Celebrating Non-Scale Victories

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Tonight at my Weight Watchers meeting, we held a discussion about keeping track of our successes.  Our leader encouraged us to write down non-scale victories and to look back at them when we need an extra boost or are having a bad day.  As an avid journal keeper and list marker, I liked this idea of writing things down in order to return to it again and again.  I also like external accountability.  I considered using Facebook as my outlet – it’s a great place for little “snippets” and there’s nothing like putting it out there to the social media world for external accountability.  But I certainly don’t want to be one of “those” people either (I am sure I have several FB friends who could care less about my weight loss efforts).  I have a private FB group with a few friends where we keep each other on track and send regular updates.  That works but I still wanted a larger audience. I considered Instagram but I’m a writer and needed a larger writing space.  Then, the obvious occurred to me – I can use my blog to record and write about my experiences, questions, ideas, and general thinking about my weight loss/fitness journey!   So, if you’re reading this I hope that you are interested in exercise, nutrition, fitness, weight loss or any other related topic.  It’s becoming a significant part of my life again and I have a lot to say.

But back to the idea of recording small successes.  I’m excited to report that I’ve had a lot of them this week!  Before I get to what they are, I think it’s important to mention that focussing on and celebrating these small victories is absolutely key in the grander scheme of losing weight.  (Trust me, I’ve been there and done it before!) Once you have even one small success, it drives you to want more.  Than you have another, and you want more.  Each step you take in the right direction just keeps propelling you and driving you to take the next step.  It’s amazing how once you get the ball rolling how fast your motivation takes off!  That’s exactly how I am feeling tonight.  I have taken a lot of small steps lately that have sent my motivation into over-drive!  It’s an incredible feeling, and although it took some effort to get started, it’s been truly surprising how quickly the momentum builds.

Here are some of my small (non-scale) victories this week:

1. Getting myself to the gym even when I didn’t really feel like going – I always tell myself that you never regret a workout but you nearly always regret skipping a workout.  I knew on this night that if I had skipped the gym, I would have stayed home and felt crummy about it.  Also, I have a pretty good gym routine going but I knew that if I skipped even just one night (without a valid excuse) it might lead to skipping another night, and another, and so on….  Preventing disruption in a routine that’s new is so important and I’m certainly glad that I was able to recognize this enough that I was able to get my butt out the door and to the gym that night!

Getting set up for Body Pump at the gym.

Getting set up for Body Pump at the gym.

2. Incorporating more vegetables (and some fruits) into my meals – I am a carb-lover.  I could subsist on pizza, pasta, bread, crackers, and chips if you let me.  But I haven’t been seeing the results I want and I knew what was holding me back.  Too many carbs and little to no fruits and vegetables.  Now, I’m really not a fan of fruit (I know. It’s weird – I’m still working on it), although I did eat a huge piece of watermelon the other day instead of the crackers I’d normally have had.  But I’ve been making a point to include vegetables in at least two meals per day.  The first couple of days I tried eating salads until the third day when I realized, I really don’t like salads.  The next night I roasted my vegetables and realized I really enjoy roasted vegetables!  So now that’s what I am doing. It really takes getting to know how things work for you and doing it that way.  Sure, I will continue to explore other salad options and other ways to get my veggies in (oh, I do love an omelette packed with veggies!) but for now I’ve realized I do like roasted veggies and it’s working so why not stick with it?

Dinner this week.

Dinner this week.

3. I avoided temptations – I had two work events this week where lunch was provided.  Knowing there are usually some pretty healthy options, I skipped packing my own and indulged in the provided lunch.  The first day was lasagna (of which I enjoyed a small piece), house salad or Caesar (I chose house with light dressing even though I love Caesar!), white dinner rolls (which I resisted!) and then large brownies or large cookies for dessert (which I also resisted!)  The key for me here was taking the time to consciously decide if I should have the bread and dessert or not.  It worked in my favour that the cookies were pre-packaged and actually didn’t really look that appetizing (I know, right?  I didn’t realize they could make a cookie that doesn’ look or taste amazing! Cookies are seriously my biggest downfall!)  Anyway, I took a real hard look at that cookie (and the brownie which was also pre-packaged) and decided that likely what would happen is that I would eat it, it wouldn’t taste as amazing as I had anticipated, and then I’d feel enormously guilty afterward.  It just wasn’t worth it.  I passed.  I SAID NO TO COOKIES AND BROWNIES, people!  This is huge!  It may seem insignificant to some, but I know the willpower it took to say no.  Am I ever glad I did!

