Monday, September 27, 2010

Move Over, Kathy Smith!

Actually, I think Kathy Smith DID move over and Jillian Michaels swooped in for the kill. But not in a bad way. She rocks and I'd kill for that body she has. Unfortunately, I'm lacking the fortitude to do exactly what she says, so... I've compromised. And it worked. Or seems to be working. I don't have her body by any means, but I AM losing weight.

A month or two before school dismissed for summer, I decided that, by God, I would sport a two-piece before summer's end. So, after seeing a photo of myself that someone else had taken & been kind enough to tag me with on Facebook, I stared in disbelief & made a conscious effort to change my lifestyle. My goal in the beginning was to lose 38 pounds. Lots of people said, "You don't need to lose THIRTY-EIGHT pounds!" But those people hadn't seen my naked ass exit the shower in the morning. Chuck & I decided to have a contest & see who could lose the most by opening day of the pool. I won. And here's how, after many, many requests from people who have noticed my thinner self, I accomplished what is, to date, my 24-pound weight loss. I'm not quite to my 38-pound goal yet, but I did end the summer soaking up the rays in not one but two different bikinis. Now I only have 14 lbs. to go! And my ass looks better than Chuck's exiting the shower.

My weight loss has taken place between April & September, by the way. That comes out to a pound a week. And I hope you didn't come here expecting an easy gimmick or a potion I drank or that I had some form of liposuction. In my opinion, there is ONE way to lose weight - eat less, eat healthier & increase your physical activity. Here's the plan that's worked for me:

1. EXERCISE: As baseball player John Kruk once famously said, "I ain't an athlete, lady. I play baseball." Well, I'm not an athlete either (though I do love baseball!) but I did get off my rear. My favorite physical activities are exercising my fingers with needlepoint projects & lifting a camera. But I initially joined a small gym and began running a mile on the treadmill a few times a week and doing the circuit of weight machines they had. I also walked some at night with a couple girlfriends. Eventually, I realized I could run outside and it was more enjoyable for me. I could lift free weights at home, which I had actually done before in a college class & thoroughly enjoyed. So, now I have abandoned the gym and I run in my neighborhood (still only a few miles a week) and do exercises at home with a weight bar and an 8 lb. toning ball. You don't have to become a 5K or marathon runner to lose weight & you can even walk if you prefer. BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT. And KEEP doing it.

2. FOOD: I despise diet plans that tell you that you can eat what you want and still lose weight. Yes, you can still enjoy your favorite meals and snacks occasionally, but you HAVE to change the way you are eating in order to drop pounds. It's that simple. It was especially hard for me because, like my daughter now, I had always been able to eat whatever I wanted & gain nothing. That was, until I had my third child. I always saw large people & said, "Did they not see that coming?? I would NOTICE I was getting fat and put an end to that!" Then one day my husband's grandmother was kind enough to point out how "I was really a puttin' it on" & I took notice. I changed my eating habits in the following ways:

a) I decreased my daily donut intake - I would eat an average of 1-2 a day for breakfast. Now I might have a couple a week. Unless I'm in Dexter, MO near Faye's Bakery & then all bets are off. Thankfully, I'm not there too often.

b) I decreased my daily Coke intake - I went from drinking it constantly throughout the day & late into the night to having 1-2 a day (my goal is to stop eventually) & replacing the other ones with water and juice and the occasional French Berry Lemonade from Fresh Market (yummmm).

c) I decreased my butter consumption - Butter was my cocaine. My Jack Daniel's. My vice & comfort food. Feeling down? Bake a pan of rolls! Why not? I had to have it with almost everything I ate and if the meal didn't call for butter, I would add bread so that I had a reason to eat butter. (I used to eat it out of the tub as a child.) I can't do that anymore. I still eat some, but not as often and I sometimes replace it with olive oil. And this one is really, really hard for me.

d) I began skipping appetizers, pre-meal salads and cut back on bread.

e) I completely stopped late night snacking. This was a HUGE weakness for me as I would sit up late editing photos and trying to stay awake, all the while having one hand in a bag of yellow Lay's and a Coke in the other. Or a Snickers bar. Or in my worst, darkest days, a couple of candy bars. It's really a wonder I was not HUGE. And it's not surprising that my keyboard was a mess.

f) When I cook now, I change ingredients to low or no-fat when possible. I also STOP EATING WHEN I'M FULL. This is one of the biggest ones for me. You do NOT have to clean that plate, people. If you're hungry later, have a few carrot sticks or a handful of nuts.

g) My snacks have changed drastically from greasy chips, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, Pringles, donuts, cupcakes, M & M's, etc. My snacks are now almonds/pecans, fruit, olives, apple slices (not dipped in anything), low-fat crackers, chips/salsa (in moderation). It's not as fun, but I don't want to be fat. Simple as that. Jillian Michael's book "Making The Cut" is a great resource for snack ideas based on your metabolic type.

h) A few other lifestyle changes: I rarely eat fast food now. And if I have a burger, well, then, no fries. I park as far out as possible and get in a few extra steps of exercise when I'm shopping. If I think I'm hungry for a snack, I'll wait 15 minutes. Often I forget what I wanted & never even have one. And, I don't drink alcohol. Maybe two drinks a year if I'm on vacation. That's it.

i) At the risk of not disclosing everything, my final words are that I take 10mg of Prozac daily to deal with life in general and it seems to curb my appetite a bit. I think it's only fair that I mention that. Some people say it has the opposite effect. Guess I'm lucky. I also had a hysterectomy in June (still have ovaries) & it's been the best thing I've ever done. No more monthly bloating and soooo much more energy. I didn't do it to lose weight, obviously, but I think it's played a small part.

j) I take no drugs or supplements or anything from health food stores or the EZ Mart counter. No Hydroxycut or ANYTHING like that. And you shouldn't either.

Once I lost several pounds, I was really motivated to keep going. Seeing photos of my thinner self were really encouraging too. If you need to find weight bar/ball exercises, just use Google or check out Jillian's books. Or buy a simple book on weight training. Magazines like SHAPE & Women's Health feature exercises monthly. Resources are endless. Start slow. Progress steadily. Don't give up. But get off your ass. No one ever lost weight cramming food in their mouth while lounging on the couch watching Desperate Housewives re-runs.