So I mentioned yesterday that my good friend Amy would be guest blogging today. (She’s a part of that healthy moms group I’ve mentioned a few times.) Amy is in the midst of a lifestyle change and….
Well, I’m just going to let her share her story with you : )
Hi, friends of Helly! I am so honored to be here sharing my story with you. Helly and I are internet-turned-real-life friends. Our daughters are about a week apart in age and she inspires me daily with her infectious positive attitude and her commitment to her health and her family. It’s great to “meet” you all! This is a little slice of my life, and the journey I’ve been on the past couple months to lose weight and reclaim my confidence and self-worth.
Helly and my daugher M, October 2013
First, a little background. Unlike most of you, my default state is sedentary. While I like endorphins (who doesn’t?!), I can’t stand to exercise. I’ve searched high and low and I haven’t found one type that I truly enjoy. It takes a huge extrinsic motivation for me to get up off the couch and move. At the same time, I love food. Cooking and baking (especially baking!) are my passions, but most of all I love to eat. A lot. It’s so extreme that I’ve sometimes wondered if I have a food addiction. I have gone very long stretches of time where I have absolutely no regulation over what and how much I’m eating. Plus the whiter the carb, the better.
The most recent post from my currently dormant food blog of 6 years
Because of all this couch-sitting and food-over-enjoying, I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. Along with that has come a lot of depression and shame. In 2010, after recovering from a herniated disc, I finally decided to do something about it. Together with my husband, I trained for and ran the 1st Annual Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney World—very fitting for my foodie self! I still consider that one of my proudest moments ever.
At Epcot after our race
My healthy momentum from the race carried me for a while, but over the past few years I have slowly slipped back into my mega-eating, non-exercising ways. Since then, I’ve been yo-yo-ing, and have been up and down within a 25 pound range.
A couple months ago, I found myself at my highest weight ever. Despite adding in a bike commute to work (something I’m so proud of!), I hated how my clothes fit and I hated looking in the mirror. I hated my obese BMI and I hated looking like I was 5 months pregnant. It was time to make a real, permanent change. I wanted to hold my head up high, have more energy, and set an example of good health for my daughter.
This is one of my favorite pictures ever but I will always regret how heavy I look; Halloween 2013
This change needed to be sustainable, given my yo-yo tendencies. This time I’m committed to setting myself up for success instead of expecting that I’ll fail. There are a million diets and methods and clubs out there to lose weight, but I started out simple. In early January of this year, I started a Dietbet (something that’s helped motivate me in the past). I bet $25 that I could lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. My husband and about 75 friends and friends of friends joined us, and those of us who reached their goal (spoiler alert: including me and my husband!) split the pot.
To reach my Dietbet goal, I started logging every single thing I ate with My Fitness Pal. This has been so key to my success. There have been days when I’ve overeaten or slipped up, but logging it has helped me realize that I’m so very hard on myself. I’m allowed to mess up, and messing up doesn’t mean that I’m a total failure. AT ALL. It’s also helped with this sustainability thing. I can have a cookie for an afternoon snack once in a while or my beloved Chinese food in small doses and I can still stay on a downward trend of weight loss.
Now, about that pesky exercise. I’m about to share my dirty little secret with you, are you ready? Promise not to laugh at me. A friend gave me a series of workout videos by trainer Leslie Sansone. Her thing is “Walk at Home.” Yes, I said walk. At home. I know it sounds ridiculously low-impact and I’m mildly embarrassed to share this on a running blog. But as out of shape as I was, it started out hard! She has a wide variety of workouts and I was quickly able to increase difficulty. I still find the harder ones extremely challenging, and I’m in much better shape now. I took her 30-day challenge to work out 6 days a week, alternating days of cardio and strength. I successfully finished that challenge a few weeks ago and have continued with her videos since. I couldn’t have done this without Leslie!
My favorite 4-mile “walk”
I also got a Fitbit since I walk a lot at work, and these Leslie workouts have helped catapult me past my 10k step goal every day. I picked the Flex model; the fun interchangeable colored bands was a must for me! Orange and Teal are my favorites. Fitbit’s “gamification” of working out has definitely won me over.
I have started plateauing a bit with my weight in the past couple of weeks and have been ready for a new challenge, so I just started the Focus T25 program. I’m only 1 day in but WOW, that is a workout. I can’t believe I did that voluntarily. I’m really excited to see what kind of new results this adventure brings.
Now, for the punchline: Since I started in early January, I’ve lost 7.3% of my body weight and one pant size, and am no longer in the Obese BMI category!
Before and after my 4-week Dietbet. I’ve lost another 5 more pounds since then
That brings me to why Helly asked me to write this post. It’s been SO satisfying checking off my daily exercise and watching the scale tick down. But I have a lot of work to do on my mind and spirit. I still feel like the fat kid. When I look in the mirror, it’s hard for me to see what I’ve accomplished. I have some hard-wired patterns of self-doubt that are going to take a lot of hard work to undo. What I’m starting to realize is that this part is going to be as hard, if not harder, than exercising or counting calories.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud of my progress, and I know the numbers don’t lie. I have accomplished so much. I can do more reps with more weight now, my endurance is so much better, and I really am holding my head up higher just like I had hoped. But this is just the beginning of the journey for me. As I continue to creep down towards my goal weight, my biggest challenge will be treating myself kindly. Yes, that means treating my body with respect, but also allowing forgiveness when I mess up, and knowing that I am strong and I am capable and I can do this.
Thanks so much to Helly and all of you for letting me be vulnerable for a few minutes. Writing out my story really helped me gain some insight, and I hope maybe you got something out of it too. If you’d like to stay connected and follow my progress (and see lots of pictures of my kid!), I’m amy_i on Instagram.
Isn’t she awesome?? I’m so proud and honored that Amy shared her story on my blog. She’s been such an inspiration to me and I know that many of us can relate to the struggle that is weight loss and being good to ourselves. Thank you for visiting my page today and I’ll try my best to get Amy back here for a follow-up post soon : )
—Have you struggled with weight loss before?
—Why do you think that even after losing weight we are still hard on ourselves?