Monday, April 19, 2010

Motivation Mondays #1: The Beginning of a New Me

I've had a bit of an epiphany in the past week or so. I have been wanting to lose weight for a while now; in the 7 years since I graduated from high school I've gradually put on about 40-50 lbs of extra fat and I would guess about 15-20lbs of that in the past two years or so. I know it's due to life changes and therefore stress causing me to eat more, and eat more crap. Plus, once I got into University I just became more busy and more sedentary.

I currently stand at 173 lbs according to the new scale I bought yesterday. Which means my BMI is in the 30's (for the record for my age and height it should be between 20-25). Yikes.

Since I have a small frame, I look smaller than I do; I know you're thinking "lucky you", but this is not necessarily a good thing because it means I didn't realize how big and unhealthy I truly was until it got way out of hand. I haven't been happy with my body for years now but the real wake-up call has finally come to me.

For one, Wednesday afternoon in Boston I literally went out and walked ALL DAY. I've done this before so this is nothing new, but the difference this time is I felt like I had been run over by a truck by the time I got back to the hotel in the evening. My ankles and legs/hips hurt and were so stiff I had trouble walking the rest of my time there. Sure, it's only natural to feel tired and worn out after walking all day but someone who is only 25 years old and in good health should NOT be having joint pain and should not be THAT tired. It was not only my legs, but my back and neck that felt the tension. To make a long story short, this trip made me realize how out of shape I really am. I mean I knew I was, but didn't realize the extent. I've totally been in denial.

For two, I was in a clothing store last week and tried on a pair of pants I really wanted (and were not cut slim, I might add) and found that the Size 14 did not fit. It was so tight around my butt and hips I could barely get them up. When faced with putting on a Size 16, I was completely disgusted. I've never had to wear that size in my entire life. Now, I realize that different stores' clothes are sized differently and that everyone has different body types; I'm not trying to say that anyone who wears a Size 16 is disgusting - ABSOLUTELY NOT. You can be just as healthy at a Size 16 as at a Size 8 - it depends on your build. But this was a store that that sells clothes made for curvy women, first of all, and second of all I'm only 5 feet tall and have a small frame so a Size 16 for me is not normal.

Furthermore, I am starting to carry a large amount of my extra fat on my tummy, and not only does this make me feel unattractive, it's also extremely dangerous to my health considering heart disease runs in my family, and carrying fat around the middle is a huge risk factor for heart problems.

Needless to say I left that store in a bad mood and with no new pants under my arm. I was angry with myself and fed up with feeling fat and tired. I decided I really needed to make a change, and make it now before I develop chronic health problems, like diabetes, that I'm stuck with for life. Also, my best friend's wedding is in June and I don't want to look at the wedding photos for years to come and just be thinking about how fat I look (how sad would that be?!).

These experiences and thoughts were stewing in my mind when I read a blog post by one of my favourite bloggers, Selective Potential, about her experience losing 35+ lbs and doing it all on her own with Weight Watchers. I am NOT someone who believes in fad diets - I believe the only way to truly lose weight in a healthy way is by eating right (and in smaller portions) and exercising. I'm also not someone who likes rules or being told what to do, and I have to have freedom and flexibility in my life or I go insane. I'm also notoriously impatient and bad at sticking with things; it's not strange for me to give something a week then give it up when I don't see results like INSTANTLY. So, you can imagine how well my personality lends itself to diet and exercising.

However, one thing about me is that once something becomes routine for me, I can stick with it really well. Reading Tieka's story, and talking to my mom (who has done WW a few times before) made me realize that doing WW on my own could be just the thing that works for me. Yes, you have "rules" and have to record whatever you eat, but you also have flexibility; you can essentially eat what you want, you just need to watch portion control, and balance out the "bad" things with the good. You don't have to live like a rabbit and eat lettuce all day. Plus, all of the points values for foods are already laid out for you, so there's no guessing. You just look up the food item and record the number. Also, you have some extra points each week that you can dip into, so if you want to go out to a pub with friends and have a plate of fries you can, as long as you do it in moderation. You can still live your life and enjoy eating.

Aside from this, WW will provide me some accountability more than anything - having to write down what I eat each day will keep me "honest" and will allow me to see what exactly I'm putting in my body (which is something that's easy to ignore). Plus, my mom is going to do it with me so I will be accountable to her as well. We've agreed to talk each day about what we ate and any issues we have experienced. If I have a deathly craving, I know I can call her and she'll talk me out of it. It will be really motivating to have a "buddy" to keep me on track and share my success with.

So, starting today I will be recording everything I eat and the points values, and completing 30-40 minutes of activity daily. I would like to ultimately get down to about 125lbs, as that is considered a healthy weight for my height and age, but I know if I focus on losing 50 lbs in a certain timeframe that I will just be intimidated and disconcerted and have no chance of sticking with it. Instead, I'm only focusing on the first two weeks and the first 10lbs. I'm giving myself two weeks to be really good, to stick 100% to my diet and exercise plan. I figure if I can make it through the first two weeks, I will be more likely to stick with it in the long term because it will become routine. Plus, I figure losing 5 lbs in that amount of time is realistic and doing this will be both a boost to my ego and make a huge change in how I feel and look. 10lbs will make an even bigger difference, and because it is a perfectly attainable starting goal, won't overwhelm me and cause me to give up before seeing any results. I hope to lose 10lbs in the next month to 6 weeks and I'm not allowing myself to buy ANY new clothes until I reach that goal. I figure you can never have too much incentive!

