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Starting over, again

It’s Monday!

You know what that means…it’s a brand new day and a brand new week, which always inspires me to get re-focused on my goals and the things I want to accomplish this week and beyond. Today is no exception!

In fact, today is probably the most important Monday I’ve had in a while.

You see, I’ve really let myself backslide. I debated sharing this on the blog at first but I know that it helped me A LOT to read other stories of people who’ve struggled in the same way and who recently overcame plateaus and whatnot.

So here you go — I’ve been eating too much, not exercising enough, and I am now 11-12 pounds over my “happy weight” which itself was 11-12 pounds over my original goal when I first started back in 2007.

The weight in numbers really isn’t what is important, just the fact that I’d lost control and in turn have been feeling like crap. It really hit me when my pants got tighter.

How did I get here?

These past several weeks, maybe even months, I’ve felt like I was falling into a hole I couldn’t dig myself out of. I’ve felt physically and emotionally spent. So I’ve comforted myself with “rest days” and lots of tortilla chips and chocolate (not together, ha ha). I quit blogging regularly. Things got sort of dark at times.

I tried to get myself to “snap out of it” but it just didn’t happen. The only thing I could do was wait and pray because God always gets me through everything! 🙂

Well, I’ve waited and I feel like I’m ready to get myself back now!

I’m still planning to see some doctors for a few different things, including this issue I discussed last week, but I can already tell that I’m on my way back to being me again.

I thank God for what’s been going on because I feel like this experience, as hard as it has been, has given me a whole new perspective on my life. I take so much for granted and my goal is to do that less and less. I am truly blessed.

So, what does starting over mean?

Well, I tried to think back to 2007 and what starting over meant back then. For a combined total of 20 minutes over the weekend, I considered joining Weight Watchers but then I remembered that I didn’t have that much success with it before; that’s not what helped me lose 70 lbs.

What helped me was being accountable to MYSELF and keeping this nifty little journal:

Image Source

Back in December 2009, I wrote about how journaling was one of my keys to weight loss. I believe by going back to what worked so well for me the first time, I have a better chance of getting over this hump. I’m also interested to see if I am getting enough nutrients (fat, fiber, protein) that I haven’t really paid that much attention to recently.

Things have changed a lot since 2007, so I am interested to see what’s going on now and what I can do to improve and get back to my happy place, both with my weight and my life.

For example, on Saturday, I wrote in my journal for the first time and was a little shocked (but not really) that I consumed over 800 calories between 8:30 and 11 p.m. Do that a few times a week and it’s no wonder I’ve gained weight and feel bloated and sluggish.

Sometimes seeing something with your own eyes is just the wake up call you need.

I hope those of you who are struggling out there know it’s never too late to start over or start over again. Also, enlist a friend or two to start over with you, even if their goals are different than yours. It helps to have that support.

Happy Monday, everyone!

My keys to weight loss

I’ve really been thinking lately that I need to carve out more of an identity for myself in this blog world. I keep asking myself “Who am I?”

Anyone who reads my About Me or Weight Loss pages can find out what my “story” is.

But some people just click on a certain post and then leave thinking “oh this girl really likes peanut butter” and not realize the journey that got me to this point.

It’s been about so much more than weight loss for me. But that’s a good place to start.

This was Josh and me during the Christmas season in 2005, the year we got married! This was also the time of my highest weight.

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Then in March of this year, when we visited New York City (taken at Madison Square Garden).

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In January 2007, I started a major lifestyle overhaul that would eventually lead me to a vastly improved, healthier life. Part of this was losing 70 lbs, which took me about a year to achieve.

One of my keys to the weight loss I experienced was Journaling.

  • I logged everything I ate (or drank) in a journal (like this one) and tallied up (as best I could) the totals for calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein and fiber.
  • I also tracked how many glasses of water I drank every day.
  • The times of meals were recorded.
  • It also had space for exercise.
  • In the section labeled “notes” I tried to write something like “good day” or “wow, I ate too much” to gauge my mood or how I thought the day went.

Doing this made me aware of my habits. Previously, I had just sort of flown by the seat of my pants. I had no idea how many calories I was eating, I was hardly aware of what I was really eating at all.

Here’s what I do remember. Before, my day would consist of this:

  • No breakfast at home; if I did eat, it was either Pop Tarts or chocolate donuts from the vending machine when I got to work.
  • Lunch was usually from Wendy’s or McDonald’s, hamburger or chicken sandwich with fries. Sometimes I skipped lunch altogether or ate a frozen dinner (usually when I was attempting Weight Watchers).
  • Three Musketeer bar and diet soda for that 2 o’clock slump. Speaking of diet soda, it’s pretty much all I drank.
  • I honestly can’t remember what I ate for dinner. Sometimes I would just go through the drive thru at McDonald’s when I got off work (usually when I skipped lunch) and crash on the couch when I got home. When we went out to “real” restaurants, I always stuffed myself to the point of sickness. I took lots of Mylanta and Tums back then.
  • Sometimes a 3 Musketeer for dessert. Or a Frosty, Blizzard, etc.

Even when I did Weight Watchers, I’d do my best to tally up “points” but I still ate those same foods, perhaps a bit less. I always lost 20 lbs, then stalled and gave up only to put on more weight.

I know the program has changed a lot since my time, but when you have the books with the points listed for every fast food restaurant menu, that does little to help the root of the problem.

When I started educating myself and realized the reality of the stuff I was putting into my body and what would happen if I continued down this road, I knew I wanted better.

In fact, I realized that I didn’t even really like that food, I had just gotten into the habit. I was eating food that was terrible for me and I didn’t like because it was convenient and because I didn’t care enough about myself or my body to take proper care of it.

But thankfully, I finally woke up and realized I am worth it. I also started associating what I ate with how I felt, which was a real eye opener.

Journaling worked well for me but I know it is not for everyone. I continued to journal more informally once I reached a comfortable weight.

This blog, in some ways, is like a food journal only I’m not trying to lose weight anymore. I am however, staying aware and still learning!

To this day, I plan my meals and snacks (apart from the blog) to help me stay on track (and try new recipes!) but I’m much more relaxed now. If I start to feel crappy or my pants start fitting too tight, I will keep a more detailed log until I feel back in control again.

Have you ever used a food journal? Do you find it helpful or not?

I’ll post another key soon, this barely scratches the surface. Thanks for reading!