Just 20 lbs……..

“Just 20 lbs, that’s all”

This was said to me by my doctor in 2006 after I had thrown my back out.  Just 20 lbs and my back would have less stress on it and feel better.  He was right.  Losing those 20 lbs helped.  But I didn’t stop with just 20 lbs.  I went on to lose 85 lbs, reaching my goal weight in January 2008.  I vowed then, that I would NEVER need to hear those words again.  I was NOT going back to daily pain in my back.  Not after finally finding freedom from the pain. 

And then, a couple of weeks ago another doctor said to me, “Just 20 lbs”.  There it was. Those words again…… Only this time, it wasn’t my back that prompted those words, it was my hip. 

I have had pain in my hip, at times so severe I can’t stand, walk or sleep.  So, I went to the orthopedic and heard those words again.  Weight gain affects so much more than my self-esteem and how I see myself, it also affects my health and my body.  My hip is not happy with this weight gain and no matter how many times I tell myself it is time to do something about it, I sabotage myself. 

Yes, I sabotage myself. 

16 years later, hearing those words again hit me hard.  I am NOT back where I once was (now needing to lose 35lbs not 85 lbs), but I am at a weight that is not healthy for me.  And healthy is far more important than how I look.  I have goals.  I want to participate in my granddaughter’s life, not watch.  I want to live to a very old age and enjoy my life, not spend it watching from the sidelines.  I want to hike and enjoy the outdoors.  I want to skip down main street at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.  I want to go on walks with my husband, swim in the pool, shop, dance and so many other things that require my hip and my back to be healthy.

So, I am working on it.  Imperfectly.  But working on it.  I have started to make changes.  I am working to change my mindset.  I am sabotaging myself a little less each day (I am not perfect and still fight that sabotage, while acknowledging the wins along the way)

Just 20 lbs. and then more……

One-pound-at-a-time.

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I Got on the Scale

I got on the scale. 

I have not stepped on that darn metal box in over 2 weeks.

I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  My clothes are really tight and uncomfortable.  But…. I was not prepared for the number I saw.

How the hell did THAT number happen? 

I sat down and before I knew it, my cheeks were wet. Yes, the tears had come.  I was shocked, angry with myself and frustrated!

The thing is, I knew this was happening.  I just didn’t want to admit it. 

It is very easy to lie to myself.  All the things that work for me, that keep me healthy—eating fruits and veggies, tracking my food, cooking healthy meals, walking—I was doing those things. 

You see, we can tell ourselves we are doing all the right things.  We can track our food and it looks like we are doing really well- points and/or calories are where we need them to be.  Step counts on our tracking devices show we are getting those steps in.

But what all of that doesn’t tell us is how honest we are not being. 

Tracking food only works when I track EVERY bite, EVERY sip.  If I eat the chips, cookies, candy, donuts, cake, and a myriad of other snacks, and I don’t track them… well…. They still count.  NOT tracking food does NOT mean the food doesn’t count.  My daily points may show I am doing well, but the untracked foods, well they tell a different story. 

Eating those healthy meals are GREAT but when I eat them AFTER I am over-stuffed with salty and sweet snacks, those healthy foods really don’t do much to help me, instead they now become a part of a greater problem.  They become an illusion of healthiness, behind which the truth is hidden. 

Wearing my fitbit is awesome.  It keeps me aware of those steps.  Most days I hit my step goal.  And hitting that goal or going over is just another illusion.  How many of those steps were gained through walking and how many of those steps were gained by folding clothes or moving my arm back and forth during my normal day?  How many of those steps were actually from intentional exercise that got my heart rate moving?  Not many, I can tell you that.

It is very easy to hide behind the illusion of healthy eating and exercise.  And then look for “reasons” for the weight not coming off- there must be something wrong with my thyroid or other health issues going on or maybe it is a medication that is making me gain weight rather than lose, afterall, my trackers show I am doing well…..

