Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fit to be Tied

I have my mug of milk, my bottle of water, dinner is in the crockpot, school is done, kids are quiet, the house is vacuumed and dusted-though the bathrooms and floors need scrubbed- and I am sitting down in my favorite blogging place, ready to write.

Instead of pen and paper, I have our trusty laptop. And, theoretically, the words will flow. (though lack of words never seems to be much of an issue for me)

preferred blogging spot
Biggest Loser
I am thrilled as I read various blogging friends' accounts of their weight loss journeys. Some are just embarking. Some are discouraged in the way. Some are triumphant successes.

Well, this post today is for any and all who have ever desired to lose some weight. Or to tone something. Or to be fit and healthy.

Because I am your little cheerleader. I want you to know that I believe in you. I know you can do it!

And I want to tell you its not going to be easy.

Who likes the reality show, The Biggest Loser? I love it! I find it terribly encouraging and inspiring that these huge people, season after season, lose literally a ton of weight. And, if they can get their couch potato butts on the move, I can get mine up and going in the morning.

But, The Biggest Loser is not easy. The contestants all say that emotionally and physically, it is one of the hardest experiences of their lives. They literally work their butts off.

Week to week, we see two hours of their week. And, they aren't lounging by the pool drinking mimosas for the other 166 hours we don't see. There are scenes in the gym, and in the kitchen, and doing challenges, but that is a just a sliver of the time they spend working out. I hear their days range from 6-8 hours working out-everyday. No breaks. No holidays. No weekends.

That schedule is not easy. But it obviously does pay off.

Real life people cannot spend 6-8 hours everyday working out. We have kids, jobs, ministry, LIFE to live. No matter how this is touted as reality television-it isn't reality.

Its NOT Easy
I have shared before that I am on my own weight loss journey. It is a journey in that it never ends.

The summer I was 19, I left for CA as a camp cook. I weighed 185 pounds. By cutting out pop that summer (it wasn't available), drinking lots of water, eating less, and walking and swimming every day, when I went home 11 weeks later, I was 40 pounds lighter.

I have kept that weight off for the past 14 years-excepting my 4 pregnancies. I would gain 25-30 pounds, and lose it within weeks. Until Meres. With Meres I gained a whole lot more weight. Last summer I was fat, and I was NOT happy.

Since recovering from her birth, I started running again, and swimming, and I took that weight off. But it was a fight! It was not easy. And it took months. Not the 11 weeks of my 19th year.

My current fitness journey includes training for a half marathon to be run before this month is up. It includes swimming 2-3 times a week. It includes the long term goal of participating in a triathlon next September. That training will begin after this 1/2 marathon is run.

My journey includes trying to be disciplined about what I eat. Saying no to too many carbs and sweets and saying yes to lots of veggies and fruit.

one of my excuses for a baby belly

(Oh, and it is only mildly amusing when each of my kids has gone through the stage of doing sit ups and leg lifts with mom. There I am, huffing and puffing working on that baby belly they have each added to, and they are just popping up and down, swinging their legs in the air. Not amused.)

See that is the thing. We hope that losing weight is going to be easier this time than last time. We hope we have found the diet or product that is going to make those pounds melt off easy-peasy.

But, I'm here to tell you...there is nothing easy about losing weight-EVER. There is no 3 step program that works. Not in the long term. There is no diet that works. Not in the long term. 

The reason I can say that definitively is that if all these diets work, why are the "revolutionary new things" always popular? Always getting purchased and tried? The one before it that we tried didn't work. We didn't get the results we were hoping for. And we are not happy with how we look and how we feel.

It is hard to get up and move when you'd rather be sleeping or reading or doing anything else. It is hard to say no to foods you love. It is hard to keep going when the weight isn't coming off. Self control is hard. (Check out this great post by Johanna on just how hard it is.)

But it is just as hard to do nothing.

It is hard to look in the mirror and not be at all happy with how you look.

It is hard when people give you pitying or disgusted or mean looks because of your weight.

It is hard to go shopping for clothes that fit, and not be the size you want to be, or even the size bigger. It is hard not finding anything that fits. It is hard when everything makes you look fat.

It is hard to not be able to keep up with your kids. To not be able to do what you want to do.

You got to ask yourself, "which hard do I want?"

The key to losing weight and keeping it off is not diet. It is not exercise. It is sustainability. It is about changing your lifestyle.

The litmus test is, "am I willing to do this diet/exercise program for the rest of my life?" If not, it will probably work temporarily, but if it is not sustainable, you are going to end up where you started or worse.

I believe that sometimes Biggest Loser drastic is necessary to get on course, but then you have to come up with a sustainable life plan.

If you like sweets and decided you are going to give them up completely in order to lose weight, are you willing to commit to that forever? For me, that is too big of a goal. I love sweets. I can't give them up totally forever. What is sustainable for my life is limiting myself to one dessert a day.

This applies to what you are going to stop doing, and what you are going to start doing. The give and the take. The negative and the positive.

It applies to exercise and activity. Exercise is necessary for building muscle, and staying fit and strong. Pick an exercise that you enjoy. Don't call it exercise if that is off putting for you. Walking, running, swimming, tennis, ballet, soccer, yoga. There are tons of options. If you hate the activity, you aren't going to keep it up.

second favorite spot
It Gets Harder-and Easier
When you are on a weight loss journey, you will find that you can form good habits, and things will get easier.

You may have a bad day, or even a bad week, but you realize that since this is a journey, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and thank God for a new day, and for second chances.

As you exercise you flood your body with those happy endorphins. You get a high from working out. And even if you don't see results on the scale, you feel better about yourself, because you did something.

You see glimpses of success in how you feel, in how now something fits, in a lower number, and you are encouraged to keep going.

You get stronger. You build endurance.

You find yourself a partner, someone to keep you accountable. Someone to be your cheerleader. Someone to get fit with you. And you keep going.

You blog about your successes, or tweet them, or Facebook share them. Your friends give you a virtual high five. And you keep going.

Because, I am in this journey too. I have good days and bad days. I know the pain and tiredness, and the joys and triumphs. But, I've not arrived. I'm in this for the long haul.

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