4.  I drank a chocolate milkshake and ate some chocolate and didn’t feel guilty! – This is worth noting because so many of us beat ourselves up if we go off track even the slightest.  We wallow in feelings of guilt which can lead to more bad habits.  But what I’m beginning to learn is that to make this a lifestyle and not just a diet, nd to make it stick FOREVER, we have to indulge now and then.  And we can’t beat ourselves up for it!  You do have to take those few minutes to decide if the indulgence will really be worth it or not though.  I knew as soon as I took the first sip of that chocolate milkshake on Saturday that it was worth it.  I thoroughly enjoyed every. single. sip.  It was delicious, it was amazing, it was so satisfying.  Why would I let guilt take away all that?  I finished the milkshake and moved on.  I didn’t let guilt take over and write the rest of the day (or week or month) off.  Instead I got right back on track at my next meal.  (Again, this is HUGE for me because it’s something I’ve struggled with so much in the past!)  Then, today during lunch there was a whole tray of desserts including these little tiny brownies that I’ve had before and that I know are absolutely delicious!  I made the conscious choice that having one would be worth the indulgence.  So I had one.  And it was so scrumptious and wonderful that I had another one.  And do you know what?  I’m not mad at myself!  I ate on plan the rest of the day and didn’t let those two little brownies throw my whole day off.  (For instance, knowing I had had the brownies helped me to resist the potato wedges my husband brought home at dinner! I had roasted sweet potato chunks instead). It’s all about indulging in moderation, truly enjoying those small treats, and not feeling badly about it. Trust me, I know it isn’t easy to do which is why it’s actually a pretty BIG victory for me!

Worth every delicious, chocolate-y sip.

Worth every delicious, chocolate-y sip.

So those are my non-scale victories for this past week.  It’s these tiny, but at the same time, momentous moments that keep me going.  No matter what goal you are working towards, it’s important to focus on the small yet significant steps that get you there.  If we can keep doing that, eventually all of those tiny moments will get us where we ultimately want to be.

 

 

 

Huge Results!

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It’s been a little while now since I’ve been back to the gym and working out on a pretty regular basis.  About 3-4 times a week, I’m attending Body Pump classes at our local Goodlife and once a week I’m doing yoga.  I have noticed that my flexibility is already improving and that I can lift slightly heavier weights than when I first started.  But on the outside, there hasn’t been any major changes.  I’m down about 4 lbs. total and my pants may be fitting a touch looser, but overall there’s been no significant change.

While this may seem disheartening and like it would make me want to quit altogether,  I am thrilled to say that, in fact, it’s just the opposite.  And that’s because the inner transformation I have experienced in such a short time is truly incredible.

After just a few weeks of consistently going to the gym (and making a few small changes to my diet), my motivation is soaring, my energy levels are up drastically, and my overall confidence has improved.  I’ve always known that exercise has significant effects on the mind (not just the body), but I somehow had forgotten just how quickly those effects take place.  I have such a positive outlook now and really feel like I can achieve my goals.  And the more I work out, the more motivated I feel, and the higher I set those goals for myself!  So take it from me, a girl who’s spent countless hours buried under blankets on the couch, feeling miserable, tired, and lazy – if you can somehow find the willpower to do that first workout, you’ll be taking a step in a direction towards better confidence, better energy, better motivation, and most importantly, better self love!

Balance

It’s pretty common knowledge that most people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions.  Usually, I’m right there with those that have the best intentions, but fall off the wagon just a few weeks in.  This time around though, I am happy to say that three months into the new year, my resolutions are still ringing true for me.  In fact, the two mantras I had pinpointed as my “themes” for the year (Good enough is good enough, and Be gentle with yourself) are ideas I still think about almost daily.

