Friday, June 1, 2007

Weight Loss Milestones

I'm a classic yo-yo dieter. I think I've spent my whole life either trying to lose weight or wishing I could lose weight or regaining weight that I've previously lost (with a little bit of interest of course). Sound familiar? *sigh* A couple of years ago I read an article that was saying that people who were continually on the weight loss / weight gain cycle had higher rates of early morbidity than people who were overweight. That was a real wake up call for me. After all, what was the purpose of spending so much of my life miserable if it was still going to shorten my lifespan?

From that day on I decided that my bigger focus needed to be on my health rather than my weight. And that I wasn't going to make any changes that I wasn't prepared to maintain on a permanent basis. So, no more dieting for me. The simple word "diet" to me implies a temporary, short term change to reach a goal. That method simply wasn't working for me. And I'd rather be healthy and overweight than unhealthy and the correct weight. Of course, the best of both worlds would be to be living a healthy lifestyle AND have a weight within my healthy weight range.

It was hard to begin with because for the first month or so I continued to gain weight. I worked on 1 change at a time (around 1 per month) until it became a habit. Things like drinking more water, increasing fruit intake during the day, increasing how many vegetables I cooked with tea, introducing beans and lentils to my diet, cutting back on butter and margarine. Just small little changes at a time that are finally adding up to an overall healthier me.

Exercise I tackled in the same way. When I first started it was an effort to walk for 10 minutes or ride the exercise bike on 1 for 10 minutes. By slowly building on that I can now run 5+ km at a time and ride the exercise bike for an hour using settings 3-8. It didn't happen overnight but it is happening! :-)

Just like with all things there have been ups and downs. My first Christmas/January on this plan (which was about 6 months after I started) I gained 4kg and lost some of my momentum and drive. Things plateaued for a while. In the lead up to my nervous breakdown I wasn't sleeping well and exercise started to fall by the wayside as I was simply exhausted. Then some of my medications interfered and throughout the worst parts of my illness my weight fluctuated up and down quite a bit.

So far this year things have been going better. I don't regularly blog about my weight loss efforts as I like to deny the fact that I'm overweight. I'm certainly not one to publicise how heavy I was, although the ticker at the bottom of my blog now gives that away. Now that I'm finally seeing some success I decided to "out" myself when it comes to my starting and current weights. :-)

This week I've reached a couple of milestones and wanted to share them. I've managed to lose 10kg for the year. That works out to just under 0.5kg a week. Nice and slow which I think is the healthiest way to lose weight. Also gives my skin the best chance to keep up with my weight loss. I've also finally gotten my waist measurement under 88cm. My goal is to get it under 80cm as there is diabetes in our family and they recommend keeping your waist measurements below 80cm to reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately I'm one of those people who carries weight around my middle which is the unhealthiest place to carry it. A waist above 88cm increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease even further so this was my interim goal with my waist measurements. I also started wearing some size 10 clothing this week which was quite exciting. Naturally it depends on brand, fabric and cut as to what size I am, but it still feels quite good.

So why am I blogging about this now? Partly to share my success and partly to encourage anyone that might read this post that it can be done and it doesn't have to mean a lifetime of deprivation. No foods are banned or restricted in my life. I do aim to eat healthy foods at least 80% of the time and I have found that my desire and enjoyment of some unhealthy foods has reduced as my diet has increased in healthy foods. One thing I have been VERY aware of is not reducing my food intake too much. The last thing I need is to slow my metabolism down. You read about people who've lost a heap of weight and what they survive on in terms of food seems so miniscule. Hey, I want to live and I LOVE my food. My theory (which is yet to be fully tested) is that if I can lose the weight while eating regular amounts of foods, then I should be able to maintain that loss and still enjoy a reasonable amount of food as well. I prefer to eat smaller amounts often to keep my metabolism up and the hunger bugs at bay (eating before I'm starving and will eat everything I can lay my hands on ). If I feel like eating chocolate, I do. What I do try to avoid is eating chocolate mindlessly. But if I want it, I eat it - after all, I'm not on a diet! If I feel like dessert (which we don't often have anyway), I have it - I can because I'm not on a diet! But I have to really feel like it. It's been very freeing and I'm sure it helps with the "forbidden fruit" type temptations (ie. wanting it more because it's not "allowed").

I never EVER thought I'd be one to jog 5km but by taking very small babysteps and building up your fitness gradually - it can be done. I haven't actually been exercising in order to lose weight. I've been exercising to boost my serotonin levels and improve my overall health. It's hard getting started but it really does make a difference. It's a good feeling even to make new achievements with fitness. I have days where I don't feel like exercising - mostly I do it anyway and feel better for it. Occasionally I give it a miss for a day. If it becomes a chore, I'm more likely to stop completely and that's not what I want to happen. My intention is to continue exercise and building my fitness slowly for as long as my body allows me to be active. Time will tell if I manage that I guess. :-)

So there you have it. There's a bit of my own story and what I have and haven't achieved so far. If you want to follow my progress weight wise - there's a ticker at the bottom of my blog. :-)


Kirstie said...

WOW Jodi, well done on the weight loss!!!
I haven't checked your blog for have gorgeous kids :-)
Your son is going to break hearts with those blue eyes!
Take care

lightening said...

Thanks Kirstie :-)

Our poor children didn't have a chance when it came to eye colour. DH and I both have blue eyes so we're all blue eyed in this family. I get a lot of comments about DD's eyes but of course, you can't see that in her photo. LOL.

Kez said...

Congrats on your weight loss - so proud of you!

Baby steps really work for a lot of things, don't they?!

lightening said...

Thanks Kerrie. Babysteps are certainly the way to go for most things - don't know how I ever survived before learning that concept. :-)