BUT the scale doesn’t lie.  Clothes don’t lie.  Looking in the mirror tells the truth.  And blood work doesn’t lie.

This morning I finally faced the truth.  As tears flowed down my cheeks, I realized that I am the reason my weight is where it is.  No one forced me to eat those three donuts in one sitting, or the entire bag of chips.  No one forces me to eat peanut butter toast with butter, not one piece but three.  No one forces me to buy the chips, candy and cookies and no one forces me to eat them.

I am responsible for where I am.  It is time I accept that!  Time I do what I keep saying I am doing.  It is time to be honest, completely honest.  And time to make my trackers tell the WHOLE story. 

If I want to live to be 100, if I want to be healthy, if I want the pain in my joints to lessen, if I want to be a participant in my granddaughter’s life rather than a spectator, then I NEED to step up to the challenge.  I need to make me a priority.  I need to be honest.  I need to do the work necessary to get back to being the healthiest and best version of me I can be.

Stepping on the scale was the first step.

A healthy, fully tracked breakfast was the second step.

A 2 mile walk was the third step.

And writing this post was the fourth step. 

Today I am being honest with myself.  Finally!  I am making changes.  One day at a time!  One meal at a time!  One step at a time! 

I can and I will do this!  It just took getting back on that scale to get me going. 

A Detour Can Lead To Success, Too

Three years ago, today, I completed my first 10k EVER!  And it was at Disney World.  I wrote about that experience and what I learned on a blog here.  That 10k showed me that I could accomplish so much more than I ever thought I could, just by pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone.  And finishing that race made me proud of myself, REALLY proud of myself. 

Funny how that memory popped up in my Facebook newsfeed today.  A day when I am looking back on the goal I set for myself January 1st, 2020.  The goal to complete the Run the Year challenge and to complete all 2,020 miles in that year.  It was a lofty goal for me, to say the least.

I set that goal with the same determination that got me through the 10k and with the knowledge learned from that race that I was capable of so much more than I gave myself credit for.  I was pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone, once again.  And this time I was encouraged and inspired by a wonderful group of ladies—friends I walk with and participate in 5k’s with.  These ladies inspire me to keep moving, even when I don’t want to.

The thing about goals is that they need to be realistic.  Was the goal of completing 2020 miles in one year realistic?  For some yes.  But for me?  At the time I set the goal I believed it was.  I believed it would be challenging.  REALLY challenging.  And I knew I would have to push myself a little harder, that I would have to make myself get out and walk those miles.  But I also knew I was going to be doing a number of 5ks over the year and that would mean lots of long walks in training for those races.  Yes, I BELIEVED it was reasonable.  More importantly, I BELIEVED it was doable for me!  I BELIEVED I could do it! 

THAT, of course, was before the year 2020 showed its true colors. 

I started off the challenge strong.  The first week of January 2020, which was only 5 days, I managed to get 28.89 miles!  Ahead of the 5 miles I knew I would need on average each day.  I GOT this! 

The second week of January was even stronger, 36.7 miles!!  I was on my way to success. 

And then I got sick the middle of the third week, and my miles slowed.  I was able to still accomplish 22 miles for the week, thanks to not being sick the first few days. 

The fourth and fifth weeks of January found me still sick, but I pushed a little each day (mainly just walking in my house) and finished the month with 105 miles.  THAT was success for being so sick. 

I was sick for a full 4 weeks.   And that slowed me down.  I missed my favorite 5k.  I was falling behind on my goal.  But it was only February and I had the rest of the year to finish.  I still believed I would accomplish my goal. 

Once I was feeling better I was able to finish February with 98 miles total!  YES!  I could and would do this!  I had NOT stopped believing!

And then…..

A serious back injury sidelined me.  For a long time.  I finished March with a total of 3.5 miles. 

3.5 miles for an ENTIRE month! 

I wanted to quit.  I stopped wearing my fitbit.  I would NEVER reach my goal and I stopped believing I would.  Why bother?

But the thing about goals is that they CAN be adjusted. 

