Little Changes Add up to a Whole Bunch

Me, at my heaviest in May 2011

I have been putting this post off, but I am at a point, where I think it’s time to share pieces of my recent and not so recent weight loss story. The WHOLE story would take a long time and no one wants to read a HUGE blog post in one sitting, so instead, I will share different pieces at different times. Since this is my personal story, I am going to share the pieces of it that I think might help others, which is often why I share the personal stuff with the world. Like many things in my life, this is a process, not the final destination.

I will begin with that back story that might help you understand how I could tough out the real changes. I will do my best to make it brief. 😉

I have struggled with my weight for years and years. However, I am not going to share the big whys and hows of the deep past. In college, I was able to get down to a great size, and ok shape. I was soft, but I was sort of happy with my body (I don’t think many college age girls are ever really happy with their bodies, but I could be wrong.) Anyway, right after I got engaged, without doing anything different, I gained 50 pounds REALLY fast. My mom sent me to a nutritionist, who found that I had a thyroid problem and that has a lot to do with the past 11 years struggles.

Anyway, for the past 11 years, my weight has gone up and down with my exercise routine. However, no matter what I ate, or how much I worked out, I was missing energy and the ability to lose a lot of weight. I was keeping my body from gaining weight, but I could not LOSE anything to save my life. I even tried Body for Life, and that worked a small amount, but not the drastic weight loss that I wanted.

In 2010 after many life changes, I started working out almost everyday. I went from a full-time teacher to a stay at home mom, so I figured it was worth a try to get in the best shape of my life before I went back to work. I worked out as hard as I knew how, tried to eat healthy, but in moderation, and instead of losing anything, in 18 months, I gained another 20 pounds. In the middle of the 18 months, a friend suggested that I start spin classes. There were morning options that fit with my schedule, so one morning a year ago, I started going and I was hooked. Despite the 3 spin classes, and two weight lifting times a week, I still put on weight and not the good muscle-building kind either.

I cried many nights of frustration. I hated the face I saw in the mirror, and I always wondered who that was looking back at me. I felt completely missing. I really was afraid that I was destined to be fat forever. I say the word fat, because that is how I felt. Plus, my son, who is VERY blunt, used that very word to describe me. It was so hard because I really didn’t know what I was doing wrong. For two years our family only ate whole grains, we gave up processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup. We tried to make sure all of our ingredients could be pronounced, and were out of real products, and yet my body kept gaining weight.

September 2011, right before I started spinning

Finally, in February of 2012, I tried the Super Cleanse. For 7 days, I didn’t eat anything, I just drank 6 homemade lemonades a day, plus drank a cleansing solution of water and sea salt each morning. It sounds totally crazy and it WAS. However, I lost about 10 pounds quickly. That told me that I COULD lose the weight, I just had to figure out how to do it for the long-term. The big change that happened in February, was that I decided to give soda up for lent. I didn’t think it was harming me because it was diet, however, I knew it really wasn’t that GOOD for me.

For years I have seen the message, “If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done.” I took it to heart, and decided that I could get caffeine out of green tea, instead of soda. So I said, “Good bye” to it for 47 days during lent. I wish I could say it was easy, but it was not easy. I love soda and had one pretty much daily for 15 years. I felt like I was banning a good friend, however, soda is expensive, not good for me, and it was the one thing I had never tried giving up before. I was lucky because my son also gave up something he loved for lent too. He was big motivator for sticking with it.

Once I was able to switch from soda to iced green tea for 47 days, I really did not want to go back to it. Fear is a big motivator for me, I became afraid of wasting my effort, so I continued to give it up after Lent was over. Those of you who know me well, know that this was so hard for me. During the 47 days of no soda, I didn’t lose one pound.

Finally, at the end of March, I said, “Enough is enough, it is time to make MAJOR changes in my life. This is not how I am going to live.  Period.” Plus, I have two kids who share may genetics, I NEEDED to figure it out in case they had similar problems years from now.

Feb 2012 – The month I gave up soda

The little changes weren’t giving me the results I wanted, so it was time to try something else I had never done before: a strict eating plan. I started easy, with the Biggest Losers 30 Day Jumpstart cookbook. I also got the whole family, kids included, to understand that our dinners would be straight out of that book for one month. We were all going to try something new. Some days we might like the food, others we wouldn’t. We all had room to grow our palate.  In order to get my daily veggies in, I also started making green smoothies.  Instead of following a recipe, I started buying the veggies that were on sale, and then blending up fruit with them until I could only taste the fruit. Some have been wonderful, and others terrible.  However, I, a veggie hater, have grown to tolerate and like more veggies than ever before.  My kids love them too.

The kids were afraid of the dinners from The Cookbook (it’s what they call that particular book) at first, but they soon realized that they liked the recipes. Actually, they did better with some of our menu items than I did. The biggest thing that the Biggest Loser cookbook did was get the processed food out of the house. I didn’t use bottled sauces, instead, I used homemade sauce combinations with fresh ingredients. We stuck to the dinners in the cookbook, but I did rearrange them according to sales in order to keep to our food budget.  The meals did not take long to prepare, they had simple ingredients, and LOTS of flavor.

Mid-April, I also gained enough courage to finally attend Body Pump classes at the Y.  I was tired of lifting weights, but not seeing any real results.  Although I had read SO MUCH about it, there is nothing being instructed by someone who KNOWS what they are doing.  After one class, I was hooked, and have been able to get out of bed at 5am most class mornings since.

Finally, I learned the biggest lesson of all: I needed to stop caring about others in my weight loss journey.

“Wait, what do you mean, you had to stop caring about others?” you might be asking.

I mean, I had to stop COMPARING myself to others. Who cares if the woman on the treadmill is running faster? Who cares if so and so makes fresh organic food from their own garden? Who cares what others do? I had to meet my body and mind where I was at, in that moment.  Acceptance does not mean that you give up, instead I have learned that it means to understand myself where I am, and to keep working toward my goals.  Acceptance is not the end of the journey.

By sticking to my April guidelines, by May, I lost the first 12 pounds since 2008!  YAY!  I honestly cried, I was so happy.

Ok, that’s enough for today. I will continue with my big and little changes another day. I started simply, by first getting more active, then giving up my favorite drink, and finally learning how to cook healthier, all natural food. However, there are more things that I did to get to where I am today. I hope you come back to read more of the story.

This is what I look like as of yesterday, September 2012.

Do you have any questions so far? If so, please share them!

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7 thoughts on “Little Changes Add up to a Whole Bunch

  1. Pingback: A Big Change: Gluten-Free Living | Our Small Moments

  2. Pingback: A Few Small Changes Add up to Whole Bunch, Part 2 | Our Small Moments

  3. I find you to be the cutest thing. Regardless of your weight, you have such a friendly smile and you look like someone I’d want to hang out with. That said, I loved reading about your journey. And I admire your perseverance in figuring out what would work for YOUR body. Go you. Can’t wait to read the next installment!

  4. Amazing! I have tried body pump and found it to be a great workout. If your YMCA has body combat, try that sometime too. That is one high impact workout too. When you find the right workout, the one you love, and the right foods, the rest will follow. Congratulations!

  5. Good for you! I know just how hard it is and you are so right about the stopping comparing yourself with others. I am down 25 pounds and that number has fluctuated a bit over the past month or so but I am trying not to let it bring me down. I have come a long way and I will not give up!

    • Thanks, Autumn! You are a big inspiration for me to share my story, since you write about your journey often. We all have ups and downs. The main thing to do is to keep it personal and ignore what the rest of the world is doing.

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