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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

12 Things I've Learned So Far

I've been on a diet since March 20, 2012.  I have eaten what I like, but less of it.  Some days it has been extremely difficult & other days, it's fine.  The reality is not only do I like to eat, you must eat to live.  Eating isn't like smoking... you can't just quit, so learning how to manage what I eat is my best hope for a non-obese life.

While on this dieting journey to my perfect size, I have realized a lot of things about food, diets & all the "advice" I've read about dieting... and most importantly why dieting didn't work for me in the past.  So below are the first dozen things I learned thus far...

#1- Not only do I like to eat, I HATE - got it???? H A T E to exercise!  Really, I do hate it!  And by exercise I mean "going to the gym", "running", "jazzercise"; "walking 60 minutes a day", "walking on the treadmill"; "sit ups"; "push ups" or any other thing that I was forced to do in gym class so many years ago. 

#2 - "Exercise" actually means "movement" - any kind of movement... So while I don't walk every day, I do try to go "play in the dirt" at least weekly.  Pulling weeds, transplanting flowers and shrubs, carrying bags of mulch & soil around the yard is movement, therefore counts as "exercise".  And, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floor, vacuuming, washing windows, even cooking & going grocery shopping are considered exercise.  When I log all my activities into a tracking tool & see how many calories I burned, I feel like I've accomplished something.  It's motivating!

#3 - From a purely volume perspective, I really didn't eat all that much - but from a calorie perspective - well, it's no wonder I got so big! 

#4 - In order for the scale to move in the right direction, I MUST limit my salt intake and I MUST drink water.  The least little bit of salt winds up pushing the scale up 1 or 2 pounds in a day!  And while I know it is "water weight", if I'm honest with myself, it is still discouraging to see the scale creep up even a pound...  So--- I am trying to remove it from my diet & it isn't easy.

#5 - I must weigh myself daily - at the same time & on the same scale & the scale must be in the same exact spot on the floor.  I do this to focus on weight change - and deviating from any of these can cause the weight change to not measure accurately!  I find it so odd that if I move my scale to the left or right, that my weight will change - within seconds - so there is something to this theory - for me at least.  I'm a science focused person, so I do need to see changes in the scale and be able to correlate them to my food intake--- No once a week weigh in for me - been there, done that & failed. 

#6 - I do like vegetables.  And while I prefer pasta, potatoes and rice (in that order), I really can do without a ton of it if I have good veggies on the plate as well.  I toss them in olive oil, add some seasonings & roast them to bring out the sweetness or the intense savory flavor.  Meat - well, I can take it or leave it... 

#7- I eat candy when I want to eat candy - like today after a particularly hard day at work, I went to the store and got 1 Snickers bar.  The key is that I can't buy the pack with lots of little candy inside because if it here, I will eat it!  Same goes for muffins - so I will only be making these on Saturday when I know I will be taking them to church to share on Sunday!

#8 - While I am much bigger than I want to be -( I've got between 40 & 50) more pounds to go, I feel great that I have actually lost 30 pounds!  I don't look like I want, but my good curves are beginning to show again and that is a good motivator to choose my foods wisely.

#9 - Kitty was right.  After 12 weeks on the diet it got considerably easier to stick with it.  I've been on for almost 6 months & with the exception of when I am baking, I dono't really feel deprived. 

#10 - 10 pounds lost does not correlate to 1 pants size!  That's nuts.  I have lost 30 pounds and I have only went down a little over 1 pants size!  I have lost plenty of inches off my waist, but my hips, thighs and butt are moving at a much slower pace.  So while plenty of people say "throw the scale out & watch your clothes"... that would never work for me!  I don't loose weight in a specific spot... I loose weight all over.  so while 20 pounds lost did show up in my face and my hands (my ring started slipping off), it didn't show up that much on the lower half of my body.  Without the daily scale, I would have never been able to stick with this process so long.  I need my scale!  I'm even thinking about taking it on the cruise with me in 8 weeks!

#11 - To be successful, I have to be fanatically strict about my food when I am traveling!  Eating in airports is rarely good for me.  Too much salt and sugar... just too much of everything!  I have to make sure I eat before meetings (so I can avoid the muffins, bagels & croissants they always put out around 9:30 or so).  And I have to drink water!  For some reason when I eat junk while I'm traveling it seems to send the scale up faster than when I am home... Odd, but I've found it to be true (for me at least).

#12 - So going back to the beginning... after 6 months, I still hate exercise & won't be doing any "standard" exercises any time soon ( or ever!).  I have, started living like I did pre beseness (that might not be a word -lol)... I did not get in the car to go to a store that was a 1/2 mile away.  I did not sit for 9-10 hours a day without taking time to eat lunch - even if lunch was only a slice of pizza!;  I did not eat pasta every chance I got.  I did however, eat popcorn at the movies, I ate something every morning & I ate lunch every day.  Dinner was often skipped because I truly wasn't hungry.  I enjoyed the outside & enjoyed the neighborhood.  I went dancing, I tried new things.  In essence, I moved more.  And since I have now hit the inevitable plateau,  my plan is to move more!