A Better MeNovember 06, 2014
I never thought I was overweight, per se. I'd look down, occasionally, in some jeans and wish my thighs looked "different." I let my gym membership go a few years ago when the price was inching up and never looked for a more affordable alternative. And I'll be honest right here — I don't much enjoy working out. So, I'll say right up front: this post is not about that.
This post is actually about how I've tried to embrace a mindset of wellness in terms of actively "taking care" of myself (and how I lost 27 pounds in the midst of it).
In October 2012, two major things happened in my life: one of my mentors died and I found a lump in my breast. I was in an immediate tailspin. To manage my stress and anxiety (which often showed up as heartburn and sleeplessness), I stopped eating ice cream and started trying to be more active as an outlet. I also started eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning, which was major for me because I rarely ate breakfast. At one point, I challenged myself to drink only water as a beverage for 30 days. That helped me almost completely eliminate juices and carbonated drinks as regular choices. I'd walk from time to time and I went to workout classes sporadically. I wasn't weighing myself often, so I didn't notice a change in my size until May of 2013 when I went to my family reunion and I was constantly being asked what I did to lose weight. So when I returned home, I weighed myself. I had lost about 15 or 16 pounds. That motivated me. I started walking outside that summer and really curbed my eating out — packing my lunch of leftover dinner every day except one. I allowed myself a break to eat fast food once a week for lunch a few times a month.
Fast forward a six months and my family did a Wellness Challenge in January of this year. The parameters were serious. Before it started, I joined Planet Fitness and got focused about at least being regimented for at least an hour four days a week. My workout of choice is 60 minutes of "power walking" (lol) on the treadmill. But, my mom — who works out with me — was always serious motivation because while I was walking, I'd look over and she'd be jogging and then leave the treadmill for the strength training equipment. She's 63.
Here's what we did on the Challenge (along with some foundation mandates to get physicals and annual exams):
For January and February (our cleansing months) — No fried foods, red meats, carbonated beverages, sweets, smoking or alcohol.
January — a minimum of 3 days of 30-minute physical activity to work the cardiovascular system.
February — a minimum of 4 days of 30-minute physical activity.
I lost 7 pounds quickly the first month and learned you don't realize how many unhealthy foods are in your diet until you have to be mindful of what you're putting in your mouth.
Every week we texted our inches or pounds lost to my cousin who is a nurse as well as the amount of minutes we worked out, and the results were grouped into one number and updated on our family Facebook page. Motivation!
After the first 60 days, the parameters eased up with allowances like one dessert a week or red meat one time per week. You could have one thing that had been cut out except alcohol or smoking.
The challenge ended the week before our family reunion Memorial Day weekend. The village approach worked for me and so many in my family.
More motivation: This freebie trial sport bra and cropped workout capri from Influenster from Victoria Secret
When it ended, I opted for outdoor workouts over the entire summer and am just now getting back into working out in the gym.
That's it in a nutshell. My brother, who's a bit of an exercise fanatic keeps me challenged but I need that because I'm not a fitness enthusiast. What I do like, however, is that I feel better and my sleep every night has improved 100 percent. I am looking forward to my family re-embarking because I do need the village.