All hail, all hail my first monthly recap! I dropped the ball a bit last week with my regular recap so, this is my attempt at reeling in the line and getting myself back on track. After 30+ days, I’ve started to learn some things. Here are 7 lessons from my first month I’d like to share:
Lesson 1# This is going to be slow motion growth.
At this point in time, I’ve lost a little more than 10 lbs. I’m not complaining but, you know how they say the heavier you are the easier it is to lose weight? This isn’t true for me. It never has been. Many years ago I focussed intensely on shedding weight and I fought stupid hard for each pound. It took me 6 months to lose about 50 lbs…. and it took me about two years to gain those 50 lbs back and some. If you are someone tuning in to watch a woman shed pounds Biggest Loser-style then you are going to be disappointed.
When I first started Greater At 40 I was both ready to go into maxium overdrive of sharing and producing content and also wanting to go really slowly. I knew I’d have to find a balance that works for me. How much do I share? Admittedly, I haven’t shared that much. You get my weekly blog here and some social posts on Instagram and Facebook. In the future, I’ll do more. For example, I’d love to be Snap Chatting things for you. But, can I make a confession? Yo, the decision to make your life public is super hard! For some people? Maybe not so much. For me? It comes SLOWLLLLLY!! So, please, have some patience with me. I promise I will share more in the future. On that note, if there is something you think you want to see, please chime in below and tell me!! Do you want to see more from my workouts? Stuff I’m eating? What can I give you that you would find helpful?
Lesson #2 I’m never going to diet.
In the last month I’ve totally changed the my relationship to food. This is only going to keep changing, especially in the future as I start to address the crutches of emotional eating in my life. What I have learned, however, is that I never want to diet. In fact, dieting is totally non sustainable and never going to be how I learn to live a more healthy and happy life. At its fundamental definition, according to Miriam Webster, a diet is a “regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.” But that’s just it. Life is not about a regimen. Life is about plans and doing your best and adapting and making choices and setting goals and shooting for an ideal and then doing your best to make it all happen ALL THE WHILE STILL LIVING AND ENJOYING LIFE!
On top of that, we literally have scientific research that supports the fact that diets simply don’t work in the long run. Short term? Yes. Clearly. But over time? They don’t. Our bodies simply aren’t built for that. Take this quote from a brilliant and super informative article from the New York Times that you can find here.
This coordinated brain response is a major reason that dieters find weight loss so hard to achieve and maintain. For example, men with severe obesity have only one chance in 1,290 of reaching the normal weight range within a year; severely obese women have one chance in 677. A vast majority of those who beat the odds are likely to end up gaining the weight back over the next five years. In private, even the diet industry agrees that weight loss is rarely sustained. A report for members of the industry stated: “In 2002, 231 million Europeans attempted some form of diet. Of these only 1 percent will achieve permanent weight loss….
In the laboratory, rodents learn to binge when deprivation alternates with tasty food — a situation familiar to many dieters. Rats develop binge eating after several weeks consisting of five days of food restriction followed by two days of free access to Oreos. Four days later, a brief stressor leads them to eat almost twice as many Oreos as animals that received the stressor but did not have their diets restricted. A small taste of Oreos can induce deprived animals to binge on regular chow, if nothing else is available. Repeated food deprivation changes dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain that govern how animals respond to rewards, which increases their motivation to seek out and eat food. This may explain why the animals binge, especially as these brain changes can last long after the diet is over.
In people, dieting also reduces the influence of the brain’s weight-regulation system by teaching us to rely on rules rather than hunger to control eating. People who eat this way become more vulnerable to external cues telling them what to eat. In the modern environment, many of those cues were invented by marketers to make us eat more, like advertising, supersizing and the all-you-can-eat buffet. Studies show that long-term dieters are more likely to eat for emotional reasons or simply because food is available. When dieters who have long ignored their hunger finally exhaust their willpower, they tend to overeat for all these reasons, leading to weight gain.
