One Year Later
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In August of 2008 I turned 45 and made a final resolution to myself to get fit. I knew there was no quick fix and that the right way to lose weight was the ‘natural’ way-the slow way. No pills. No liquid diets. No ‘diets’, period. But I didn’t really know what that meant. So I started making my own lunches using whole grain breads and turkey breast or tuna. I packed a full lunch box with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt to get me through the day. And it was a year ago today that I was googling low fat recipes and I came upon the SparkPeople website.
“The most important thing about goals is having one.” Geoffry F. Abert
I signed up for the free membership and set a goal. I am on pace to make my original goal, to lose 90 pounds by December 31, 2009. Over the last year I have lost 65#, for good. How do I know that it’s gone for good, you ask? Because when I found a couple pounds sneaking back up on me, I knocked them right back off. And just as I began to wonder if I was still making progress, Kristy made a couple timely comments about the improvements to my legs and the tone of my arms. Even during moments of weakness, eating less than quality foods, being lax with my cardio and keeping an irregular schedule, one thing kept me foraging ahead. Desire.
Like my runner friends who chant a personal mantra to push themselves further, I have a couple song lyrics that keep me going;
‘How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming with that one thing on your mind?’
And when I get frustrated YOU, my sparkfriends, are there to kick me in the butt, to remind me how far I’ve come or slap me upside the head with your flip-flops. Your support and encouragement, laughter and tears, questions and comments are the fuel to keep me going when I wonder just how much is left in the tank.
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” Bill Copeland
The key things I have learned are so obvious that I almost feel silly to mention them:
1. Nutrition-lays the foundation for the body you want to build. This is key, because while ‘balanced’ nutrition is the goal, that balance will vary depending on your goals. The nutritional mix for a runner is different than for a body builder, etc.
2. Strength Training-builds muscle, tones and shapes. Additional muscle also helps to burn more calories while at rest, a double-bonus.
3. Cardio-burns fat to display the muscle tone. We’ve all got muscle tone. The question is, ‘can you see it?” If you want the special effects that come with HD-MT (high definition muscle tone), you’ve got to subscribe to the right provider-cardio.
4. Attitude-brings it all together. The most important thing, (IMHO) that rarely gets noted, is this mental aspect. And honestly, I think it is the hardest part.
“Nothing can stop someone with the right mental attitude from achieving his or her goal; nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson
Once I made a true commitment the weight just started falling off. The most important thing I have learned is that you must absolutely have your head in the game to make this work. If you are new to fitness and you are reading this, here are the key things that you MUST do in order for a successful start in this journey:
§ Make a commitment to yourself. This has to be for you, because YOU want it, because YOU need it, because YOU want to improve your life. You will be amazed by the trickle-down of positive changes to your life by improving your health.
§ Be honest, offering FULL disclosure. What do I mean? Say what you really weigh-out loud. Share it. Take pictures and look at them. If you are not willing to share where you are starting from, chances are pretty good that you’re not ready for this change. I never told anyone what I weighed until I made the commitment. In that moment, I realized that it is just a number and it’s a number that I could change.
§ Take responsibility. Look, just like you, there are a million and one things going on in my life. There always has been. Three boys, a partner, a job/career, extended family issues, convenience; you name it there are way too many places to put blame. But there’s only one place it belongs and that’s on me. This is a lot of work and I am the one who was too lazy to do anything about it. Plain and simple.
§ Set a goal. What do you aim to accomplish? Be specific. Instead of ‘I’m going to lose weight’ say, ‘I’m going to lose 40 pounds by March 1st’.
§ Create some plays and implement them. What will your nutrition plan be? When will you do your strength training? When will you do your cardio? Let’s not just run up and down the field and never score! How will you incorporate your new routine into your daily life?
I have gotten out of this process, exactly what I have put into it. I’ve created new goals and have a new vision of myself. I’m 25# from my original goal with three and a half months in my original time frame. That’s a piece of whole-grain, low-fat, sugar-free cake...yum!