Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Reformed Couch Potato

I’m quite vocal about my lifestyle changes for a handful of different reasons because I feel very strongly about my changes.  The people who are rooting for me help to keep me on the right track and I’m also motivated by those who tell me that my goals will be hard to reach.  I’ll show them!  If I can also motivate and help people make changes in their lives too then that is something else that I can be proud of.  That is one of the reasons I have written this blog entry.   

The road to a healthy well-balanced lifestyle has been challenging at times and it will continue to have challenging moments.  There have been times that I have wanted to give up but I constantly remind myself that all of the changes that I want to make are not going to happen overnight.  The rewards along the way have made all of the difficult times worth it.

For many years I had said that I wanted to lose weight, although; most of my efforts were short lived and I can now chalk it up to not being ready and not fully understanding what it takes to lose weight.  It goes far beyond than food and exercise.  Your mind is your number one weight loss tool!

While I was pregnant with Calista, I attended water aerobics classes.  I had heard great things about water aerobics during pregnancy and what I had heard turned out to be true!  I felt fantastic and was full of energy during my pregnancy.  While I was pregnant, I took very good care of myself by eating a proper diet and exercising (two things that I had sporadically done in the past for short periods of time).  After Calista was born, I occasionally used my gym membership.

My wakeup call came during the summer of 2011.  Pictures of me that were taken at a handful of different 1st birthday parties started to surface.  As happy as I looked in the pictures, I couldn’t help but notice how big I was and I knew that I had let myself go.  Before my wakeup call (but not including the 9 months that I was pregnant), I indulged far too often on the not so good food and beverages including a lot of processed food and I lacked physical activity.  Also, as an emotional eater I ate when I was sad, frustrated, stressed and bored. 

At a year old, I felt a lot more comfortable leaving Calista with the babysitters at the gym.  I went back to water aerobics since I had really enjoyed the classes before.  I then tried some of the other classes like weight training, step aerobics and yoga.  The classes were a really good place for me to start.  The instructors are upbeat; everyone is there for a common purpose and before you know it, 45 minutes to an hour has zoomed by.  I still go to the classes if I make it to the gym on time but if not; I put my headphones on and do some heart pumping cardio by myself.

After I had consistently been going to the gym for about 3 months, I talked to Darcy about joining Weight Watchers.  He was hesitant because of the cost but I eventually convinced him that I would sign up and give it a try for 10 weeks.  Then we would revaluate the membership and I would at least have the materials to continue on my own.  I’ve renewed my membership a number of times since.  I’ve even fantasized about becoming a Weight Watchers Leader and having my own weekly class where I motivate and inspire!

I chose Weight Watchers because it is not a quick fix or a diet.  I needed extra help in learning how to change my negative food habits into positive ones.  I’ve gained so much knowledge and I really enjoy going to the weekly meetings and as you can imagine, I am not the quiet person sitting at the back of the room.   Weight Watchers has given me the tools and support that I need but the drive and dedication to succeed comes from me. 

My top 5 changes that I’ve made via baby steps in my life since my wake-up call last summer are:

  1. Turning cooking from a chore into a passion and in turn by doing this, we’ve eliminated a very large amount of processed food in our home. 
  2. I’ve started reading ingredient and nutritional labels on food.  I have also looked at the nutritional facts of different menu items at restaurants so that I can make a wise choice if I need to eat on the go.  Just a little FYI, one chicken SNACK wrap from McDonalds is almost the same amount of Weight Watcher points that I eat for DINNER. 
  3.  I now plan meals a week to two weeks ahead of time and by doing this, I’m much more prepared.  If for whatever reason, a particular day’s meal plan falls through and we need something quick and there is nothing at home, take-out and delivery has been replaced by rotisserie chickens and bagged salads from grocery stores. 
  4.  Activity!  I strive to go to the gym 3 times a week.  In between those days, I look for ways to continue being active like walking to do some of my errands instead of taking the car.  Not only is activity essential to losing weight but my overall energy level has increased and it helps my mental wellbeing as well.  
  5. My overall outlook on health and fitness is much more positive and realistic now.  I break up my goals into short term and long term.  I don’t expect my long term goals to happen next week but my short term goals will.

I made a list of the top 10 reasons why I wanted to lose weight and number 1 is the feeling that I get when I combine numbers 10-2.  It’s an emotion that I feel every time I make a positive decision related to food and activity.  Slow and steady wins the race and I am in the right mindset to continue this lifelong commitment.

Two of my favorite lines that have been said to be since starting this journey have been: “stop exercising your excuse muscle” and “if it is important to you, you will make the time.”

This article was written by our guest blogger, Christina. She is currently a SAHM to an adorable toddler.

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