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Lately, though, this idea of being gentle with myself has taken a slight twist.  While I still definitely need to remember to be gentle with myself and that good enough is good enough, I’ve started to realize that, in life, there is also a place for pushing oneself.  For striving.  For achieving.  And for setting tough goals.  I started to consider this contradiction.  I want to be more gentle with myself, but in light of some new goals I’ve set, I also need to be a little tough on myself (more about that in a minute). Then as I was reading one of my favourite books The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I found a quote that summed this up perfectly.  Rubin states. “There is a constant tug between striving and accepting… there is a time for both pursuing and accepting.”   I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Recently, I’ve jumped back on the “getting healthy” bandwagon.  I’ve started working out (3-4 times per week), re-joined Weight Watchers, and started the same Learn to Run program I had so much success with in the past.  This, of course, can’t happen without a little self discipline and hard work.  In other words, I have to be a little tough on myself.  I have to tell myself no when the cookies and cakes are calling my name and I have to push myself to lace up my sneakers and get my workout in, when I’d rather be lounging on the couch.  I have to skip the junk food aisle in the grocery store, and stock up on fruits and veggies instead.  I have to go to the gym when I’d rather be sipping hot cocoa and blogging.  It’s definitely not easy and if I’m too gentle on myself, I’ll be diving into the closest chip bag and subsisting on pizza before we know it.

That being said, in retrospect I truly believe that one of the reasons I gained all of my weight back (after losing 65 lbs.) is that I wasn’t gentle on myself last time.  Every time I slipped up, fell of program, or indulged just a little too much, I’d become so upset with myself that I’d quit altogether.  I was resentful because I felt like I had to be “good” all the time to lose weight.  (And there certainly wasn’t room for pizza when I’m being “good”.)  So this time around, while I have to push myself, I know I also have to be gentle on myself.  Some days I’ll eat healthy, workout, and feel amazing and strong.  Other days, I’ll stay in my pyjamas, eat junk food, and feel……. Guilt-free.

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All this, of course, is called balance which ironically is another one of my “themes” for 2016.  When I chose “balance”, I was focussed more on letting go of my over-achieving, perfectionist ways and making more room for rest and relaxation.  But now I’m starting to truly understand what balance means.  It means that there’s still a place for pushing myself.  There’s still a place for striving, achieving, working hard, saying no when you want to say yes, and being just a little bit of a perfectionist. But there’s also a time for being gentle.  For accepting that I will make mistakes, that not all days will be perfect, and that at the end of the day, life all is about balance and I’m finally starting to figure that out.

 

How are you doing with your 2016 resolutions?

#TBT: Using Old Habits to Build the New

Tonight I was looking through some pictures, and as is often the case when I see pictures of my much healthier, slimmer, fitter self, I once again became totally motivated to get back on the weight-loss wagon.

The picture that inspired my motivation tonight - taken two years ago on our honeymoon.

The picture that inspired my motivation tonight – taken two years ago on our honeymoon.

Admittedly, I’ve been subsisting on a diet of hotdogs and nacho dip while home alone this week and I know that’s the first thing that’s got to stop.  My weight loss/gain has been a journey and one thing I’ve learned along the way is that it’s true what they say about weight loss being “20% exercise, and 80% nutrition”.

So I know a major overhaul to my diet is in order again.  I think back to all the changes I made before and how, gradually, over the last few years I’ve reintroduced foods that I had basically written off.  I also remember how surprised I had been when I had gotten to the point that my metabolism was trained to work so hard that I could indulge in treats and not gain back a single pound.  Then again, my concept of “treats” back then was a lot different too – it was more of a “once in awhile” mentality as opposed to the “every afternoon and most evenings” mentality that it is now.

One of the things I attribute my past success most to is the Weight Watchers program.  Weight Watchers taught me almost everything I know about eating better, exercising, and incorporating healthy habits into my daily life.  I was so naïve about many things the first time I joined and now, after being out of the program for a substantial amount of time, I am starting to think that maybe I need a good refresher.  Maybe it’s time for me to join Weight Watchers again.  Maybe it’s time to start new, get a fresh perspective, and start re-building those habits that I had worked so hard for the first time.

