Anyone who has made a major change in their life knows that typically there is something or someone who is your inspiration. It may not be what motivates you to get started, but its what keeps you plugging along when things get tough.
I started out dieting because I was tired of being the fat girl and I wanted to make sure that I was around to see my kids grow up. When I started this journey they were one and three. They had more energy than I could handle. I found myself struggling to keep up with them. While I will always count my children as my motivation for getting this journey started (and even part of the inspiration to keep going), there is something else that drives me.
Its that feeling of knowing that you are now one of the crowd. So many people spend a large amount of energy trying to stand out, trying hard to be anything other than ordinary. It's funny how to someone who has been over 300 pounds it nice to be able to blend in.
Even more inspirational is knowing someone who has gone through the journey before. Someone who can give you pointers, knows what you are going through, and knows just what to say when you are struggling. I have been blessed to know several people who have been successful with extreme weight loss. I thank each and every one of them for being there for me. I have one good friend in particular, who we will call "A" who has been with me through it all. Without "A," I may never have had the confidence to even attempt to lose weight. "A" lost more weight than I am attempting to lose, so its great to constantly see that motivation in front of myself. If "A" can lose x pounds, I can lose 130." "A" has also successfully kept it off for over 3 years through healthy eating and continuing to work exercise into their routine. When I was feeling overwhelmed by slowing weight loss, "A" always reminded me that it takes time, that when you do it the healthy way it isn't going to happen overnight, that a person can be amazing no matter what their weight may be. When I decided to start running in January, "A" supported me 100%, never made me feel like I was slow (I WAS, trust me), and was constantly encouraging me and complimenting me on my accomplishments. Everyone needs a friend like "A." I know that I will be relying on "A" a lot when I get to the "maintenance" stage, I hope I can be as successful. I want to thank each and every one of you who has been there for me through all of this, those of you who have listened to me go on and on about nutrition information, exercise, etc.
Anyone who has been overweight knows that its not a diet, its a lifestyle change. I have made some very positive changes in my life, but of course it is overwhelming to know that for the rest of my life I have to think about what I am eating. I will have to make conscious decisions to eat only the healthiest foods to fuel my body. Since I haven't talked in great detail about how I have lost weight, here are some big changes I made:
1. I used to drink 5-6 diet soda's a day, I cut back to only one.
2. I used to eat mostly all processed foods (think hamburger helper, prepacked sides dishes, etc) and now I am cooking almost everything from scratch.
3. I have tried to increase "natural snacks" like fruit and air popped popcorn and decrease the amount of chocolate, etc in my diet.
4. If I want a dessert, I do berries and fat free cool whip, apples with fat free caramel dip or a low fat graham cracker with a teaspoon of Nutella if I am craving chocolate.
5. I don't eat salads for a whole meal as a general rule. I have meat, carbs, and vegetables at most meals. When I eat just salads I find it is hard to stick to.
6. USE SPICES - there are some really awesome diet foods out there which make uses of spices and as a result, they don't taste healthy!
7. I have cut back on sodium - I try to stay under 1500 mg a day! This is probably the hardest!
8. I used to drink NO water at all, now I drink at least 8 bottles of water a day.
9. I drink water or chew gum to curb hunger!
10. Nothing is off-limits - everything in moderation. I try to make one day a week where I can be a little more lax with my food choices. I try not to go crazy, but I do allow myself to enjoy foods that are typically off-limits on a diet
11. Make healthy substitutions: 2% cheese instead of regular, skim milk in place of 2% or whole milk, brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat pasta instead of regular, using lean cuts of meat, and eating light bread instead of regular bread (aunt millie's makes a fantastic light potato bread and its only 35 calories a slice).
12. SALT SUBSTITUTE - I use it in place of salt in almost all recipes except baking
13. When shopping, compare brands if possible, you would be surprised how different nutrition is on some basic items depending on store brand (for instance, cottage cheese is crazy different depending on brand). I find this to be especially true of sodium content.
So there you have it, how did I lose 116 pounds? With a little motivation and inspiration from my kids, inspiration and support from "A" and my other friends and family, and pure determination (being slightly OCD helps with this one).
What is YOUR inspiration (for weight-loss, running, or whatever your passion may be)?