I SO would love to believe it. I keep waiting (WEIGHTING???) for the bomb to drop, for the plateau to hit, or for myself to wake up. I feel like I'm living someone else's weird, surreal life. This is because I have been trying, and struggling, and fighting, and failing at this dieting bullshit for twenty effing months, and suddenly... the weight is suddenly falling off, and I'm not doing anything crazy, stupendous or monumental, and I'm not hungry, crabby, or starving. It seems too good to be true, and when something seems that way... it usually is. Except, this isn't. This is actually TRUE...
I'll elaborate - but I'll try to condense:
I'm counting every calorie. I've been doing this for over twelve years, almost every day. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I know that it DOES work for ME. When I count, I lose. When I don't... I don't. So, I must. So, I am. I'm using the SparkPeople.com free website and app for my phone, and I'm entering in every single frickin' calorie, right down to my sugarless gum and chewy vitamin C. I know that sounds obsessive. I do. But... I also know that when I'm 100% accountable to myself, I see the results that I want - the success I've been struggling so hard to reach. I have now come to that point where I'm just SO sick and tired of these excess pounds. I've been carrying, on average, 35 pounds more than I'm comfortable with for the past 20 months, and I've been yo-yoing up and down, up and down, every week/month with no real lasting progress. I stick to my diligent plan for a week, maybe two, then I have a birthday dinner, or a Book Club meeting, and that ONE splurge throws my motivation and my willpower all out of whack, and before I know it, I've gained back anything I've lost, PLUS I add a few pounds onto that. The yo-yoing is depressing, debilitating, and emotionally crippling. And up to this point it has ruled my life, week after week, month after month, for twenty months. On April 22nd, I finally hit my breaking point. I was just fed-up. I couldn't do the yo-yoing anymore. I was just... DONE. And that was that. I re-evaluated everything I was doing, tried to pinpoint everything I was doing WRONG, and re-vamped my strategy - again.
I am exercising EVERY DAY for 60-90 minutes EARLY in the morning. This is the single-most amazing transformation that has happened in my life since April 23rd. (The day I consider my most recent "start-over" day). I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m., and I'm on the treadmill or elliptical machine by 6:15. EVERY day. Once the weather is warm enough that early, I could walk on the road out by our house - though I'll have to carry a handgun, to scare off the bears, cougars, and coyotes. The more I think of it... I may just stay indoors. I do not move fast. Many days, I barely break much of a sweat. But the early morning movement has completely changed how I feel physically, and mentally. I used to lie in bed every morning for a full hour, listening to my teenager getting ready for school, and then I'd haul my ass up at 7:15 to say goodbye to her as she headed out to the bus stop. Now, instead of just listening to her getting ready, I'm watching a movie or a Netflix t.v. show, and I'm moving and getting my blood pumping and my sluggish metabolism going. I promise you, if this were not making me feel so much better, I would not say that it is. But the craziest part of all is that my appetite has DISAPPEARED. This can only be the result of the increased metabolism due to the exercise, because it's the only piece that's a major change for me. I've done the 1200-calorie thing for twelve years, and most days, I stick to that. What my new success proves to me is, I can't lose the weight - or have any hope of controlling my appetite or cravings - UNLESS I GET MY ASS MOVING. And for me, the early morning time-slot seems to be the missing link. I fly off the machine after 60 or 90 minutes and I cannot wait to start the day! WTF?! I used to drag my ass around all day with ZERO energy. Now, I have so much energy all damn day long I don't know what the hell to do with it all. The most insane side-effect is the decreased appetite. It is 6:40 p.m. right now, and I have consumed exactly 450 calories so far today. And, I've barely noticed! I feel so good and so pumped up, both by the dropping number on my scale AND by the energy surge I have all day, that I literally have trouble hitting 900 calories by 9:00 p.m. most days. Here's a news flash: If you eat 900-1000 calories per day, and exercise (a.k.a., WALK) 60-90 minutes every day... you are GOING to lose 3-4 pounds per week. PERIOD. It's impossible to gain or even maintain when you're riding a calorie deficit like that. If I was hungry, or lacking energy as a result of my low-calorie intake or my exercising, then I would not be able to do this! But the exact opposite is happening. I'm literally sitting here tonight scratching my head, saying, "Shouldn't I be starving right now? Why am I not even HUNGRY for supper?" It's weird and crazy and thrilling, all at once.
