|Jennifer (Before, 2010) and Jennifer (After, 2017)|
But it's not just about "looks" --
That's just superficial stuff.
It's also about physical and psychological health.
I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.
– Venus Williams
Back in 2011, I started this site as a diet and exercise space, but then I gained my weight back (and then some).
It was as if my arrogance, self-importance, and faux expertise brought me down a few notches, so I decided to broaden the site focus; I began writing about other topics of personal importance.
So, for the most part, I have backed off on diet topics.
But now I return to the topic of Diet Talk for a good reason: today, May 5, 2017, is the first anniversary of my decision to attempt, once again, losing weight and, most importantly, keeping it off.
I remember that day well: as I was being fitted for a CPAP mask, I made a vow to get my weight off and keep it off forever. My initial goal: to lose enough weight to lose the CPAP. In I Have a Goal, I wrote, on 20 June 2016, about this part of my journey. My ultimate goal: to keep my weight off forever.
The good news: a year later, I have lost most of the weight – just five pounds to go – but the jury is still out on the keeping off part. From 2011, I have learned not to take anything for granted. I know I must remain vigilant, but, most importantly, remain humble and non-judgmental of others who may not be able or willing to lose their weight or keep it off.
So, as the title of this post avers: I’m at Goal, AND I’m Close to Goal. No matter how long I stay at at goal, I will always be Close to Goal as well, as I said in my 10 July 2016 post, when I was still far from my goal weight.
How can that be? Because keeping off the weight is an ongoing goal, a forever goal.
Perhaps my year-long story, a “rejourney,” so to speak, will explain my thinking more clearly.
I started this process at about 200 pounds (I don’t really know because I wasn’t weighed until May 11, 2016, when I returned to Weight Watchers, tail tucked between legs. Then I weighed in at 196.6). Today, I weigh about 135 (clothed, but without my shoes). I would like to lose five more pounds, but I’m in no hurry to do so. Thus, if this is where my weight settles, then so be it. I can live with my current weight.
So what am I doing this time that I have failed to do during my myriad attempts to keep my weight off?
– While I have railed against (and continue to rail against) my CPAP, I can’t deny that the therapy has helped with my sleep issues. By getting better sleep, I have experienced better appetite control. I still get cravings, but they are mild and manageable. Before CPAP, my cravings were nearly impossible to ignore. I no longer experience the real hunger that would dog me late at night (my stomach would even growl), and it didn’t matter what I had eaten earlier in the day.
– Within reason, I no longer deny myself occasional treats. However, I try to stay within my Weight Watchers point system, successful 95% of the time. It’s all about portion control. Even on days that I do go off program, two of my meals for that day are on program.
– I allow myself some significant leeway on holidays and special family events, recognizing that these events are rare. And I don’t starve myself in anticipation for an off day or after an off day, whether planned or not. Having said this, I watch out for “portion creep.”
– Planning is key. Eating out can be challenging, so my husband and I have selected some local restaurants that are program-friendly – or, at least, not program disasters. We also try to avoid going out on the spur-of-the-moment, especially when we are famished. For a fast meal, it’s better to nuke a prepared low calorie meal, with fruit, vegetables, and salad on the side. It would be too easy to fall into bad old habits. To slake any on-the-go hunger, I have gotten into the habit of taking portable food, such as packets of soy nuts, apples, roasted chickpeas, carrot sticks, bell pepper slices, and turkey pepperoni slices. On the other hand, it’s okay to occasionally go to a restaurant that is normally a program disaster, but we plan for it and only go there for birthdays or other special events.
– I track everything that goes into my mouth, even when it’s ugly – and, believe me, I’m far from perfect. For me, tracking keeps me accountable. Moreover, checking number of points before eating something can help me to make wise decisions. For example, is that Hershey bar really worth 11 points out of my 30 daily points? If so, then I eat it, but, if not, I select something more point-friendly.
– I eat more lean protein, both animal and plant, and eat less of processed carbs. I watch my sugar intake; I don’t avoid it entirely, which is almost impossible these days, anyway. I eat green and low carb vegetables and fruits at will, often employing “The Carrot Test” to check if my hunger is real or psychological. I have never over-eaten on grapes, carrots, or lettuce.
