Friday, December 30, 2011
My Weight Loss Transformation Inside and Out
Gasp...cringe...gulp...oh boy, here it is, an old pic of me, before my weight loss! I have shared my weight loss story on the blog before, sharing my own personal struggles, in hopes of helping others along the way. I however have never mustered up enough courage to share any pics of the "old me" as I call it, even though I was obviously younger 8 years ago, but let's not do the math ;)
Today I am finding the courage to share this dreaded pic, in hopes of bringing encouragement and words of advice to those making a New Year's resolution to lose weight. I think my story will surprise you. You may be surprised to hear, I sometimes get hate mail, from folks thinking that I eat bacon all day. One commenter even wished me a "heart attack". I don't let it get me down, at least I do my best not to, because I know if they read and followed my blog, they would know it's not all bacon, and I don't live an unhealthy lifestyle.
I am not a doctor nor expert on weight loss, but I have certainly found things that work for me.
I was younger, but I didn't feel or look it. I wasn't happy with myself, my weight was a heavy burden on me both physically and emotionally. I had struggled with my weight since childhood, and it got out of control while in college. I was watching what I ate, working out daily, and yet I kept gaining weight while in school. I think the stress of overloading on classes and working full time too, really affected the way my body functioned. Studies now are showing that stress can affect how many calories our bodies burn. Then while driving one day, a man pulled out in front of me, running a red light, and I hit him going approximately 55 to 60 mph. Luckily no one was killed, my truck was totalled, and unfortunately I was left with chronic pain in my neck and back. This didn't aid my battle with weight loss. After graduating college, getting married, and having my first child, I still struggled with weight. Again I was working approximately 65 hours a week, and I believe the stress was my worst enemy. Restricting calories and working out seemed to have no effect on my weight. Finally one day I gave up. I told myself that I would continue to try and make healthy food choices and stay active, but I wasn't going to beat myself up over my weight anymore. I was simply going to do my best to be healthy regardless of that number on the scales.
So as crazy as it sounds, I quit going to the gym, and started working out at home using exercise videos. I also started taking long walks once or twice a day. I was never comfortable working out at the gym, while heavy, so it made sense in my battle to relax and avoid stress, to simply work out at home. Guess what, it worked, I started losing weight. I think in the past working out always seemed stressful, so my body never reaped the full benefits. Now that I had focused on making my workouts an enjoying time, a peaceful time for me to be alone with my thoughts, I was seeing real results. I didn't lose the weight over night, but over approximately a year and a half I reached my goal weight. During that time, we went to a single car family, so that I could afford to work fewer hours outside of the home, reducing my stress load a bit more. I would keep a food journal to keep me on track, watching my total calories and sodium. In other posts I have talked about how important I feel a lower sodium diet can be.
The weight loss transformation really did affect me inside and out. Besides physically feeling comfortable in my own skin, I felt free to be the happy person I always knew I could be. As time went on, I found I was not only able to maintain my weight, but eat more. I know again, that must sound crazy, but I truly believe I reset my metabolism by reducing my stress and enjoying my peaceful power walks each day. It is true when
I say I eat more now then when I was approximately 100 pounds (gasp) heavier. Since being diagnosed about a year and a half ago with hypoglycemia (hence the "hungry hypo") my appetite is always great. With continued workouts and frequent meals, my hypoglycemia has been little problem for me, besides always feeling hungry, that sort of sucks. Both my parents are diabetic, but I am hopeful I won't develop it through a balanced lifestyle.
So my words of advice to those trying to lose weight, simply be happy. Find a workout routine that you find fulfilling. If you enjoy going to the gym, then do it. I personally prefer getting outdoors and speed walking. The fresh air, relaxes me, and makes my workout not only enjoyable but more beneficial. With your diet, make changes that you can stick with. If you reduce your calories to less then 800 a day, you may lose weight, but over all I really believe you will only hurt yourself in the end, by stunting your metabolism. Then when you eat more, you gain weight, and will have the dreaded yo-yo effect that so many people battle. For more tips that I have found work for me you can read my older weight loss post here.
In the mean time, I hope you found my story and advice helpful. If you need someone to talk to for some encouragement, I am just a click away. If you stumble with your battle to lose weight, or have a bad day, don't beat yourself up. We are all only human, and no one is perfect. Forget unhappy moments from the past, and start today with a smile. Happy New Year's Eve everyone!
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