I’ve been on a journey for almost 9 months. Today, I made it to my destination. It took me as long to get here as it took to have my babies, but I’ve finally arrived and the view is beautiful.
In June of last year, I started what I was sure was just going to be another weight loss plan. I’d done them before with varying levels of success, but everyone assured me that this one was different. “Profile by Sanford isn’t like those other plans. Really! It’s easy and it works!” I listened and watched my friends succeed on it for months before I finally gave in and said, what the hell. What I didn’t realize was that I was finally going to find that nutrition plan that made sense to me in a way that made me feel that I could stick with it and make a permanent lifestyle change.
9 months ago, I was tired of feeling like the fat one among my wonderful group of friends. I was tired of feeling tired. I hated how I looked in my clothes. How I couldn’t fit into my favorite jeans anymore. I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. Today, I’m not that person anymore. I’ve found confidence and rediscovered myself. I’m here. 67 pounds gone. From a size 18 to an 8. And I feel AMAZING!
I’ve learned so much on this journey. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:
- One stumble does not mean you’re out of the race. If you are running a marathon and at mile 20, you trip and fall, do you have to go back to the starting line and start over? Are you booted from the race for falling? No, of course not. You pick yourself up, address your skinned knee, and run your last 6.2 miles. So why do we treat weight loss differently? I’ve been on other plans where one mistake basically messes up the entire week. And before you know it, you’ve had three bad weeks in a row, and you’re thinking to yourself “this is SO not working for me.” So we quit. If you have a bad day, if you eat something off plan, oh well. Pick it right back up with your very next meal. DO NOT wait for next week to start over. DO NOT even wait until tomorrow. Start with your NEXT meal.
- You will NOT lose every week, but that’s OK. One of the things I’ve loved about this program is that it’s not always about the number on the scale. I’ve had weeks where I’ve lost 5 pounds in 7 days. (Not many, but it’s happened.) I’ve also had weeks where I’ve lost nothing. And yes, occasionally, I’ve gained a couple pounds. (Ladies, you know about this monthly phenomenon.) But in the end, this isn’t about just one number. My waist kept getting smaller. My clothes kept getting looser. I was feeling more energetic. On those weeks where the scale doesn’t cooperate, it’s important to find something positive to focus on.
- What I put in my mouth is a choice…MY choice. This is important. Some call it “cheating”. I never refer to eating something off-plan as a “cheat”. Cheating is something that indicates a need for punishment…negative self talk does nothing to help move me forward. Or, just the opposite, we say “oops, I cheated!” with a wink and smile, waiting for someone to validate us and so “Oh, that’s OK. You’ll do better tomorrow.” No. I am not cheating. I am choosing. I chose to eat popcorn at the movies even though it wasn’t allowed. I chose to have a few drinks with my friends even though it was highly discourage. I CHOSE to have a small slice of cheesecake at a friend’s birthday party. I. CHOSE. TO. EAT. THAT. And those choices are OK. In actuality, they’re part of this process. We have to learn how to fit “life” into our eating. But, when we make those choices, we also have to own them and be ready to face the consequences. (Go back to the first bullet point…go ahead, I’ll wait.)
- Commitment is key. Nothing gets me more riled up than people who complain that this plan (or any plan, for that matter) don’t work. But then when you really look at it, you find that they’re not really following the plan at all. I have one thing to say to you in that case…if you’re not following the plan, you’re not on the plan. Yes, I know what I said about choices, but notice, I also said that if I make the choice to eat off plan, I have to be ready to face the consequences. I also need to make a choice to go back to my plan right away, or I can’t expect to work for me. This plan requires commitment…commitment to health, commitment to change, and commitment to discipline. If you’re not ready to commit, it’s not going to work.
- Every day is NOT a special occasion. Can I enjoy a piece of cake to celebrate someones birthday? What about the Holiday season…Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years? Do I have to avoid the office potluck for the rest of my life? Here’s the thing. How often do occasions like this REALLY come up? A few times a month at the most, right? It’s not what I eat on the special occasions that derails me. It’s what I eat on those normal days. People ask me how I managed to get through the holidays this year and still lose 6 pounds. On Thanksgiving, I ate Thanksgiving dinner. On Christmas, I ate Christmas dinner and even some cookies and candy. But on ALL of those days in between, I ate on my plan. It’s really that simple.
- This is MY journey, and it’s different from yours. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from comparing myself to others on the same program. Others will lose more, and they’ll lose it faster. Good for them. But I came to the realization that they’re not me. Remember the thing about choices? Sometimes, I chose to enjoy life, and eating something I shouldn’t was a part of that. Did it slow me down a little? Yes, probably. But I had to find a way to make this journey work for me. I had to decide what trade-offs were worth it to me. So, my route to reach my destination was probably very different from others and took longer than it did for others. And that’s fine. But if I don’t figure out how to make adjustments for my life, how can I expect the changes to stick?
- Photos don’t lie! If you’re on your own weight loss journey, or thinking about starting one, take pictures. LOTS of pictures! When you’re feeling discourage, start looking through those pictures to see documentation of your progress. Here. How about this?
There’s more, I know, and there are specific tricks I learned. I’ve dropped old habits like soda and coffee in favor of water. I still drink a cup of coffee most days, but instead of 5 or 6 cups with creamer, I only have one cup black. I definitely eat a ton more vegetables than I used to, and I’ve discovered some great new ways to prepare them. I won’t be giving up some of those dishes that I’ve learned to make.
But now that one journey is done, it’s time to start a new journey…maintaining this new healthier lifestyle I’ve adopted. Am I perfect? Oh no. I still have bulges in places I don’t like. I still don’t exercise as much as I should, but I’m a completely different person than I was 9 months ago…on the outside anyway. For me, I think the outside matches the inside better than it did. And I can much better accept the flaws and move on.
I don’t know yet what the new journey or the new goals look like…but for now, I think I’ll just enjoy the finish line.