I realized that 2,020 miles was too lofty of a goal, given my health issues.  And then add in the pandemic and more health issues and that goal was no longer realistic or achievable.  To continue to push toward the goal, to continue to tell myself that I HAD to reach that goal would be to set myself up for failure.  And that was NOT acceptable.

Sometimes the road on our journey is filled with potholes and closed roads.  Sometimes we take a detour.

But taking the detour does not mean we will not eventually reach our destination.

A detour can still get us to where we were going, it just may take a little longer and it may look a little different.  And sometimes the detour sends us to a different destination, that ends up being the destination we were meant to arrive at, at that moment in our lives.

Detours are an opportunity to learn and to build on those lessons.  It is an opportunity to make adjustments based on what is working and what is not.

2020 sent me on a detour far from my original goal of 2,020 miles.  And I was frustrated, defeated and even began to feel like I failed.  I wanted to quit! 

But I was NOT failing.  Life happens.  And sometimes we need to make adjustments.  We need to consider the circumstances in our lives, control what we can and not stress about what we cannot control.  We then re-evaluate and set a new goal and we take that detour to success. 

Changing an unrealistic goal to one that is more realistic is NOT giving up or a sign of failure.  Instead, adjusting goals set us up for success.  Adjusting goals gives us motivation. And THAT helps us to continue our journey.

The detour took me quite a bit off course, but I did not fail.  I pushed on.  I persevered despite my challenges.  

I adjusted my goal and set a new one.  One that was more realistic for me at that time in my life–500 miles.

And I achieved my goal of 500 miles.  In fact, I surpassed my goal, achieving a total of 689 miles for the year. 

I am very proud of myself for achieving my new goal and for not giving up on me! 

I did not quit and THAT is what makes me a success!

Whatever your challenges, whatever the detour, as long as you do not give up on YOU, then YOU are a success! 

Adjust those goals when you need to and keep going!

Here’s to 2021

Happy New Year!  I don’t know about you, but I am so thrilled to have 2020 behind me and am looking forward to 2021 and a return to some normalcy. 

A new year offers an opportunity for change.  An opportunity to recommit to our goals. 

New Years day often finds us making resolutions…. Promises to lose the weight, get healthier, workout more, and so much more. 

Did you make your resolution yet? 

I stopped making resolutions years ago.  Why?  Because, frankly, I never keep them.  I always had grand ideas of what I was going to accomplish, but often lost motivation a few weeks, sometimes a few days into the new year.  So, I stopped making resolutions.   Instead, I decide a theme for the year, something that helps me to grow into a better version of me, something that challenges me to step outside my comfort zone and to make real change.  Something that encompasses ALL of me, not just my weight or health. 2021 is the year I continue to live mindfully, present in the moments of each day and it is the year I focus on kindness, toward others and myself as well as focusing on daily gratitude.   

But not setting a New Years Resolution does NOT mean I don’t set weight/health goals when the new year arrives.  I set them all year, but the new year allows me to refocus. and gives me an opportunity to look back and see what worked and what didn’t work the previous year.  Then I can set my course toward the goals I have in mind—long term goals and short-term goals.  I can learn from the past and use those lessons to help me achieve the goals I have for myself in the new year. 

2020 was rough.  REALLY rough.  I struggled. I started 2020 by getting a virus in mid-January that turned into pneumonia, keeping me from participating in my favorite 5k race…. The race I look forward to ALL year.  I was sick for over a month.  And then, a couple of weeks after getting better, I injured my back, seriously.  I couldn’t walk.  I couldn’t do anything for a few weeks.  Slowly I got better.  Slowly my back began to heal….. but by then, we were in the midst of a stay-at-home order and I wasn’t going anywhere.  Life just stopped.  For everyone.  Our routines were upended.  Life as we knew it was at a complete halt.  Being sick was stressful.  Being in pain was stressful.  BUT a pandemic, and all its effects, THAT was even more stressful. 

