I'm proud of myself for not giving up on myself, and knowing I was doing things the RIGHT way (aka "the best possible way for ME"). Maybe talking about these things would be the best way to celebrate how far I've come and perhaps inspire others that are looking to head out on their own weight loss journey.
The more I got to thinking about it, all the smaller details that swirl around to make this journey of mine successful and actually *gasp* enjoyable can be summed up in four meta-categories: Be In The Right Head Space, Don't Deprive Yourself, Everything In Time and Be Proud of What You Are Doing.
1) Be In The Right Head Space: I had to let my personal demons be in the right place before I embarked on this journey. I knew when I started counting calories, and exercises, and really putting 100% of myself into this weight loss. Mentally I was strong, probably the strongest I had ever been. The demons in my brain were as quiet as they had ever been in my entire adult life. I could have categorized myself in life as "happy but not satisfied." Which if you think about it, is a pretty damned good place to be. I had traded my sweatshirts and black stretchy pants of my BoCo days for actual dresses and actually giving a shit what I looked like. I may have not liked the way I looked in the mirror, but at least I wasn't avoiding full length mirrors. I was enjoying the dresses, I just wanted to look better in them, I just wanted them to be smaller sizes.
Now, I'm not so shallow as to think that weight loss is all about the clothing. I knew, and I still know, that losing weight is a big mental game, and things will get drug up when you least expect it and thwack you right between the eyes. Body parts that you never had issue with, you suddenly abhor. (I mean think about it, you had ignored your body for so long out of shame, it stands with good reasoning that they'll be some blindsiding going on.)
This is a big and all encompassing one. Setting out to lose over 100 pounds is a big scary undertaking. Had I not had my mental ducks in a highly regimented row, this ship would have sunk before even leaving the dock.
2) Don't Deprive Yourself: The biggest part of my success is by using the LoseIt iPhone app to count my calories and track my exercise. With the exception of a two week sabbatical just so I didn't start to resent it, I have tracked every morsel of food that has touched my lips since the days ofter Thanksgiving 2012.
Here's what doing this enables me to do: I never have to say "no" to any one particular food. Want a piece of chocolate cake for dinner? Then it's a smoothie for breakfast and a light lunch the next day. Or maybe make that run a little longer. It's a system of checks and balances. I can have it, I just have to work it off in once way or another.
Why do I do this? To cut down on resentment. Sure, I could cut out ALL soda, booze, cheese, sweets, sweettarts (hey, they're a food group).... I'm sure I'd drop a ton of weight up front and it'd be awesome... until I started feeling deprived. Then resentment would kick in, then I'd just move heaven and earth to get what I felt like I was being deprived up. This is a pretty primal human response, not to mention saying "buh bye" to any weight loss up to that point.
You know that joke, "Everything in moderation, including moderation"? Funny, but there's some real truth there.
This is why I choose the balanced approach. This is why I choose not to deprive myself.
Also, reward yourself. Buy yourself new clothes. I've kind of been churning through them lately, so I set myself a little guideline: until I reach my goal weight (unless it's for a special occasion) can't be above $30. Exception? Bras. Barring DRASTIC breast reduction surgery, shopping at Victoria's Secret will NEVER be an option for me. A quality bra for me is, on average, $60. And yes, I NEEDED that new purple bra. NEEDED. Sometimes a girl needs to be allowed to be a girl. Especially when the girl is working as hard as I am.
3) Everything In Time: The human body is a many wondrous place. Some things are certain and finite.... cut my flesh, I will bleed... smother my face with a pillow and deprive my system of oxygen... I will die. Other things are a bit more (please don't roll your eyes too much for my putting it this way, but...) mystical. While we know a lot more about cancer than we did say 20 years ago, we don't have ALL the answers to why.... There's no 100% proven formula. Do this + not doing that / BMI(county you were born in - age) = well, it doesn't equal if you will or won't get cancer, just as there is no 100% hard/fast formula for weight loss. You can do all the right things, and sometimes your body is as stubborn as a mule...and sometimes it rewards you with an embarrassment of riches.
You can't put all your eggs in to one basket of measurement: be it the scale, the tape measure, how your clothes fit, how much exercise.... They are all playing a part in the end story of your weight loss and your heath. There is no winning equation. Our cells take it all in, do something mystical and amazing with it. It does not happen on our clock, it...for lack of sounding overtly dramatic...it happens one some weird time plane where science and mystic meet.
Yes. I realize I sound bonkers.
This particular brand of bonkers seams to be working at the moment. So there!
This also leads me to my new found penchant for 5K running and training to jump into the Atlantic Ocean. I can't lose weight on a set time schedule, but I CAN train for a sporting event (still surreal to think of myself, and the words "training" and "sporting" being used in the same sentence). These are time frames and CAN hold my body accountable for, and hopefully push my weight loss goals along the way. All in all, it helps me feel in control.
4) Be Proud of What You Are Doing - I am INANELY proud of what I've done. It took me awhile to get this proud though. I feel like society as a whole doesn't celebrate weight loss on the long haul, for people that are slugging it out day by day while living their everyday lives don't get enough celebrations. Drastic surgeries get more press, and we watch riveted to reality shows as people try to lose a drastic amount of weight, in a very short time on national television. Please do not get me wrong, I'm not condemning or saying there's anything wrong with losing weight this way. Just please don't forget that there is something heroic and courageous in losing weight "the old fashioned" way as well.
You have to be proud of yourself and of these work that you're doing.
If you're not proud of yourself, then no one else will be.
How HAVE to be both your biggest fan, and your biggest critic.
Be so proud of yourself, that others can't HELP but be proud of you.
It's awesome when a friend you haven't seen in over a year tells you how amazing you look, but it's soul-stirring when you notice some muscle definition you haven't seen in sixteen years. Day in and day out, the grind of weight loss can take its toll, but it can also uncover some conviction affirming results.
Be proud of what you're doing...lock, stock & barrel.
So there you have it: Be In The Right Head Space, Don't Deprive Yourself, Everything In Time and Be Proud of What You Are Doing.
In case you've forgotten....