Saturday, December 15, 2012

A post a day--Dec. 15: My Weight Loss Journey

In the past few weeks, I finally reached my weight loss goal that I've been aiming for since January 1st. It was a Big Deal and felt so good to achieve this! :)  Obviously, I had hoped to hit my goal long before  November, but I had also given myself the whole year, and I'm so happy that I made it within that time frame.  Now I have gotten a little bit below my goal and am still losing.  I'd like to lose somewhere around 5 more pounds and then maintain that weight.

I thought it would be good to record a bit about my journey and some things that worked for me along the way.  My goal is not to make anyone feel bad or compare themselves to me.  If reading weight loss success stories encourages you, please read on. :)  If not . . . go ahead and skip this post!

Here's a bit of my story, going back a long way . . .  All through high school and college, I didn't struggle with my weight at all.  I used to say that I could eat whatever I wanted, and not gain weight--and it was true.  I didn't weigh myself very regularly, but I stayed in the same size clothes for years.  In college, I weighed in once in a while on a roommate's scale, and I hovered around 117 lbs. most of the time.  My freshman year, instead of gaining the "freshman fifteen," I actually lost some weight--probably around 5-10 lbs.--due to a really bad cold I had between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where my appetite seemed to disappear!  So anyway, I probably averaged between 115-120 lbs. up until I got married.  And then . . . I started to gain.  Not that much at first; I think it just kind of crept on, little by little.  Suddenly, in 2003, I woke up to the fact that I had gained around 15+ lbs. since we got married 4 years before.  And I didn't have the excuse of pregnancy--we didn't have any kids yet!

Sometime in early 2003 (the details are fuzzy because I wasn't keeping a blog back then!) I decided to really put some effort into weight loss.  I weighed 136 lbs, and I wanted to get back down to around 125.  I started carefully tracking my calories using a website called FitDay.  It was time consuming, but again--I didn't have any kids to take up my time, so I faithfully entered my foods each day, kept track of calories and fat grams, etc.  I also started walking more and doing some exercise videos in our tiny trailer.  Within a few months, I had lost 10 lbs and dropped a size or two.

Within a month or two of losing the weight, I got pregnant with Sam.  I had a healthy pregnancy and gained maybe 30-35 pounds total, much of which came off right after he was born.  But the lowest weight I got to before getting pregnant with Julia, was 136--back where I had been in 2003.  After having Julia, I again lost most of the baby weight, but only got down to 139 before getting pregnant with Josiah.  And after having Josiah, I couldn't seem to get lower than 135 and actually stay there!  I mostly hovered between 136-140 for several years.

Last year, after a number of half-hearted attempts to lose weight, I looked at our family Christmas picture and didn't like what I saw.  My face looked chubby, and so did the rest of me!  It was around this point that I decided 2012 would be the year that I would really get serious about taking off the extra pounds.
our Christmas picture last year--the one that made me take action!

On January 1st, I stepped on the scale to get my official beginning-of-the-year weight.  At that point I was up to 142.8 lbs.  I don't share the numbers intending for everyone to make comparisons. :)  I hope you won't!  I'm only sharing so that you can see where I was then and where I am now, and to encourage you that your own goals are not unachievable!  For some of you, 142 may be a dream weight.  For others it might sound really heavy!  Everyone is different and my ideal weight is not likely to be the same as yours.  A lot depends on body type, bone structure, etc.

For sure, starting at 142.8 and looking ahead to a goal of 125, seemed a bit overwhelming.  I knew I was going to have to take some serious steps to get the weight off, and I was going to have to have discipline--something I'm not very good at. :)  I want to take the rest of this post to share some things that really helped me to keep focused and keep pushing ahead, even when it was hard.
Julia and me at the ocean in October--15 lbs. lighter and much more energetic
  • The biggest thing for me was taking baby steps toward my goal.  The first month, I cut out all sweets and I lost 5 pounds just by doing that!  It was hard to "detox" after a holiday season of careless eating, but it was well worth it to jumpstart weight loss.  Another month, I focused on drinking more water.  Another month I worked on portion control.  In July I focused on exercising every single day.  All of these things added up to help me keep on track and also helped me not get bogged down with trying to do everything at once.
  • I read some books that inspired me and motivated me to keep working hard.  The first was Candace Cameron Bure's Reshaping It All, and the second was Lysa Terkeurst's Made to Crave. While I enjoyed them both, I'd most highly recommend the second--I found it very helpful in so many ways!  
  • I made exercise a regular part of my life.  Up till this year, exercise was something I'd have great intentions about, and would even stick with for several months at a time, but I didn't make it consistent.  Now I'll admit, I have not exercised completely consistently this year, either.  For instance, the past 6 weeks I don't think I've exercised at all--first due to being sick for about a month, and then because we moved our living room around to make room for the Christmas tree, and there's not room to jump around in there at present. :)  But . . . once the new year arrives and we get our living room back to normal, I'm planning to jump in again!  I discovered my favorite workout for the year--the 30 Day Shred--and I've gone through it almost 3 times now.  It's fast, intense, and gives me great results!
  • I found out that personal challenges are really helpful for me.  As mentioned above, one month I challenged myself to do the Shred every day.  I picked July to do this--no idea why, since it is probably the hottest month around here!!  But I did manage to do it.  Another month I did a "skinny plate" challenge, and most recently I completed an 8 week challenge, which I believe is what helped me break out of my "plateau" that I'd been in for several months, and finally lose the last few pounds to reach my goal.
There is probably so much more I could say about this topic, but I know this post is pretty long already.  :)  I realize that what I weigh, and whether it varies between several pounds at any given time, is not really a big deal in the grand scheme of life . . . and it should not be my primary focus in life, either. :)  At the same time, I have seen several benefits of losing weight.  I feel better in general.  I've had to buy new clothes (which is definitely a benefit, aside from the fact that it costs money!) in several sizes smaller than what I was wearing at this same time last year.  I have more energy (especially when I'm exercising consistently).  My husband has been known to call me "skinny"--not just once, but multiple times!! (This may be the best benefit of all. :))

I hope my story has been encouraging to someone.  Even though I've reached my goal, I'm not crazy enough to think my story is finished!  I could just as easily fall off the fitness wagon, go back to eating whatever I want, whenever I want, and those pounds could creep back on far more quickly than they came off.  I'm already dealing with lots of Christmas goodie temptations. :)  So I'll be challenging myself once again in the new year, to continue to be disciplined and reach some more goals.  I would love to have some of you join me, if you'd like.  There is huge encouragement and motivation in accountability!

And now. . . I'd better get this posted while it is still actually the 15th. :)  Sorry for such a long-winded post, but 

1 comment:

Mrs. Smith said...

I enjoyed reading about your weight loss journey! After stepping on the scales this morning, I wasn't a bit pleased with what I saw, so, after the holidays, I may need to take some action. I will be referring back to this post for some tips!

I thought you looked great in your Christmas picture last year, and you look great now!