me with low-fat recipes.  And we e-mail once a week to report on how it’s going.  It may sound crazy, but I have times that I think, “I’ve got to be careful not to go crazy.  I’ve got to weigh in tomorrow and tell her my progress or lack thereof!”

6. I might be tempted to go home with someone in front of me at the grocery store who has lots of chocolate in their cart.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t actually do this.  I mean, most likely not.  Surely I can’t be lured in by packs of candy bars and chocolate cream Oreos.  Right?  Right?

7. I’m not quite as obsessed with food as I thought.  I’m an obsessive person.  My husband would be happy to share stories with you of my various obsessions and phases (I’m so thankful he doesn’t have a blog!).  And while I still think about food and do things like plan our family’s dinner menu a couple of weeks at a time, I’m not constantly thinking about my next meal.  I’m not constantly thinking about what I need to eat — or what I want to eat.

8. Prayer works.  Again, you may think I’m jesting, but this is the first time in all my three decades plus on this planet that I’ve decided to pray about it.  I don’t know why it never crossed my mind before.  It just didn’t.  Sometimes God sort of has to hit me over the head with things.  But, I’ve been praying daily for self-control and motivation.  It’s working.  I don’t think that God cares what my dress size is.  However, my body is a temple.  And I am working to treat it much nicer than I used to.  I think He cares about that.

9. Eating only what I’ll give to my child makes a difference.  I feel obligated to make sure that Lexiana eats healthy food.  In fact, it’s something that I work hard on.  We are careful that she doesn’t have many sweets.  I read labels on everything.  We work in vegetables and we have a refrigerator filled with fruit.  The child loves fruit.  We make deals with her to eat a protein like chicken by promising that she’ll get grapes if she does.  That kind of stuff.  I realized that I was giving her good food and myself crap.  I’m not sure how that made sense.  So, now we eat together.  I eat breakfast before she is up, but otherwise, we have lunch together.  It keeps me from maybe eating leftover pizza or something more high fat and caloric, because she’ll want whatever I eat.  If I want a snack, I avoid sweets and head for healthier options to share with her like string cheese.  And we always have dinner together, which has the same result.  Eating a toddler diet isn’t such a bad weight loss plan.

10. Mum is still the word.  I know you’re dubious about this because I’m already at more than 1,300 words just talking to you about my weight loss journey.  But, I don’t want to talk about it in person.  I talk to my husband.  I talk to my diet buddy.  Sometimes I talk to my mom.  For the most part, though, it’s not something I like or want to chat about.  So, you know the drill.  If you see me in person, we’ll pretend we never had this conversation.

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