One of those habits that the program taught me and that I know absolutely and positively works is keeping a food journal.  The problem with me and food journals is that I tend to write down everything I eat as long as it’s healthy and the right kinds of foods.  As soon as I fall off track and start over-eating or indulging in too much junk food, I tend to not track.  So this time, I am putting it out there – starting tomorrow morning, I am going to track everything I eat and drink.  I will stay accountable … and maybe even share my food journals on here?  Hmmm….

I love how toned and healthy my body is here.

I love how toned and healthy my body is here.

The other sad part about my weight gain, is that I had reached a spot where I was actually becoming physically fit and now I have lost all the benefits of that hard work.  It’s a hard pill to swallow but I have to accept it for what it is.  A few years ago I could run 10km, now I can barely walk half of that without feeling tired and feeling aches and pains in my legs and hips.  It’s a sad reality, but one that can be changed.  One that I have to change if for no other reason than my own physical health… although wearing a bikini again sounds awfully nice too!

Not only that, but I want to be fit again.  As much hard work as it was, working out gave me so much confidence and made me so proud of my accomplishments. I built habits I had never imagined myself having.  I worked hard and it paid off.  Not only did I learn to run but I participated in 10-km races.  I did workouts at the gym that are seriously cardio-intense and not for the faint of heart.  I regularly let Jillian Michaels kick my butt (her workout DVDs are amazing) and was even getting pretty decent at some of the toughest moves.  I bought a bike and used it.  I love that.  I love that I did all that and I want more than anything to have that back in my life again.

But it’s going to take baby steps.  If I were to try one of those DVDs right now, I’d barely make it through the first five minutes.  I need to start out slow, and build up to where I was before.  That’s the intimidating part – I don’t remember where I started before.  I remember the finish line (and all its rewards and benefits) so much but I don’t remember the starting line.

So I guess it’s time to make a new starting line.  One advantage I do have this time is all the knowledge I gathered along the way last time, and since then.  I know that this time my efforts have to be fuelled by love and positivity rather than by self-loathing.  I know I need to make changes to my diet again starting by tossing the leftover hotdogs in my fridge.  I know that I can’t be afraid of working out.  I have to accept that I am no longer where I was, but that slowly and steadily, I can and will get there again.  Wish me luck!

Healthy and happy.

Healthy and happy.

 

Learning Self Love

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It came to me this morning as I was awake in bed after having slept in late for the first time this summer.  I was just laying there, not really thinking about anything except maybe about how I was going to convince myself to get up and start the day.   Then suddenly, my mind drifted and I was thinking about my weight (this often happens in the morning because nearly every day when I wake up I promise myself that this will be the day I get back on track permanently). Out of nowhere it seemed though, a thought popped into my mind and it seemed so clear and made so much sense, that I could hardly believe I hadn’t realized it before.  This is what came to me:

The reason I can’t get back on track to losing weight this time is because I don’t hate myself enough.

I know, I know.  It sounds all wrong and probably is, but frankly this is how I sometimes feel and I promise you if you keep reading, you’ll understand more where I am coming from.  Sometimes I believe that to really want to make a change, and to actually follow through with that change, you have to be displeased with yourself.  You have to be unhappy, grossed out, angry at yourself, maybe even disgusted.  You take all these negative feelings and you build yourself into a warrior promising yourself that you will win.  You will battle this negativity and make all the right changes until you can love yourself again.

