Saturday, July 3, 2010

Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle (Part 4)

If you missed the first 3 posts of this series, you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

In the final part of this series, I want to outline exactly what I did to lose the weight and what I'm doing now maintain my current weight. My total weight loss since the end of December 2009 is about 30-35 pounds. I have been maintaining for about 6 weeks now. Here's what I did.

To lose it...

  • Decided that I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and I was ready to do something about it.
  • Set a reasonable goal for myself to lose 20 pounds (I ended up losing 30-35). I aimed to lose 1-2 pounds per week at first and then half a pound per week at the end.
  • Became accountable by participating in weekly weigh-ins at a blog that I read. (This helped keep me motivated, too.)
  • Started moving more. I needed to get motivated to exercise again, so I decided to try the Couch to 5K program and blog about my progress to keep accountable. Seeing the visible results of my fitness level improving was VERY motivating for me. Since I am a competitive person, it was good to "beat" each previous week's time and improve my fitness each week. After about a month, I started having so much more energy, and I attribute this to exercising. Honestly, sometimes I hated exercising and I had to force myself to do it, but I always felt so good after the workout was done. I also made an effort to just move more around the house - less sitting around and more of housekeeping, gardening, etc.
  • Started a food and exercise journal to keep track of what I was eating and approximately how much. This was really key I think. It made me get honest with what I was eating. I didn't count calories, but I would write down a brief description of how much I was eating such as "small plate", "2 scoops ice cream", "15 chips" etc. to get estimates of how much I was eating. It is interesting to note that once I started writing down exactly what I was eating, I could see that I was eating way too much junk food (cake, cookies, pop, chips, ice cream, etc.). I didn't realize how much junk I was eating until I started writing it all down. If I flip back from when I first started my food journal and compare what I was eating then to what I'm eating now, there is a pretty big difference. The exercise journal was important, too. Because I had started running on the treadmill, I did keep track of how many calories I burned. I aimed to burn about 1500 calories per week.
  • Participated in weekly weigh-ins. Each Monday I weighed myself and checked in with the blog I read.
  • Kept track of my progress. I wrote down my weekly weight so I could see my progress.
  • Planned healthier meals. I had already been menu planning, but I decided to put more effort to create healthier menu plans. For example, we eat fish more, we eat a lot less creamy dishes than we used to (and if they are creamy, I alter the recipe to try to reduce the calories.) I also experimented with and planned ahead for making different salads and vegetable dishes to get us eating more fruits and veggies. We ate more homemade soups, too. (not the creamy kind, which I don't like anyway.)
  • Started eating breakfast.I used to hardly ever eat breakfast, but I really believe eating breakfast is important to losing weight. It sounds backwards, but I think that it helps prevent overeating during the day. For breakfast, I usually just have 1-2 pieces of toast, fruit, and the occasional egg. Bold
  • Ate simpler, healthier lunches. For lunches, I would usually have a tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, leftovers, or a fruit smoothie and omelet.
  • Ate out less and made smarter choices when eating out. I also stopped feeling bad if I didn't finish all my food at a restaurant. We all know how the portions at a restaurant are enormous.
  • Paid attention to hunger/full cues. I had to teach myself to quit eating when I was full and only eat when I was hungry. This meant that if I had half a sandwich left but felt full, I would wrap the sandwich for later and stop eating. This also meant that if I was hungry at 2 in the afternoon because I had a smaller than usual lunch, I would have a snack such as and apple or smoothie or piece of toast. I think I was really used to overeating before and that feeling of being "stuffed." I now absolutely hate the feeling of being stuffed and hardly ever overeat because I don't like that feeling anymore. When I do occasionally overeat now, I regret it because I hate that feeling.
  • Allowed myself treats and didn't ban any food. I still ate cookies, cakes, chips, ice cream, and pop. I just ate it less often and ate less of it. I went from drinking pop nearly every day to drinking it 1-2 times a week at most (and then less of it at those times, too.)I would opt for a small piece of cake instead of a big piece.
  • Made lower-calorie substitutions for some of my favourite foods with "instead of that, eat this" philosophy. For example, I used to drink a lot of homemade milkshakes and iced cappuccinos. Instead of homemade milkshakes, I made homemade fruit smoothies with fruit, orange juice, and yogurt. Instead of munching on chips, I munched on lower-calorie popcorn or rice crisps. Instead of snacking on ice cream and junk food all the time, I started snacking on foods like grapes.
  • Didn't get discouraged when I hit a plateau. I hit a weight-loss plateau for about a month. I actually thought that I was perhaps at the weight I would maintain. I looked at my food journal and saw areas I could improve on. After about a month, I started losing again and lost 10 more pounds.
To maintain my current weight...
  • Weekly weigh-ins. I still weight myself every Monday and keep track of my weight in my Home Management Binder. I have been maintaining my weight for about 6 weeks now.
  • Determined to not go over a certain weight. This is pretty key to maintaining, I think. No, it is not all about the numbers, but I still want to ensure that I do not let the weight slowly creep on again. Now that I'm at the weight I believe to be my healthy, normal, non-pregnant weight, I have a certain number that I refuse to let myself go over. If I ever see "that number" (which is about 3-4 pounds more than my current weight.) while I'm not pregnant, I have decided to work it off as soon as possible. I will not allow myself to ignorantly let the weight creep on again.
  • Active lifestyle. Right now I actually am not regularly exercising like I was before when I was losing the weight. Because the weather is warmer now, I prefer to walk outside than jog on the treadmill. I do still try to go for a run once in awhile because I'd like to maintain my fitness if possible, but I do not have a set number of calories to burn each week anymore. Instead, I am trying to just have an active lifestyle. I take my baby for walks during the day when it's nice outside. I walk to garage sales. We take walks in the evening sometimes, too. I loosely aim for 3-4 days of purposeful walking (30-45 minutes of brisk walking) or exercising per week. I have been thinking about possibly starting to run regularly again and train for a 10K run, but currently I am not doing that.
  • Maintain new eating habits. This has been easy and I actually hardly have to think about it anymore. Where it used to be "normal" for me to always overeat, it is now normal for me to hardly ever overeat. It is normal for me to eat and cook healthier foods. It is normal for me to eat just less of everything. It's normal for me to only drink pop on occasion.
  • Keep a food and exercise journal. I am not as disciplined about this as when I was losing the weight, but I still loosely keep a food and exercise journal. I have noticed that when I don't do this, I don't eat as well as I should.
That's about it. Please note this is not medical advice. I am simply outlining the things that have helped me lose the weight and now maintain my current weight. Our bodies are each different. What worked for me may not work for you. Our metabolisms are different, too, so some of us will lose weight more easily than others. My ultimate goal was (and still is) to be healthier and to take better care of my body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I want to nourish my body with good food (at least, most of the time) and keep my heart healthy and strong by keeping active, all while keeping a biblical perspective. Remember that ultimately it is not our size but our heart that matter to the Lord.

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I just found your blog through Keeping the home :)
Congrats on weight loss and maintaining it :)

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