I very clearly remember the day I said to myself, "I have to do something about this." I hadn't weighed myself in several years, mostly because seeing the number on the scale made it more real. I was in a resale shop looking for new jeans because nothing I had fit anymore. And I had to buy size 24. When I got back to my van I just started crying. And crying. I kept asking myself, "How the hell did I let it get so bad?"
I know now that I let it get so bad because I didn't give a rat's ass that it had gotten that bad. I was eating whatever I felt like, in whatever quantities I felt like, and I wasn't moving a muscle. I binged on a daily basis. I CHOSE to let it get that bad. What is it I tell my 6 year old? Every one of our actions have consequences, whether good or bad.
So, with a pocket full of good intentions, I looked into joining our local YMCA. And I did it! I was full of smiles, and goodwill and I thought, "This is really it! I'm going to do this!" And of course, I didn't. I kept my gym membership but only went once or twice a week, and didn't put my heart into it. I watched news for 45 minutes instead while keeping a leisurely pace on the treadmill. It felt like prison. My eating still wasn't under control. The longest I made it "being good" was about a day or maybe two. I wasn't really tracking calories, just "controlling" (rrrrrrrrrrrright....) my portion sizes. And guess what? Not a damn pound came off.
With a half-hearted attempt, not much changes. I started my blog some time after that as a means to stay accountable. But really not much changed for me until I took the plunge and signed up for Weight Watchers online in December of last year. I hate paying for something I'm not going to use. And yes, technically I was doing that with the membership to the Y, but I guess I chose to ignore that. Since I'd had some success with Weight Watchers in the past, I dove in head first.
And it worked.
I'm not a meetings person (too much social anxiety) but the online program is PERFECT for me. I love it, and I love the e-tools you get with it. Once I reigned in my eating a bit (largely in part, to Weight Watchers and the #7daychip crew on Twitter) then the desire to exercise crept up too. Now I'm faithful - 3 days a week in the gym and I'm becoming faithful to my 2 days of yoga at home, too.
So how should someone start? We've all got our opinions, but I think this is a good way:
List The Reasons You Want To Lose Weight / Get Healthy
I don't care what your reasons are (they differ for each of us) but you have to be passionate about them or it just won't work. Want to run a 5k? Want to provide a healthy example for your children? Want to fit into a specific dress by your 20th high school reunion? Want to give the finger to the people who say you can't do it? Whatever your reasons are, make a list to refer back to when the going gets tough. Because the going WILL get tough, and a fresh reminder is always a good thing.
Commit to Those Reasons
I mean really, TRULY commit to the reasons you've chosen. You have to want it and want it badly. Because there will be a day when a coworker brings in 2 dozen donuts and you want to eat half of them. You'll remember your commitment and eat only one. Or better yet, you pass them up all together. It's all progress, but without a commitment, you'll get more of what you already have.
Have A Goal and Incentives In Mind
Goals are great. Incentives are even better. Look, I love prizes. I love treats. When I realized I had 100 pounds to lose, I wanted to just say, "F this." But my brother suggested I chop that up into 10 pound increments. That has been so much easier. So even if you have 30 pounds to lose, or whatever the number - have a "Grand Goal" in mind, but have smaller ones too. And I totally HIGHLY recommend having incentives for each goal reached. You can see my incentives in the column to the left.
Formulate a Plan Of Attack
How will lose the weight? Will you be a calorie tracker with sites like My Fitness Pal or Livestrong? (both of which are really good) Or will you be a meetings / organized structure person with programs like TOPS or Weight Watchers? And how about movement? Will you workout at home? Join a gym? Hybrid of both? Formulating your plan will leave no questions in your mind about how you will reach your goal.
Find Some Support
I have "tried" to lose weight approximately 16 bazillion times in the past. And guess what? I failed. And I truly think that the reason I've failed in the past is because I didn't set up a successful support system in the past. My husband has always been a great source of support but he's never had a weight problem or eating issues and I don't think he can identify with my problems. Once I reached out in the blogging community and now on Twitter, the support from people JUST LIKE ME has been astounding.
DO THE WORK
Yeah, the rest of that stuff? That's all the easy part. Doing the actual work is the hard part. But seriously, after your initial love affair with losing weight wears off (after the first couple of weeks - this is the time period where you obsess over EVERY. SINGLE. CALORIE and weight loss is all you can seem to think about), and after you mourn the loss of your old lifestyle (the being able to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's whenever you want), you really do settle into a routine and the watching what you eat and even exercising becomes much easier. That being said, please understand that there will always be a super-challenging day thrown in here and there. Stumbling is ok. Not getting back up after is just not acceptable.
You can do this. If I can do this (and I'll be doing it for a long while yet), then you can do this. If you have any questions or just need someone to talk to, please email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org