But then I think, what happens when you aren’t really that unhappy/grossed out/angry at yourself/disgusted?   What do you have to fight against then?  Okay, I’m not saying I have totally and completely learned to accept my body at its current size.  In fact, I always question myself – is this way of thinking just another sneaky excuse to get out of doing what I know I really should do?  Am I just trying to convince myself that I’m okay like this, at this size, at this weight?  Or am I slowly and truly learning to accept myself the way I currently am?

self love

It’s a contradiction that constantly bounces back in my head like a tennis ball in a dizzying tennis game.  Some days, I just want to love myself.  I want to be okay with my body, my weight gain, with being heavy.  I tell myself I’m older now and it’s more acceptable to be heavier. I tell myself that this lifestyle is easier, more enjoyable, that I’ve got new and more important things to focus on.  But just as I tell myself these things, I start to consider how ridiculous they sound.  After all, what could be more important than focussing on my own health? And then just as soon as I’ve thought those words, the tennis balls leaps to the other side.  You’re not happy.  You were happier when you were thinner and fitter.  You look in the mirror, see how much weight you’ve gained and you’re angry with yourself. 

And these contradictions don’t only exist in my head.  All around us, we are bombarded with messages about body image – love your body but follow this diet (cleansing/juicing/carb-free, gluten-free, high-protein, counting points, the list goes on)  – learn to accept what you’ve got, but here’s how to get washboard abs in two weeks – you’re beautiful the way you are, but eating clean will give you the body you dream of.  The cycle of conflicting messages is never-ending and it’s ingrained in me so much that I never know which side to believe – should I love my body, or hate it?

So now, I am thinking again about that message that came to me this morning.  About how I can’t find the motivation to stay on track if I don’t hate myself enough.  Maybe I think this because that’s how it always been in the past.  Years of negative body image finally led to a 60-lb weight loss for me about five years ago.  But then, after only a few years of maintaining my weight loss, I have gained all the weight back.  Although I thought I had finally “solved the puzzle” something obviously went wrong and needs to be different this time.

And I think I know what it is.  I have to drastically change my frame of my mind.  Motivation based out of self-disgust, anger, and hatred is only temporary.  It may fuel the fire long enough to get the results you’re looking for (or alternatively could send you into a long, downward spiral of depression and self-loathing) but then suddenly your fight is over. There’s nothing more to fight against because suddenly you love yourself.  And when the fight is over what do you do?  You stop fighting. You get comfortable and you forget how to fight for yourself – slowly the changes and habits you used to fuel your fight are gone and before you know it, you’re right back where you started.

So now I think I know what I need to do.  I need to learn how to accept and love my current body while at the same time taking steps to improve it.  My workouts and diet can’t be based on self-loathing, they need to be formed around self-love.  I read a quote once that said something like “I don’t work out because I hate my body, I work out because I love it”.  This is the new mentality that I need to adopt.  I need to know that loving my body is not going to send me into some eating-frenzy comfort zone that I’ll never find my way out of.  I need to know that it’s okay to accept my body all while being aware that, like anything, there’s always room for improvement. I need to work hard and stay relaxed.  I need to be gentle with myself and at the same time dedicated and determined.  I need to understand that, like life itself, there will be ups and downs, good feelings and bad feelings, and wonderful days and terrible days.  But above it all, I need to know that it’s okay – it’s okay to love myself along the journey – and that only with self-love will the true change that I want really come along … and stay.

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Stronger Body, Stronger Mind

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Like most of my attempts to lose weight in the past, my most recent attempt has had its ups and downs.  Actually, I think it’s safe to say that this one has had more “downs” than “ups”.  That being said, I am feeling another big boost of motivation today and am ready, once again, to climb back onto the bandwagon.

One difference between my past adventures in getting healthy, and this one, are some of my reasons for doing so.  Of course, wanting to look better is always near the top of the list, but more than ever, wanting to feel better is as much a motivation as anything.

I know I’m not exactly old (as much as my husband likes to tease me that I am!) but I definitely can feel changes in my body that come with being in my mid-30s.  Having been substantially inactive for the last year or so definitely hasn’t helped.  In fact, it’s led to a lot of minor aches, pains, and stiffness that I’ve never felt before.  Getting up after sitting on the floor sure isn’t pretty anymore, and I’m so out of shape, that I can barely go for a fast-paced walk without getting out of breath.strength

In addition to that, I’ve really noticed this time around, the mental and emotional challenges of not being active.  The longer I sit around, being lazy, the more I want to sit around and be lazy.  Then I feel crummy and guilty.  But even the guilt is not enough motivation to get myself up off the couch.  So I try self-loathing instead.  That doesn’t work either and before I know it, I’m caught in a vicious cycle of terrible self-esteem and just wanting to give up altogether.