– I read food labels and have learned how to interpret them. That way, I can make better decisions on what to eat and how much to eat.
– I avoid trigger foods whenever possible; for example, for me, eating a lot of sugar can trigger both physiological and psychological negative responses. At the very least, I try to understand my triggers and how to prepare for when a certain food is likely to elicit negative responses.
– I walk three miles nearly every day, mostly outside, sometimes on my dreaded treadmill. I don’t buy into the “no pain, no gain” B.S. Exercise should be enjoyable and doable every single day. I can honestly say that I really enjoy my walks – it’s like a daily social event – I have met so many of my neighbors and their perky canines! On the other hand, if I miss a day, it’s not a major disaster.
– I drink a lot of water: at least 64 ounces per day. Water not only hydrates, but it also flushes out one’s system, helps with digestive issues, and promotes weight loss. Also, doctor’s orders (LOL!!!). To be honest, I have only recently started to drink the mandated half gallon of water, but I have already noticed positive changes in my body; I was kind of stuck weight-loss wise, but now I’m losing again, albeit slowly, which is fine.
– I weigh myself every day and record it in my tracker, even when I suspect a weight gain. For me, this works well. Keeping track of one’s weight is just good common medical sense. For example, an unexpected loss or gain can signal a physical problem, such as diabetes or thyroid issues.
– I have finally got into my thick skull that this process is life-long, not temporary, which is why I have failed so much in the past. On a day-to-day basis, I will not be able to eat whatever I want – this is a fact of my life. God love those lucky souls who can chow down, but I’m not one of them. It’s unfair, but that’s life. My husband would like more hair, too!
– This may or may not be related: I have also given up caffeinated drinks. I didn’t do this for weight-loss reasons, but because of my sleep issues. I do miss my leaded liquids, but the trade-off is well worth it: I am sleeping better.
– I attend my Weight Watchers meeting each week; it’s important to have a support group that has my back.
– I always try to have another goal in mind; as I said earlier, I recognized this in Close to Goal. This is especially important because there is always a kind of letdown after a major goal has been reached – “Is That All There Is?” So, for me, my goal will always be reset, for example, “I will maintain my weight for a week” (a small goal), and “I will maintain my weight for a year” (a major goal). I will also work on setting non-weight goals, such as “I will finish writing that short story I started way back in January.”
– Last, but not least, I have purposely readjusted my attitude to reflect a more positive me. At first, I had to keep telling myself that, YES! I CAN DO THIS, even when I wasn’t really feeling it. I have this tendency to set roadblocks in front of myself, and I decided that this had to stop. From now on, for every problem, there will be a solution. It might not be an easy solution, but, then, most solutions require effort.
So that’s my maintenance to-do list.
In addition to weight-loss and better appetite control, I have experienced significant positive physical benefits: my blood pressure has dropped 30 points, my energy levels have increased, my sleep is better, my mood is better, I have fewer fast heart beats, my mobility is better, my acid reflux has essentially disappeared (except on those days when I eat too much fat late at night) – I haven’t needed any Zantac in nearly a year – and I feel at least 25 years younger.
I still haven’t lost the CPAP – I still have some breathing issues at night (like I sometimes stop breathing without my CPAP), but I am hopeful that it will eventually happen. If not, then so be it.
To celebrate my important anniversary, I changed the title of this site from “Life is a Brand” to “Like This Page.” “Life is a Brand” is now my subtitle – a kind of bridge between the old and the new – at least for the foreseeable future.
I had been pondering a title change for months; it was just a matter of choosing the right title.
“Like This Page” seems to roll off the tongue and is more memorable.
Over the next few weeks, I will be working on this site in other ways.
In closing: you, my dear readers, may benefit from developing your own to-do weight loss list – you just need to figure out what that list might include.
For your journey, you are welcome to borrow from my list; however, I would never tell someone else that my process is superior to anyone else’s because our bodies and psychological makeups are different.
Ultimately, you must find your own path.
Have a good day!