I am 2 months into my year of discipline and 4 and 1/2 months into my first year of motherhood. All things being what they are, I think I am ready to start applying discipline to a very undisciplined area of my life: eating healthy and exercising.
I have a love hate relationship with eating right and exercising. When I am into it I love it but when I am out of it I hate it! Can you relate?
For the majority of my life I have been on some kind of diet. I am one of those girls who has clothes of every size from size 6 to 16 in her closet. No matter what I have tried, I’ve never been able to put this issue of “weight management” to bed once and for all. It’s such a mystery to me why I have not mastered this area of my life instead of allowing it to master me. Obviously the issue is discipline, so how do I get discipline in this area of life?
If I’m being honest, I’ve never been at peace with my body — ever– even when I was wearing size 6 sundresses and bikinis I still wasn’t at peace because I knew that I could not maintain what it would take to say that way. I was white-knuckling my way to skinny jeans and you can only grasp hold of an unsustainable solution for so long before you go flying off the handle. Believe me, I know.
You name a diet and I have tried it. I’ve been on Weight Watchers, South Beach, Body for Life, Atkins, Zone, Low-Carb, No-Carb, Fat Free, High Protein — you name it. I have also done the fad diets — The Grapefruit Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet (GROSS), and the urban legend “Mayo Clinic” 3 Day Diet (which isnt even by the Mayo Clinic but actually worked for me once).
I have also gone the RX route, I’ve taken fen-phen, chromium picolinate, water pills, herbalife, and this random tea diet where I would take an herbal supplement in the mornings and drink this “cleansing tea” (this was super gross!).
There are a few things I have not tried, like Medifast, Ideal Protein, Sugarbusters and Alli, not for any reason other lack of expendable cash on hand and the harsh reality that NONE of these have ever helped me find the peace with my body I have been seeking.
Lets face it, dieting sucks. Its expensive (ironically) and it doesn’t work.
So what does work?
I’ve spent more time pondering that question than I care to admit. I am not sure I have the answer, but here are some conclusions I have drawn from all my experiences:
Everybody and every BODY is different
I’ve learned that my body makes the most efficient use of calories when I am eating a balanced meal (who knew) that includes a third lean protein, a third green/leafy veggie and a third complex carbohydrate. Sugar, white rice and white flour are my enemies! Low-fat verse full fat isn’t really an issue for my body type, I have excellent cholesterol and eating regular cheese and sour cream don’t seem to impact my efforts the same way as bread and chocolate.
Don’t focus so much on the quantity of calories that you lose sight of QUALITY calories
I’ve known people (self included) to do a diet like Weight Watchers, only eat 100 calorie packs of everything, raw veggies, air popped pop corn, deli meat and lean cuisines and never lose more than 5 or 10 lbs. You can stay within your “points” on a diet like that but if you are not consuming quality calories that your body can use efficiently and calories from foods that actually participate in your body’s ability to burn fat, you are basically wasting your time writing point values on boxes of cereal and frozen dinners. As a side note about frozen dinners, my husband who is very fit has terrible cholesterol, he stopped eating lean cuisine type frozen meals and his cholesterol went down almost 100 points!
I have felt my best and found the most success when I was exercising regularly.
I have been a member of a gym pretty much since I was in high school and went to the ATC Fitness on Stage Road in Bartlett. I enjoy going to the gym. I like exercise classes and really loved kick boxing when they offered the classes where you actually hit the punching bags. It just felt SO good to feel strong and fit. I want to feel that way again, especially now as my body is realizing that I ain’t as young as I once was.
The state of my relationship with God is usually a direct reflection of how I am doing from a weight management perspective.
This also may seem obvious to some. But I guess its hard to admit. When I am in the Word and really allowing the Lord access to EVERY area of my life on the inside, it’s usually coinciding with a season where I am looking and feeling my best on the outside.
All that to say, my goal to apply what I know about weight loss with what I am learning this year about discipline and lose 50 lbs by October 12.