Stress became the daily staple of my life.  And my weight was showing it.  I found myself 34 lbs above my goal weight and very close to a point I said I would NEVER go back to again.  NEVER!  I had to do something.

But we were in a pandemic.  And what worked for me in the past, well, it wasn’t there now.  I couldn’t meet with my friends for weekend walks.  There were no in person 5ks to sign up for or train for.  And Weight Watcher workshops were all online…..which just isn’t the same.  I couldn’t talk to friends online before the workshop or visit after.  It was NOT the same.  The world was different, and I was going to have to figure out how to do this differently.

All of this added to the struggles of 2020.  I am an emotional eater, so the stress, the worry, and the fear were taking a toll. I REALLY struggled.  (Oh, how I long for the day I can meet with friends and hug people again!) 

More health struggles popped up for me…. the end of May found me excessively tired and dealing with a bad cough.  This lasted for months.  I thought I was losing my mind….it had to be all in head, right? And then more symptoms, more pain, this time in every joint of my body….severe enough to prevent me from walking at times or prevent me from using my hands to pick up something…… making any thought of exercise out of the question!  And bronchitis….. Finally, in early December, a diagnosis of Valley Fever and the beginning of treatment.  THIS was and still is testing my patience, but that is for another post.

Yes, 2020 was a struggle. 

Yet, I found, through the challenges that I have inside me, what I need to get to where I want to go.  I have what I need to reach my goals, right there inside of me. 

I just have to believe in myself. 

I have to make me a priority. 

I have to remember what is really important to me. 

I have to remember to not give up what I want most for what I want in the moment.  

And I have to remember just how far I have come!

I took the first steps to getting back on track the beginning of November.  I stepped on the scale and told my husband right away what it said.  He is my weight accountability now.

What other steps have I taken to get me back on the path that will lead me to my goal?  This–

—A little movement is better than NO movement!  I found that if I wait until later in the day, the pain is not quite so severe and I can go for a walk, sometimes just around the block and sometimes a mile or two.  Just depends on how I am feeling.  I also discovered that the more I sit, the more pain I am in, so moving helps me heal.

—Tracking and portions!  I found that tracking is not so difficult on a phone app.  I am not perfect in my tracking, but I am tracking.  That awareness is so very important.  How can I know what I need to adjust if I don’t know what and how much I am really eating?  And that means, weighing and measuring my food too. 

—Accountability and motivation—I still use my WW app and read the stories, but I don’t follow the points for now.  I track calories and I pay attention to calorie-density of foods.  I look for the foods that will keep me full longer and keep me satisfied.  I have an accountability coach that checks in with me every week to see how I am doing and helps me to set a new weekly goal.  And I find motivation online, reading stories of others and in my talks with and messages with my friends. 

—I am taking time for me.  Time for meditating, using the CALM app and time to just read or listen to music.  With all the stress of these days, I need to take a step back and just breathe sometimes. 

—And starting today, I am adding yoga to my days, to help with the pain and to give me those moments where I can just breathe. Another way to take care of me.

These are just the first steps in taking back the control of my health and my weight.  And they are working.  I am down 9 lbs now in 2 months.  Would have been more, but Christmas goodies happened…….

I am jumping into 2021 full speed.  I have my long-term goal to get to my goal weight and then below it.  And I have my short-term goal—just 5 lbs.  5lbs at a time.  I CAN do that! 

Add to that my 2021 theme of being kinder to others and to myself, practicing daily gratitude and living mindfully and the year should be a much better one!

This journey, though, is far from perfect!  But it is so worth it!  I am worth it!  And so are you! 

What are your goals for 2021?  What are you doing to get yourself on that road toward your goals? 

Let’s do this together! 

Here’s to 2021! 

Here is to 2020!

It is the end of the year, the end of another decade and a time for reflection. 

2019 was a good year.  But I did not accomplish all the goals I had set for myself.  Sometimes life steps in and we have to adjust our sails and get back on course.  It happens.  Life happens. 