Ok, so basically what this says is that a super-strict diet based on deprivation is simply never going to work. (Read the whole piece, it’s pretty awesome. And there are many more articles from the NY Times about the science of weight loss that have come out in the last few years that are equally as awesome – I’ll find them.) Which is why I’m never going to diet. Adaptation vs Deprivation. I’m going to evolve and change things so that I AM IN CHARGE OF MY FOOD and not my food being in charge of me.
As my Jedi encouraged me weeks ago, when I was desperately craving ice cream, eat the darn ice cream. Eat less, portion control and then adapt around it. I don’t want to be the girl that misses out on the really great life moment of enjoying a homemade s’more in front of a huge fire pit next to a guy I think is wickedly awesome —— I’m just going to make my decisions about food based based on the greater perspective of having a more positive, healthful grounded relationship to food in the long run.
Lesson #3 Curls vs lines.
We all know that fluctuating in your weight based on day of the week, time of the day and day of the month is all totally normal. But… sometimes I fluctuate pounds and pounds. This freaked me out. It still kind of freaks me out. But when I weigh myself and I see this, I am reminded of what my Jedi says. At my heavy weight, its normal for someone to fluctuate 5 or even 10 lbs within the day based on a variety of factors.
So while I want to see my weight steadily and slowly drop like a neat line… It’s probably going to be more like the squiggle on the right. I have to look at averages, over time. Yet another reason why I’m choosing to take the really long road here when it comes to defining my own success.
Lesson #4 Other people’s progress is not my story.
This one has been hard. Because I am someone that really likes to relate to other people, support them and be appreciative of their journey. When I first created my @GreaterAt40 Instagram account, I followed a whole bunch of of folks who were on a weight loss journey… and then I unfollowed most of them.
While watching other people have success is inspirational, I find it really only motivated me if their path was similar to mine. I was finding so many people losing weight dramatically with heavily regimented diets, pre-packaged 800-calorie a day eating plans, people losing weight so quickly that, frankly, all it was doing was making me feel inferior in my efforts. I have kept reminding myself that this is MY journey, my progress, my path, my way.
This is something I need to remind myself for so many reasons across the board. My workouts will not be the same as others. My weight loss will not be the same. My emotional journey will not be the same. And that is 100% ok. I am not running a race. I am making a major shift in my life… shifts take time.
As a little reminder for myself, I always refer to these cards from Gabby Bernstein.
Lesson #5 I need to stop bringing my phone into the bathroom.
Seriously. I dropped my phone in the toilet and bathtub TWICE this past month. Seriously. I’ve had this same phone for, like, two years and now all of a sudden I get all dropsie? Mmmnope. Just, nope. I’m issuing a ban on Bathroom Phone time from now on. Just saying.
Lesson #6 Embrace on your support squad.
Here’s one that is so simple yet so overlooked. Embrace your support squad. These are the folks who don’t care that you want to talk about your macros, discuss protein, and are cool with eating in instead of going out. The ones who don’t make you feel weird because you don’t want to drink, who help you off the couch when you can’t move after a workout and who remind you they are proud of you even when you don’t feel like you are making any progress. The ones who watch the videos before you share them and read your posts. Listen, not everyone in your life has to jump on board with the changes you are making along the way with your journey. That is totally ok. But when folks do…. embrace it.
Lesson #7 I’m starting to get tired of chicken.
So. Much. Chicken. So. Much. Chicken. Literally, I have eaten so much chicken in the last 30 days its INSANE! Mental note that I am going to start making smoothies because I need more ways to eat nice chunks of protein. For me, personally, I am trying to stay away from dairy so chicken and egg whites have been my main source. Starting this week I will be embracing the blender!! #cuedramaticmusic
That’s all I’ve got for your, folks. And in casey you really want a number… the scale says I am down 10.3 lbs.
Till next week. With gratitude and thanks.