But all that is going to change.  It’s going to change because I am not a lazy, self-loathing, unenergetic type of person.  I am determined, I have drive, I have a self love that is dying to come out.

Today, I am feeling a rejuvenated sense of motivation.  I am inspired to make my body (and my mind) strong again.  I want to challenge and push myself to places that will surprise even me.  Last time I took this journey, I ended up running 10k marathons. Running was something I had tried in the past, but had always failed miserably at. I was convinced I’d never be a runner.  And then I learned to run.  I began with one measly minute and continued to surprise myself as I was able to tack on more and more time.  When I competed in my first 10k race in 2011 I felt like I’d climbed to the top of an insurmountable mountain.

That feeling of victory, of confidence, of self-pride, of genuine happiness when you reach goals you never thought you’d accomplish, is exhilarating.  I miss that feeling.  I want that feeling again.

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So this time around, while I can still admit that I want to wear cute clothes and bikinis and tight dresses again, I’ve found a new inspiration that I think will stick.

My motivation comes from wanting my body and mind to be healthier and stronger.  I want to be an inspiration to others again.  I want to feel proud of myself again.  I want to meet goals and reap the rewards.

I want to feel victorious.

Strangely, this new source of motivation came to me today while watching the Blue Jays game.  It was Marcus Stroman Bobblehead Day so they were featuring the young, rookie pitcher who was supposed to have been the Jays’ big star this year.  Unfortunately, Stroman drastically injured his knee in spring training, had to undergo surgery and may be out of the game for the entire 2015 season.

But what inspired me about Stroman is his determination, dedication, and never-ending positivity.  While others may have let devastation and disappointment consume them, Stroman is using his time off to work harder than ever to make himself an all-around better player and person.  He is attending Duke University, is just months away from obtaining his sociology degree, and is working his butt off in rehab with hopes of returning to the Jays this fall.

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

I’ve been following Stroman on Instagram for some time now, and his outlook is incredibly inspiring.  Although he’s had major setbacks, his smile is as big as ever and his focus is sharper than ever.  More than ever, he’s determined to make his dreams come true, and he’s not letting anything get in his way.

So I’m taking a lesson from Stroman, and I’m making the choice (again!) to put in the hard work, determination, and dedication it will take to meet my fitness goals. I know it will take time (as it did before), and I know there will be ups and downs, but  I’m excited to get back in the game.  I’m eager to be strong, to set and reach goals, and ultimately, to be victorious.

positivity

 

 

 

 

My Get Fit Journey: Week One Check-in

A good reminder.

A good reminder.

I am proud to say that my first week of being back on track was a success!  I am down 3 lbs. but more importantly, I am feeling very motivated and fully committed to getting back into the getting healthy game!

One of the biggest changes I made to my eating plan this week was to eliminate French Vanilla cappuccinos from Tim Hortons which I realized has a whopping 40g of sugar (per small serving) and is 7 Weight Watchers points!  I had been drinking half coffee-half cappuccinos, but have now realized that even that change is not good enough.  So my first challenge this week was to find an alternative that I could enjoy just as much (since I love having a daily coffee or two but only really like it if it’s sweet!)  A friend suggested flavoured coffee creamers, and while they still have a significant amount of sugar, it’s much lower than the cappuccino, and I figured a was a good way to start (and only 2 Weight Watchers points!)  Eventually, I will cut this out too, but for now it’s working 🙂

The other thing I cut out was my nearly daily habit of eating an entire bag of Rice Works chips (or other cracker, chip, snack-food alternative).  I thought it would be hard, but I already don’t miss them.  This is one thing I learned (but had obviously forgotten) the last time I lost a lot of weight – when you cut out some unhealthy foods you worry that you are going to feel restricted and won’t be able to deal without having them, but within a very short time you barely even think about that food at all! quote 1