I should mention for the record that this will be more about how I feel and how my clothes fit than the number on the scale. Scales and numbers can be deceiving and depend on many factors. I'm really just hoping to see a noticeable difference in how I look and feel in the next 4-6 weeks. I know I'm not as confident a person as I could be because I'm really not happy with how I look and feel. As shallow as it sounds, this affects how I interact with others and how I present myself. I'm not naive and think that losing 10, 20 or even 40lbs will cure all of my self-consciousness and make my entire life better, but I'm just hoping that I will gain at least gain some confidence and will feel more comfortable putting myself out there.

Wow, sorry to blab on. I usually am long-winded (no wonder no one reads this silly blog!) but I'm more so today because I'm really excited about this! I really feel like I'm going to stick with it this time. I realize it's only day 1 and I'm prepared for my motivation to go down the tubes in coming days, but I feel deep-down I really really want it this time, and that's going to make all the difference. I plan on writing a post each Monday with my results, thoughts, worries, accomplishments and issues from the previous week as this will be another great motivator for me and a way to share my experience as I'm sure there are many others like me out there who are struggling with weight as well. Not to say that my way is the right way - I really believe you have to find the right plan for you, tailored to your lifestyle and personality - but it's one way. I'm not exactly proud of the fact that I've let myself get to this size and have taken my health so for granted, but at least I'm taking charge now, and again it all goes back to accountability and writing my experiences on this blog will be another "check-and-balance".

In fact, I'd really appreciate any comments you have about your own experiences along these lines. Have you had similar weight issues? What did you do or are you doing to combat this? Please feel free to share - we are all in this together!

Wish me luck! New me - here I come!

14 comments:

Mark F. said...

Good post! I did Weight Watchers back in my teens and lost about 50 lbs, it's a pretty good system. I liked it because it taught you how to eat properly overall, rather than just how to eat whatever's on a specific diet plan.

I always see ads on TV for companies who'll send you their food to lose weight, and it just seems silly to me because you're not learning anything that way, you're just being fed.

Good luck!

Kim Humes said...

I totally agree, Mark. WW isn't preachy - it's not about 'you can't eat this' and 'you can only eat this'. You can make your own choices and you're not starving yourself. Anyone I've talked to that has tried WW seems to have really good luck with it (you had great luck by the sounds of it!). Thanks for your comment!

Erica Gabriel said...

If you ever want a gym/ walking/spin class buddy give me a call! You can definatly do this.

Allison said...

I am about to strap on my running shoes for the first time since the fall (I can't take running in the cold) and it's funny that I decided that today was the day - the same day you decided to start changing your life.

It will probably hurt like hell - but I'm hoping I can keep at it and start feeling better about myself! I don't own a scale, but I know where I'm a roughly and i know what my problem areas are.

Kim Humes said...

Erica - thanks so much! That means a lot. I may need to call on you lol. Allison - good for you for taking that step also. We can lean on each other for motivation- you can definitely keep at it! If I can, anyone can trust me lol

Allison said...

I just got back from my run and I must say that it went better than expected.

Tieka, Selective Potential said...

I'm so so glad my story was able to inspire you - seriously! That means the world! And you can do this! I was in the same rut and it was something I really wanted for myself (I see the same passion in this blog!) and I know you can truly accomplish this and get to where you want to be if you work hard and keep this passion alive in every single day. I always wrote myself notes "every day counts" and just made sure that every day.. I did what I was supposed to do and ate what I was supposed to eat - and in the end, I was insanely happy with the results. Keep it up girl, this is going to be an amazing ride! I promise!

paige said...

I've never done a diet program but I do record everything I eat. I've not had a weight problem but I'm a vegetarian and I needed to record what I ate to be sure I got enough protein, fat, etc. in my diet. I was shocked when I first began - it's amazing how things add up! I've keep up with what I eat (using my own system) for about 5 or 6 years and I never miss a single thing. It makes me feel like I'm taking responsibility for myself and it keeps me accountable. I've been able to refuse things I don't need to eat because I don't want to have to record it and see how much of an impact it has. I figured out about how many calories I need and that's my goal for the month. I have a spreadsheet to average it out for me and I enter items daily and track my progress. I also track my weight and measurements because I like to see if anything changes. It makes me feel a little bit guilty when I really overdo it but it feels so great when I do well! It sounds like you have a good system planned - I wish you the best of luck! If you need any support let me know!

idée_géniale said...

I think this is great and the fact that you're being realistic is even better! All the best of luck.
I too have been feeling the "winter weight" and am vowing to get back into shape as soon as possible!

Leslie Limon said...

I recently made the same decision. I've got more than a few pounds to lose and started a blog just to document my progress, feelings and failures.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you'll visit my blog.

http://thef-worddiaries.blogspot.com/

idée_géniale said...

I think this is great and the fact that you're being realistic is even better! All the best of luck.
I too have been feeling the "winter weight" and am vowing to get back into shape as soon as possible!

Kim Humes said...

I totally agree, Mark. WW isn't preachy - it's not about 'you can't eat this' and 'you can only eat this'. You can make your own choices and you're not starving yourself. Anyone I've talked to that has tried WW seems to have really good luck with it (you had great luck by the sounds of it!). Thanks for your comment!

Allison said...

I am about to strap on my running shoes for the first time since the fall (I can't take running in the cold) and it's funny that I decided that today was the day - the same day you decided to start changing your life.

It will probably hurt like hell - but I'm hoping I can keep at it and start feeling better about myself! I don't own a scale, but I know where I'm a roughly and i know what my problem areas are.

Erica Gabriel said...

If you ever want a gym/ walking/spin class buddy give me a call! You can definatly do this.

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