You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It’s called perseverance.
~ Lee Iacocca
I laughed when I chose this quote, because I thought about how it also applies to how B and I met (read more about that here)…
One of my goals before the wedding is to be at my optimal weight and in tip-top shape. Don’t worry–this blog is not going to turn into a woman’s bitter diatribes on calorie-counting and weight loss. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty turned off to calorie-counting.
About four years ago, I joined WeightWatchers, and was very successful. I still highly suggest WW to anyone who is just getting started on a weight-loss journey, or who needs a little guidance about what, exactly, makes up a healthy diet. Pre-WW, I would literally eat a Chipotle burrito as an after-school snack. I honestly just didn’t know any better; I wasn’t raised in a family where calories were ever talked about, and I had no concept of what was enough and what was way too much. WW was an eye-opening experience for me, and I was able to completely overhaul my eating habits. I’m proud to say I made a lifestyle change, and will never go back.
Recently, however, the scale has slowly crept back up. As soon as I noticed an increase, I got right back in the door at WW–and gained four pounds. WHAT?! I was so frustrated. I was doing all the “right things”–sticking to my PointsPlus goal, working out, tracking all my food. But every time I’d step on the scale at a meeting, and the number was higher than the week before, the receptionist would give me a sympathetic look and whisper, “Rough week?” “NO!!!!” I wanted to scream, “I did everything perfectly.”
Come January, after the holiday season, I decided I needed a new approach. So far, it’s been working for me, so I’d like to pass it along.
Step One: Kick up my workouts
When I tell people I love to workout, they look at me like they know I’m lying. For the past four years, I’ve worked out five or six days a week without fail. Running, Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Boot Camp, Zumba–you name it, I’ve done it, I’ve loved it. However, one thing I’m not so great at is pushing myself during a workout. I generally just make things up as I go along–a few bicep curls, a round of squats, run a few laps, 60 minutes on the elliptical… I lack direction.
So, my first decision was to shell out the big bucks for a personal trainer. I was a little skeptical at first. What would she tell me that I didn’t already know? I taught fitness classes in college, was certified in group exercise, and have devoured Shape magazine every month for three years. But what I gained from Lucy was a new mindset when it comes to working out: “If you’re going to commit the time to working out, why not give it your all?” I know, I know. It’s so obvious. But, honestly, it completely changed my attitude toward activity. I used to hop on the elliptical and move along at a moderate pace for an hour and call it a workout. Now, Lucy has me super-setting, running intervals on an incline, climbing the StairMaster, and more. She designs custom-made workouts that target my own personal needs (like toned arms for a wedding dress and a flat belly for Hawaii!). Let me tell you–it totally beats anything I ever did on my own or from a magazine. And, I’m seeing results already. It’s been a month, and though the scale has only moved a couple of pounds, I’ve narrowed my waist and my hips by 1.5 inches.
Step Two: Consider my eating habits
I use the word “consider” here, because I don’t believe in a complete overhaul of my diet, cutting all carbs, or follow some crazy “cleansing” fad. But I once read (don’t ask me where) that maintaining a healthy weight is 20% exercise, 80% diet. Personally, I’d like to talk to whoever made that rule and see about reversing it.
My second decision was to stop counting points. Like I said before, I am not knocking WeightWatchers. It is a fabulous program that has taught me so much over the years. I just think I’ve outgrown it. I’d like to think of myself as a WeightWatchers graduate. Just like I wouldn’t go back to high school and re-take all of my classes, it’s time for me to go out into the world and put my knowledge to work.
So, what am I going to do now? I’m going to listen to my body. I’m going to eat when I’m hungry. I’m going to eat until I’m satisfied. I’m going to treat myself to that rum & Diet on a Friday night, and I’m going to go out for fro-yo with B–just not every night.
However, one key that I’ve learned from WW that I will continue to do is to track my food. For the past four years, every morsel I’ve put in my mouth, I’ve then written down, and I’m going to continue to do that. I’m not going to count calories, or points, or carbs, or grams of fat–I’m just going to write it down. For me, it’s the accountability that is the key. My mantra will continue to be: “If you bite it, write it!”
I put together a new tracking tool that I’d love to share with you. You can download it by clicking here (if this format doesn’t work for you, shoot me an email and I’ll get it to you). You’ll notice that if you print the tracker front/back, each page is one week. You’ll also notice that I choose to have my week start on Wednesdays. This is because I’ve found Wednesday mornings to be a good time for me to weigh in. I’ve given myself some time to “recover” from the weekend, and I can gear up with a healthy start before the next weekend. You might find that this doesn’t work for you, so by all means, change it! Start your week on Monday, or Friday, or whenever you’d like.
I’d love to hear any questions, comments, suggestions you have on what’s worked for YOU in the past!
Oh, and by the way, I totally believe in reward systems. So, what will my reward be when I get back to my feel-good weight?? An iPhone. Yay, Verizon, for finally jumping on the bandwagon!