Another habit I am have been very aware of this week is night-time snacking.  Throughout my entire life, I have had the habit of mindlessly munching on snacks while watching TV or surfing the net in the evenings (usually Rice Works chips as noted above, or sugary cereals).  Most evenings this week, I made the conscious (and sometimes pretty difficult) choice not to snack unless I was actually having signs of true hunger (growling tummy).  On those nights, I had a few rice crackers with light Laughing Cow cheese (making sure to count my WW points) and a whole lot of water.  One night when the urge was really bad, I simply went to bed so I wouldn’t have to think about eating!  This one is still a bit of a challenge (I am sitting here now thinking about what I could snack on!) but it’s a work in progress!

quote 4Also this week, I returned to tracking all my food in a journal.  This was a tool that worked extremely well for me in the past, and in fact, I have never had weight loss success without using a food journal. It’s unbelievable how the simple task of writing things down, makes you really think about what you are putting in your mouth, and keeps you accountable for everything you have eaten.  The key is to be honest and to write down everything, good or bad!

When tracking in my food journal, for me this also means keeping track of my Weight Watchers points and not going over my daily target.  Again, I have had huge success with this program in the past, and highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to lose weight for the first time (or if you have never followed the program).  I learned so much while on Weight Watchers and while attending meetings.  This time around, I have decided to try following the program on my own at home.  WW (Weight Watchers) tells me that according to my height and weight, I should be consuming about 28 points a day.  I couldn’t believe it when my husband helped me calculate how many points I was eating on a given day and we came out to about eighty!  I was mortified.  Since I knew that jumping from 80 all the way down to 28 points just wasn’t realistic for me now, I decided to cut back slowly.  This week I aimed at consuming between 40-50 points a day and was successful!  This coming week, I am going to make even more changes so I can stay below 40 points per day 🙂quote 2

Another way I can stay within my points is by being active (you can earn activity points and deduct them from your food points).  Two years ago, I was super active (running 10-k marathons, playing soccer and baseball, doing crazy aerobics and weight-lifting classes, and participating in outdoor boot camps).  I had a strong, healthy, fit body I was proud of and my metabolism was insane.  But I know I can’t jump back into all that immediately.  I didn’t do that the first time, and I can’t do it now.  Instead, I decided to start out slowly by going for walks around my neighbourhood (which I hope to eventually build back up to running!)  A little while back, my daughter won a Fitbit and since she wasn’t using it, I asked her if I could.  A few of my friends at work have one too and we’ve been challenging each other as to who can take the most steps – it’s really been motivating me to go for longer and longer walks!  Although I lost our latest challenge (the Weekend Warrior) I am going to own the Workweek Hustle!

Finally, my husband moved our TV from the bedroom and set it up in the basement in front of our treadmill (that we rarely use). Since I am still saving for a new gym membership, I figure I can use the space down there for now on days when the weather doesn’t lend itself to walking.  Since the basement is pretty big and not cluttered with furniture, I can also use the space to do some of my Jillian Michaels workout videos which are killer and which I got huge results from in the past.

Inspiration for a fit, healthy body.

Inspiration for a fit, healthy body.

So these are some of the changes I have made in just one week.  If you’re facing the same weight-loss challenges as me, I urge you just to make a couple small changes.  It’s amazing how after only one week, your motivation level can increase significantly!  With that being said, I know it’s still a long journey ahead, and change will come slow, but now instead of seeing it as a daunting, impossible task, I feel excited about what’s to come!

Good luck on your own journey, and please share any tips/tricks that work for you!

It’s time… (A Very Personal Struggle)

Feeling great after the 10k.

Feeling great after the 10k.

Sometimes you need that one friend in your life who will tell you exactly what you need to hear, no matter how hard it may be to hear it.

Thank God, I have my husband.

We had a conversation today that I may not have wanted to have, but needed to  desperately.

We had a conversation about my weight.

