This is looong. But, you asked for it!
So, due to the recent weight loss surge, I have received a lot of questions on how I did it. People want to know what I'm eating, what my work-outs are and how I fit it all in. I love all the people that sent me e-mails, truly wondering what my secret is. I am honored, yet don't feel worthy of your admiration.
However, because I love you all...I will share the secret with you.
Are you ready?
Do you want to get a pencil and paper?
Go ahead...I'll wait.
The secret is...
Eat with variety and moderation in mind and get yourself moving more often.
I know. Not what you were looking for, but the honest truth. But, I can dive into it a little more.
First of all, I cannot say enough about Weight Watchers. They make me accountable and have OPENED my eyes to the crap I was eating before. I'm amazed at what I assumed was harmless...only to find out that I was WAAAAY over-eating.
A fourth of a cup of peanut M&M's? 5 points. (Who can eat just 1/4 a cup?)
One packet of honey-mustard sauce at Wendy's? 4 points (Seriously? You have to count the calories from a dipping sauce?)
I may not have thought that I had horrible eating habits, but when you get down to it...I did. Weight Watchers made me become HONEST with myself about what I was really eating. When I should only be eating 29 points a day...and I'm consuming 60 points a day...you can see why the problem occurred in the first place.
Secondly, it has FINALLY (after years and years of struggling with this) clicked, as to why I eat so much. I associate every emotion with food. When Josh and I had a fight and I got stressed out...I soothed it with french fries. When the kids have made me crazy all day...pizza and ice-cream could fix it. When Josh is at work and I am lonely and bored...nachos were my friend.
I finally realized that I can control that. The food is not solving anything. It makes me feel worse, because I know that it's wrong and I've let myself down. I had lost all respect for myself. Nothing in this world, tastes as good as confidence and respect for yourself.
I will always be a recovering "emotional eater." Even just the other day, when I was stressed about finals, my first thought was, "I need a frosty from Wendy's." Seriously, I think I have voices in my head. The kind that medication won't take away. Thus began the internal struggle:
"A frosty would taste so good."
"You don't need a frosty. Do you know how many points that would be?"
"But it will relax you and make you feel better."
"You know you'll just feel like crap after you eat it."
"No one will know that you caved and ate it. Just get one."
It finally had to just ask myself, "Do you really want a frosty? Or are you just eating because you are stressed?" Once I was honest with myself, I knew that I didn't really want ice-cream. I wasn't feeding my stomach, because it was hungry. I was feeding my frustration, because I was burnt out on finals.
Having that control over my thoughts, has been a MAJOR break-through. When you lie to yourself about what you ate, or why you ate it...you are only hurting yourself. No one else cares what you've done. You are just cheating yourself out of the body that you really want. For some reason, at least for me, being honest with myself and being accountable to myself, is so much harder than doing it for other people.
Thirdly, eat a variety of foods. This was pushed over and over again in my nutrition class. First, think about what you eat...now figure out a way to make it healthier. I'm not talking about going vegetarian and completely organic. (Hey, if you want to...have at it. It's just not something that I am going to do!) Do you like french fries? Make your own at home, by baking them. They are just as good! You like spaghetti? Choose a whole wheat pasta over the white. I promise you, your family will not be able to tell the difference. (Pause for a moment here. I choose wheat EVERYTHING. It is so much better for your body and has so much more fiber, than the traditional white stuff. Wheat is available for a lot of things now. Bread. Pasta. Tortillas. Rolls. You may have to play around with the brand you get, to find the one that tastes the way you think it should, but as long as it is 100% Whole Wheat or Whole Grain, you are making a really good change in your diet. Multi-grain is NOT the same thing. It just means that there are multiple kinds of grain...it doesn't mean that the good parts of the grains have been retained.)
Try different vegetables and fruits, that your family wouldn't normally try. Or try different kinds of foods that you do eat. You like apples? Try all the varieties, to get the maximum pay out in vitamins and minerals. Find different ways to prepare foods. Steaming is, of course, the best way to prepare vegetables. Surprisingly, the next best way is microwaving and lastly boiling.
One thing I was shocked to learn during my class, is how much sodium I was consuming. (Sodium = Water Retention = Weight Gain) I LOVE black beans in my salads, but I was appalled at how much sodium is in a can of black beans. With that said, do I now soak my own, instead of using canned? No. I don't have the time, nor the thought capacity to plan on when I want some black beans. But, I do choose frozen vegetables over canned, to lower my sodium that way.
Speaking of water...drink more of it. 6-8 cups a day is preferable. Crystal light is a good substitute if you can't choke down that much water. (I can't!) However, with that said, still try to have some plain water each day.
Lastly...exercise. The word we all love to hate. For me, it's something that I have to force myself to do. It's not that I don't love it, because I do, but I have to force myself to take the time out for me. An average person should be getting 30-45 minutes of cardio, most days of the week. That is a good place to start. Adding in weights is something that you can do later. You really should have some kind of resistance training (Lean Muscle = Faster Fat Burning), but if you aren't doing anything...begin working on the cardio. Another thing you must do, is change it up a bit. I walked 4 miles a day, several days a week, for about 8 months. It wasn't doing anything for me, other than giving me a chance to chat with a friend. Your body adjusts to your work-outs rather quickly. You need to be changing it up. Right now, I do the elliptical for 2-3 weeks and then switch to the treadmill for another 2-3 weeks, then back again. Change the speed, vary the length and switch up the incline. Anything to keep your body guessing as to what you will do next.
You have to decide how important you are...and fit your work-outs in. Do my kids suffer because I work out? No. Do I miss anything important, so that I can go to the gym? Absolutely not. But, is my house a little dirtier? Maybe. Do I clean out the van every week? Nope. Do the kids get top ramen and green beans for dinner, instead of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, once in a while? Yup. You have to find the time to squeeze it in.
There you have it. People get paid millions of dollars, to write 200 page books, to tell you the same thing. (And I gave it to you for FREE!) :)
When it comes down to it, you have to do two things.
1. Decide that you want to do it.
2. DO IT!
You don't tolerate procrastination and excuses from your kids, or from people you work with. Don't allow yourself to get away with it either.
**"The information presented in this post is for informational purposes only. It is based on my personal experiences. The results reported may not be the same for all individuals. Consult your doctor or practitioner, before following my advice. Because, I'm just a Mom. What do I know?**