I'm eating right. Healthy, REAL foods. I'm also not eating white-flour carbs, or refined sugar. And the nuttiest part is, I'M NOT CRAVING THEM ANYMORE. I'm eating only when I'm hungry, and then only a single serving of something healthy, like a serving of fresh veggies with a little light veggie dip I make at home, or hummus; a bowl of mixed fresh fruits, a couple rye crackers with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on it (bleu cheese is my favorite!); a burger made with ground venison (no bun - and only a little mustard for flavor) or a taco salad with taco-seasoned ground venison, lettuce, tomato, a tiny bit of shredded taco cheese, and some salsa; a light string cheese or Greek yogurt when I'm craving dairy; a serving of dry roasted peanuts or raw almonds when I'm craving something crunchy; some fresh fish here and there, or a baked chicken breast. I'm drinking only ice water, hot teas, cold-brewed iced teas, one cup of coffee in the morning, and I have discovered a NEW MIRACLE BEVERAGE that I have to share: SoBe Lifewater - naturally sweetened (with a stevia-based extract), and 6 or 7 DELICIOUS flavors! They're $1 per bottle at WalMart. I actually found a picture of my three favorites - the Yumberry Pomegranate is UNBELIEVABLE! I sip it all day, and I DO NOT CRAVE POP! I highly recommend it.
That's it, in a nutshell. Three basic things.
1. Count every calorie and stick between 1000 and 1200 daily.
2. Exercise (walk) an hour or more every day, even slowly. Just get MOVING.
3. Eat healthy food. No garbage/crap/junk. No fast food. No sugar or white flour. A.K.A.. HEALTHY STUFF.
A final note: I'm finding that the old mantra, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels" applies to me today. This morning, I went to Big Apple Bagel. I ordered a Breakfast B.L.T. with plain cream cheese on a cheddar herb bagel - for my supervisor at work. I ordered a plain bagel for my 3-year-old to munch on before gymnastics. But even though Big Apple is one of my favorite snack spots, I didn't order a thing for myself. Why? HOW??? Because NOTHING - not even my beloved bagels - taste as good as the way I have felt the past 29 days. I am nine pounds down in four weeks, and I don't just feel great physically as a result (I went out and bought a pair of size 5 jeggings at Deb, and they're NOT tight - WTF?!), but I also feel amazing mentally! Totally empowered, completely in control of my eating (for once) and my food choices, and not willing to sabotage myself any longer. I was SO in denial until now. I would tell myself, "It's just ONE cookie!" Or, "It's just ONE little McDonald's Junior Cheeseburger!" I thought a single serving here or there of something unhealthy wasn't enough to derail me. But of course, those cheats DO derail us. Not necessarily physically, or diet-wise. But emotionally, and mentally. Those little cheats are what convince us that we're not going to succeed; that we're slaving away and starving ourselves for nothing, because we're still the same weight we've been for months - or years. We have one or two little slip-ups and we feel like we're doomed to FAIL, and we feel like we can't do it and that we're NEVER going to succeed. It's this revelation that allowed me to walk out of Big Apple this morning empty-handed, and that keeps me out of the McDonald's drive-through on the way to work, and out of the pop machines I pass everywhere. I CAN'T eat the bad stuff if I want to lose this weight. This does not mean that I will never taste a bagel again, or drink a can of Coke again, or go through DQ again. Of course I will! But what it DOES mean is, I cannot do those things right NOW - AT ALL. Not even a little. NOT EVEN ONCE. One slip is all it takes to derail me emotionally, unfortunately.
Sorry this got so long, but... I had to share.