I am looking forward to 2020!  I have already set some goals for myself when it comes to my health, my fitness, my weight and my mindset.  All things I have control over.  And all areas I struggled with in 2019.

September saw the beginning of a few months of health issues for me.  And lots of visits to doctors.  Ugh!  Let me tell you, health issues can be quite the wake-up call.  Thankfully, all is well.  But all the testing and doctor orders kept me from exercising the last few months of 2019, completely throwing off my game-plan for my 5ks. 

Life happens.

Sometimes we need to adjust those goals so that they are more reasonable and achievable.  Adjusting goals is far better and much more motivating than giving up.  So, I adjusted.

My goal for my upcoming January 5k will be to finish, instead of pushing myself beyond what my body can do, because I want to reach my original goal of finishing my fastest 5k.  If I did not adjust my goal, I would be setting myself up for disappointment and failure, both of which would sabotage any efforts I may attempt at getting healthy and would make me give-up.  It is better to adjust goals than to give up!

My goal for getting back to my lifetime WW goal did not materialize.  So, I am giving myself more time.  The goal to lose that much weight in such a short period of time was not reasonable.  Adjusting my goal to losing more slowly is far more achievable and takes the pressure off me, removing the guilt that ends up sabotaging me and making me quit.  Adjusting goals is better than giving up!

So, thinking about what I want to achieve in 2020—better health, better mindset, healthy weight loss and better fitness, has me thinking about the steps I can take now to help me move toward those long-term goals.  The steps I can take today, this week and the coming month.

Breaking the long-term goals into smaller steps makes the end not so far away, makes it seem as if those goals are within reach and it motivates me.  Each small step taken and achieved gives me confidence that I CAN do this and I WILL do this.  Each step is another step on the path to success.  And those missteps, the detours, well they are another steppingstone helping me to build my path to success. 

I have got this!

The past two days I have taken a couple of steps toward those long-term goals of better health, fitness and mindset. 

First I signed up to do the Run the Year 2,020 miles in 2020.  Yes, 2,020 miles in one year.  I was not going to do the Run the Year.  Friends of mine had done the 2019 Run the Year and were registered to do the 2020 Run the Year, but I was going to skip it.  But my health issues gave me quite the wake-up call and yesterday, I decided that the Run the Year race was exactly what I needed to motivate me to move more, to get out and walk more.  So, I registered.  And the race bling is added incentive for me! 

The second step was to purchase a new Fitbit.  My old one died.  And I have not worn a fitness tracker in over a month now.  My birthday is coming up soon, and I told my husband that I wanted the gift of health this year and that meant a new Fitbit.  I am wearing it right now.  An early birthday present.  One that will motivate me to move more.  To walk more.  Another step on my journey to my goals.

I am planning for 2020.  I am looking forward to 2020.  I am certain I will achieve the goals I set for myself this coming year.  I know it will be a great year.  With the support of my family and my “tribe”, I CAN and I WILL move forward….

One step at a time!  One small goal at a time!  One day at a time!

Here is to the new year!  I hope that all your goals are achieved this year—one small goal at a time! 

That “E” Word

That “E” word.

 Exercise.

 I am not big on exercise.  I lost my weight originally without exercise.  Which kept me from developing a habit of exercising.  I just watched my food, tracked it all and really paid attention to portions and I lost the weight.  I was proof that exercise was NOT necessary to lose weight.  But I wish I had developed the exercise habit while losing weight.  It would be much easier to keep the weight off and to get back on track if I exercised, regularly. 

But I DON’T like to sweat!  So, therefore I don’t like to exercise.  I find exercise mundane, at times boring, difficult and mostly a chore.  It is hard to get going and hard to stick with it.  Though I have found ways to partake in some sort of exercise over the years and even found some I enjoyed… for a bit, I still have not been consistent.  And I need to be.