October 12 is my little girl’s 1st birthday. I chose this as my “finish line” for several reasons:
1. I want to learn to embrace and truly become disciplined in this area for my daughter, so that I will be healthy and not shorten my time here on earth in any way by leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
2. I want to model healthy habits for my daughter. If I don’t apply discipline to this area of my life I will very likely hand off my bad example to her and that is my worst nightmare. I don’t want weight management to be a problem that she struggles with or has to spend a lifetime trying to solve (like me). My hope is that it’s not even an issue, that we eat to live (not the other way around) and that she practices and observes healthy attitudes toward eating and exercise her entire life.
3. We put WAY too much pressure on ourselves as women to lose weight quickly after giving birth. I strongly believe in what the doctors say: it took you 9 months to gain the weight so expect it to take at least that long to lose it. So I gave myself 4 months to not think about or worry about diets and now its time to get busy, I think that its reasonable to think that I can lose 50 lbs by the one year anniversary of her birth.
4. Brian has his 20th high school reunion in October and I want to look as good as I did the day I married him when I go to meet all his old friends. I think I am more motivated to lose weight for HIS reunion that I would be for my own.
So back to the original question: HOW DO YOU LOSE 50 LBS? Well, here is how I am going to attempt to lose 50 lbs by October 12, 2012.
1. Change the way I eat – DUH! I really believe in the balanced meal approach. Its realistic. It’s good for the entire family. We can follow it forever, it’s a lifestyle change not a diet. That said, there are some “diets” out there that promote the balanced eating approach. So I am going to test them out here on my blog. I am going to try several different healthy “life-style changing” approaches to weight loss and document my experiences here so hopefully this can becomes somewhat of a fun experiment to see which of the programs returns the best results. I will start with the South Beach Diet in March and do it for one month. Then I am going to do the Zone Diet in April, Weight Watchers in May and then in June I am going to attempt to just eat like the Food Pyramid says to eat — a balanced meal. I am also going to post regularly about what I eat, including recipes. My hope is to figure out how to cook foods that are healthy and taste good.
2. Exercise – Double Duh! Exercise works, especially cardio combined with weight lifting or resistance training. If anyone reading this wants to donate/loan me a copy of P90X I will do that June-August as part of the experiment here. I wanted to include it to start with but I can’t afford that jank! It aint cheap!! We are members of LA Fitness, its right next to our new home in Leesburg. I had been a member of Gold’s Gym for over 10 years before switching to LA. I have to admit that right now I am not loving the change. I miss Golds, I miss Body Pump and the cardio machines at my old gym were so much better than the ones at my new gym. But you can’t beat the location of the LA Fitness so we are committed for the long run. I am going to start off doing the Body for Life exercise program along with my monthly food programs. I will also document my exercising here on the blog. One of my goals with the exercise piece is documenting my experience fitting exercise in when you have a new baby. Honestly right now it seems impossible but I am bound and determined to figure it out, even if it means doing jumping jacks and squat thrusts in my living room.
3. Be transformed my the renewing of my mind through scripture memory; and this should really have been the first point on the list because this is where the entire journey begins for me. I’ve talked about wanting to memorize scripture in conjunction with my quest for discipline and I am pleased to report that — by Gods grace — I have memorized my first “fighter verse” and am currently on my second. I can already tell a big difference in my thinking and thought processes as a result of spending time over the last week memorizing the first verse. You may find this cheesy but I am sharing it anyway because I think it has biblical undertones: I am a Zeta Tau Alpha and a line in our creed says: “the thought is father to the deed so only that which we would have manifest in our experience should be entertained in thought.” I love that line of our creed because I believe it helps make sense of the idea of being transformed from the inside out through scripture memory. Whatever you are thinking about will become your reality. My therapist called this visualization and always praised me for being good at it from a therapeutic perspective. Beth Moore taught me in Breaking Free to “wallpaper my mind with Scripture.” This kind of inward transformation and renewal of my mind will determine my success. I truly believe that there is no way I will fail at this if I am memorizing scripture and letting God’s spirit do its work IN me.
So there you have it. This is how I will apply discipline to lose 50 lbs and kick-start an inner transformation that will, Lord willing, be a permanent lifestyle change that I can teach my kids and rely on to keep me healthy and happy for the rest of my life.
Wow, this is the longest blog ever. They wont all be this long. I just had to get all my thoughts out there to tee up this new leg of my discipline journey. If you made it this far, you are a real friend, thanks for hanging with me!