It’s no secret that I have struggled with my weight for most of my life.  About four years ago though, I thought I finally had it figured out.  Over a course of a few years (and a lot of hard work!), I had dropped 65 lbs. and felt better than ever.  During that time, I learned so many things about nutrition, healthy eating, portion sizes, exercise, and fitness.  I tracked what I ate meticulously, attended Weight Watchers meetings regularly, and was constantly challenging my body physically.  I was over-the-moon with my new, slim, fit body and all the praise and comments I got from others. One of my proudest moments, was in 2011 when I completed my first 10k race as part of Ottawa’s Race Weekend.  I may not have been the fastest runner that day, but the fact that I had come that far in my fitness routine and achieved such an accomplishment was thrilling to me!

Bradley and I after running the 10k in Ottawa.

Bradley and I after running the 10k in Ottawa.

From 2010 until 2013, I maintained my weight loss.  I continued working out and introducing new challenges to my fitness routine.  I watched what I ate and my new, higher metabolism allowed me to have treats without wreaking havoc on my process.  I reached all kinds of milestones and felt a new sense of confidence and self-love that I had never experienced before.

Then I got married.

I don’t blame my marriage at all for my weight loss, it’s just the turning point for when I started gaining back all the weight I had lost. Shortly after we got married, I began a new job an hour away which drastically changed my daily schedule.  Ever since, I have done nothing but let my newly-formed, healthy habits go. Devastatingly, this has resulted in all 65 lbs. being packed on over the last two years.

Now, instead of the highly motivated, inspiring, and life-loving girl I was, I have once again become a person who is filled with disappointment, anger, and overwhelming sadness for what I have let happen. Why did I do this?  How come I have let this happen?  I swore to myself I’d never gain the weight back! I say to myself again and again.  The negative self-talk is overwhelming.

And like so many others, I let those terrible, negative thoughts take over me.  Instead of fighting back with positivity and motivation, I gave in.  I gave up all the habits I had worked so hard on, and resorted back to all the bad ones that got me into trouble in the first place. Instead of loving myself and working hard to improve myself, I sit on the couch, do nothing, and think about the next tasty snack I will eat.

Why do I do this?  I have no idea.  It’s like there is a constant inner battle in my own mind that utterly exhausts meMy own little angel and devil, each sitting on a shoulder.  One side tells me all the reasons I need to get healthy again, the other side tries to make excuses, tries to make me believe that I can be happy like this.

Except I know I can’t.

And my husband confirmed that this afternoon.  As tears of frustration streamed down my cheeks, he sweetly sat me on his lap and pointed to pictures hanging on our wall where I am fit, healthy, and happy. “You don’t smile like that anymore,” he told me. I cried.  I cried because he’s right, he’s so right, and that’s just the saddest thing to me.  All this time, I have been trying to convince myself that I can be heavy and happy and while I truly believe this is possible for some people, I know it just isn’t for me.

Strong body, strong mind.

Strong body, strong mind.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all about being skinny. It’s not about getting hung up over some number on a scale, or going on a drastic, restrictive diet. It’s about feeling good about myself.  It’s about being strong, physically and mentally. It’s about establishing habits that will improve my overall health, habits that will help me live longer, and be happier.

So it’s time.  It’s time to let go of all the anger, the whys, the how-did-I-let-this-happen?  It’s time to stop dwelling on what was, and time to start making changes to what is.  The fortunate part for me is that I have all the tools.  I know how to lose weight, get fit, and be healthy because I’ve done it all before.

I really believe today was a turning point.  My dear, loving, sweet husband made me realize that it’s time to let go of all the excuses, turn off the negative self-talk, and do something.  He cautiously and carefully pointed out to me what I already know – if I don’t do something, I am going to end up obese, miserable, and sick.  It’s my reality and it’s time to accept it.  I know him doing this was coming from a place of honesty and love, and frankly, I love him for telling me what I needed to hear.

I am not going to lie – thinking about starting all over again is daunting.  I am scared of failure.  I am scared I won’t know where to start, or that I will always be exhausted and won’t have the energy to go on.  But it’s time.  It’s time to start taking care of me again.  It’s time to stop all the negativity and to work for what I deserve ~ a fit, happy, healthy body and mind.   I’ve got this!  🙂