Exercise has many benefits.  There are health benefits, especially for my heart.  There is the mood boosting benefit.  If every time I was angry, hurt, worried, anxious, bored or lonely, I exercised… what a big impact that would have on my health and my journey to lose and keep weight off.  Not to mention my mood.  I would be a very happy person…. Maybe….. but I don’t like to sweat.

One way to begin to change how I view exercise is to approach it with a different mindset.  Instead of saying “exercise”, I am now saying “activity”.  Activity doesn’t sound as boring or difficult as exercise does and it elicits more positive feelings.  By changing just that one word, then I will change how I look at it.  The mind is a powerful thing.

But, I still don’t like to sweat…. have I mentioned this?  And that means that my activity is not as consistent as I would like it to be or as I need it to be.  I have spent some time this week thinking about the times when I have stuck with activity, the times when I have enjoyed it and I found that there was a “reward” associated with the activity, one that made it enjoyable and made the activity feel less like a chore.  A reward that made me ignore the sweat!

I know that to create a habit and make it stick, I need to get something from it, some sort of reward.  And I don’t mean a reward that is food related or monetary.  No, the reward for me needs to be impactful, meaningful and fun.  So, I started looking at my activity and how I can get something out of it that would motivate me.  And I found that there are a few rewards that keep me wanting to move and to be active–

–Bling!  Why do I do 5k’s or 10k’s?  The bling of course!  I love the bling!  So, yes, I will sign up for and walk (sometimes adding in a little jog) for a 5k race or a 10k race for the bling.  It makes it worth it!

–A goal!  I have set a few goals related to activity the past few years and those goals give me something to strive for.  A goal makes me focus and makes me get out and exercise.  The goal didn’t always get me to really commit to the training, but it did get me to go do that race or to keep swimming.  And achieving the goal, that is the REAL reward!  The PRIDE I feel when I realize that I DID IT is invaluable!  I set out to do something and I DID IT!  Yes, that pride in myself is a GREAT reward.  And so is seeing the pride in my husbands’ eyes when I finish my race.  THAT is PRICELESS!

–Companionship!  For me this one is HUGE!  What got me to go to spin classes regularly for a period of time?  A friend to go with.  What got me to do my first 5k’s?  My husband doing them with me and my friend doing my first big 5k with me at Disney World.  What got me out walking, even on hot, muggy Louisiana days?  A friend to walk with.  That time was therapy!  What gets me out hiking?  My husband and friends that I hike with (and my camera.. I do love photography!)  And what has got me signing up for and completing 5k’s and greater distances this past year?  Friends!  A group of ladies who make walking fun and keep me accountable.  Better together could not be truer when it comes to being active!  Any activity is better with others and being with others makes me tolerate the sweat!

–Inner peace!  This one is why I swim.  It is my “me” time.  It is a time when I can shut out the world around me and just be.  The water is calming.  The solitude is calming.  The inner peace is necessary.

Now, realizing what rewards motivate me and keep me going, I can find ways to keep moving.  I have always said that awareness is the first step to change.  Being aware of what works for me to get me moving is the first step in making real change, in creating new habits.  Knowing the rewards means I can find ways to be active and find things I enjoy. And enjoying activity is important.  If I don’t enjoy it, then no reward will work. 

To get me going and to help me stay motivated I created this board— My activity motivation board.

On this board are quotes that help motivate me.  The bling from my races hang on the board as reminders of what I can do and have done.  The map from the Amerithon Virtual challenge is on this board because I am continuing, on my own, after my team of 8 finished the race—3521 miles across the USA.  And I have a goal to finish all 3521 miles no matter how long it take me!

All of this will help to motivate me as I prepare for my next activity goal—to finish the She Power 5k in January with my fastest 5k time, EVER!  My goal is to beat my Disney World 5k time of 40:26 from 2009.  I have a goal to strive for…. a reminder to keep me focus.  And with my bling, my family and friends, and a change in mindset, I WILL reach my goal and be more active while doing it.

All while not liking to sweat!  I will work on that another day!