Well folks, here is the post I’ve been promising for so long: the before/after post of my first 10 lbs. lost on my new get-healthy plan. I’ve done a lot of Change It Ups by now, but without a doubt, I’m by far the most proud of this one. You see, this Challenge has been a long time in the making.
I think everyone (except the perpetually fit who can eat whatever they want and never have it show *cough* my husband *cough*) has a weight story. Mine was pretty positive actually, until I hit college and packed on the dreaded Freshman 15. After my freshman year, I went in for a doctor’s appointment and discovered I had high cholesterol. I was shocked, to say the least. I’d always been pretty skinny, and I’d never dreamed of finding out I’d have to deal with a health problem so young.
Then began the yo-yo dieting: the drastic cut-out sugar, cut-out everything diets that lasted about a month before I started binging on everything sweet in sight. The weight would go down, then up, then down, then up (but higher this time). I had never gotten to the point though, where I really felt that bad about myself. Until my mission.
When I went to El Salvador for 18 months to serve a mission for my church, I somehow managed to pack on 25 pounds, despite hours of walking and continous sweating every day. And even though all the Latinos had been telling me that I was looking a little “gordita,” I was in denial about it until a companion’s health scare landed us in a doctor’s office, where I stepped on the scale for the first time in a year. I was SHOCKED to see how much weight I’d gained, and even more shocked (and sickened) to find out that I was officially now in the “overweight” category for my height.
I tried cutting down on eating so many greasy pupusas, but I still came home 20 pounds heavier than when I’d left. And, despite a couple hours every day at the gym and some more crash diets, I’d only managed to lose about 5 pounds more since getting home. For the first time in my life, I felt self-conscious about having photos taken of me, and I felt like my prettiest days were over. It’s hard to admit all this out loud, but my weight really started to affect my self-image. Even on my wedding day, when I should have felt the prettiest, I still didn’t feel quite like the “me” I wanted to be on that day (not that I dislike the pictures from that day, because I actually love most of them–it was just hard to get used to this “new” me in pictures).
And then I had a life-changing experience.
After gaining five pounds back after getting married, Matt and I were sitting in church, and the speaker was talking about promises. He was talking about how promises used to mean something to people—that a person’s word was all it used to take for complete trust to exist between two parties, even two hostile ones. He cited scriptural examples, and I remember being struck so clearly with a thought just then: I thought of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey that I had read so many times when I was younger. There’s a part in there that talks about a relationship bank account—when we make “deposits” into our bank account with other people, our relationship is healthy and grows. If we make constant “withdrawals,” we deplete trust and the relationship is left emotionally bankrupt.
But the part I remembered in that moment is when Covey talked about the personal bank account—the relationship we have with ourselves. Quoting from the book, he says, “We should treat the commitments we make to ourselves as seriously as those we make to the most important people in our lives. If you’re feeling out of control in your life, focus on the single thing you can control–yourself.”
I realized that I’d stopped trusting myself because I’d made constant promises to myself that I’d broken. Promises like, “I’ll lose my mission weight as soon as I get home” or “I’ll finally get my cholesterol down to a healthy range” (my New Year’s Resolution for this year). And then it struck me: the only way to start trusting myself again was to keep the promises I made to myself. And to not wait any longer to start doing it.
The very next day, I came across a blog that was talking about how a website (www.myfitnesspal.com) had helped her to lose almost 15 pounds in a couple months. I logged onto the site, entered my stats and my goal weight, and was delighted with the site right away: it gave me a daily calorie goal to reach my weight loss goals, and calculated all my calories in and calories out for me. Earlier in the year, I’d tried writing down my calories (check out that Change It Up here), but the habit had not stuck because it was too time-consuming to look up everything myself. This site made it so easy that I had no excuse.
Over the past month that I’ve been doing this, I’ve become much more conscious of what I’m eating and the choices that go along with being healthy. I learned that I don’t have to cut out all sugar to lose weight—but I did learn that when I did eat sugar, it would mean that I might be hungry later or that I’d have to put in extra gym time (since I made a firm resolution to stay under my calorie goal every day). It sounds silly, but I finally feel free when it comes to my eating—before, when I was so unhappy about my weight, I would feel guilty about everything that went into my mouth. Now, I realize that it’s all just about choices—if I make the choice to eat that piece of cheesecake now, it will hold consequences for me later. And I’ve often made the choice to simply not eat it, since it’s easier some days to do that than to work out or eat less later on.
After a month, I’ve lost ten pounds. I have no secret, except commitment to the promises I’ve made to myself. I still have almost another 10 pounds to go until I hit the weight I was at before I put on the Freshman 15, so I’m not done yet. And my biggest realization? This isn’t just about now. This is about forming healthy habits that will last me the rest of my life. This is about never letting myself get back to the old, out-of-control version of myself. This is about feeling great about myself again.
And for the first time in a long time, I really believe myself when I say that I will do all of that.
Change It Up Breakthrough: I’ve learned to trust myself again! SUCCESS!!
***P.S. Most of my “fattest” pictures were deleted immediately by me, but I still had a few. It’s really hard for me to post these, so be nice please!
***Oh, and if anyone wants to be my “friend” on myfitnesspal.com, just look for torriemeidell 🙂