An update on The Summer Of Not Doing Much– But In Reality, Accomplishing A Lot
This Summer: It’s been great. I’ve watched a lot of movies. I’ve spent lots of time cuddling and playing with the Beans. I’ve exercised just about 6 days a week. I’ve tried out lots of healthy new recipes that we both really enjoy. And! I’ve lost somewhere in the range of 15-20 lbs since late March.
Yesterday I had my yearly health assessment for my insurance. I’ve lost 6.5 inches around my waist, although it’s probably more since I was doing a great imitation of a roller coaster with my poundage. I still have a little ways to go, but not much. For the first time in a three years ALL my clothes fit. Actually, many of them are bordering on too big now and I’d like to thank strength training and lean muscle for that one. I feel good. I want to eat healthy food. I don’t even want pizza. I know. Somebody slap me back to my senses! No, don’t, because I’d like to relish in this moment for a bit. This is pretty much the first time in my life where eating and exercising are a balanced part of my life.
When I was a kid/teenager, I never routinely exercised. When I was 16ish, my family changed our eating habits and I lost 40+ lbs in the course of a year. It was great, but it all came back on with college stress and life changes. By the time I was a sophomore, I knew I had to do something. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. During a nutrition and health class required by my major, I realized the thing I had to change was the plod/sedentary pudge I had become. I started working out at the university’s high tech gym. Back then it took me 45 minutes to run 3 miles. And that was after working up to three miles. But I haven’t stopped working out since. Now, I have pretty awesome endurance. I love, love, love the mindlessness of cardio and regularly do an hour to an hour and a half of it. But even with all the exercise, when life got stressful about 3 years ago, a lot of the weight came back. Not all, thanks to massive amounts of cardio, but enough that I’ve been slowly yo-yoing back down for three years.
This year sucked. And all the weight I lost last year came back. I see now that I was on auto-pilot. I knew what I needed to do to lose and then maintain a healthy weight, but it was hard, and I didn’t care, and when I cared too much I became discouraged and if you’ve ever been discouraged you know that feeling tastes a lot like a box of cheeze-its. Which is where my hand would find itself on particularly bad days/weeks.
This summer I told myself we would do better. We owed it to ourselves. I really owed it to me (ok, pinterest quote, settle down). I wanted to actually reap the benefits of all the work I put into my workout. I also want to live for a long time but not as a sedentary cheeze-it pudge. So I stuck to my commitment and I’m glad I didn’t give up.
These are some of the things that really helped/ are helping to keep me going:
- The Lose It! App – you can log everything you eat. Need to scan a bar code? No problem. Do most of your own cooking? Cool, you can input recipes and see how much you’re actually eating.
- The South Beach Diet (but the vegetarian recipes, because animals)- This is the lifestyle change my family made when I was in high school. The hubs and I choose the best sounding/ my favorite old recipes. It’s simple, delicious, and healthy food.
- Limiting carbs- I love carbs. If I could hug every potato in the world, I totally would. If you told me I could never have bread again, I’d punch you right in the mouth. But I hold these carbs so dear that I can actually eat a whole loaf of healthy bread by myself. And still have room for potatoes and pizza. So, I’ve tried to limit those favorite carbs. And it’s been pretty ok!
- Vegan recipes- In the name of limiting carbs I had to find alternatives to those things that I love, those starchy, starchy things. I stumbled on vegan recipes like this one, and this one, and this one. While not all of those are a replacement for the love of my life, starch (Just kidding, Chris! I love you the most! Especially if you are cradling a potato!), it doesn’t matter because the food is so. damn. delicious.
- Moderation- I can still have beer. I can still eat bread. I just can’t do these things every day. BUT THIS IS AMERICA! I SHOULD HAVE ALL THE BEER AND POTATO CHIPS I WANT. Yes, but, you turn into a catatonic salt and vinegar dipped in beer infused version of yourself, Nancy, and you don’t like that aftermath. I allow myself a “cheat day” or an occasional not as healthy treat during the week. It can’t be every day, but if we are at a friend’s house and they have pie? I am probably going to still have a small slice. And so help me if I ever have to give up beer. I can’t! But if I limit myself to 1-2 beers once a week, it’s a treat and not a part of my unbalanced diet.
- Exercise- I already worked out a lot. I just wasn’t getting any benefit because I wasn’t paying attention to my diet because apathetic Nancy was apathetic. Even on the days that I don’t run for 8 hours, I can see/feel the difference it makes because I’ve finally balanced eating and exercise in a way that works for me.
- Chris- He signed on to eat better. He encourages me when I feel like a pudge (and makes sure to tell me I am emphatically not a pudge). He started exercising too. He lets me try all sorts of crazy/new vegan and vegetarian recipes. The hubs is pretty much the best person ever and this would have been many cheeze-it boxes harder if he wasn’t so helpful.
So that’s all really. It’s been a summer of loss and Netflix. I’d call that a success. I hope if you’re trying to push through your own healthy hurdle that you are seeing positive changes, too. If not, keep going. Avoid the cheeze-it aisle. You can do it (ok, motivational kitten poster, nobody takes you seriously)… (but really, you can do it.)