Friday, September 5, 2014

Back on Track

My weight loss journey was spectacular.  Here's a recap for those who don't know or don't remember...

I lost 135 pounds in 17 months (and lost another 5-8 pounds while I was on maintenance mode).  Yes, I lost weight but I gained!  I gained self confidence, energy, and an entirely new perspective on life. My larger than life persona was trapped in a cumbersome box (my obese body)... losing weight was like gradually unwrapping a phenomenal gift - the "real" me - a dazzling yet spunky firecracker!

Please don't misunderstand... the process wasn't all butterflies and rainbows.  There was/is no magic pill, shake or wrap for losing weight. You have to put in the hard work and dedication.  I repeat - hard work and dedication. Note: I did not mention motivation. Losing weight has absolutely nothing to do with motivation.  I didn't always desire to go run/exercise or only eat one piece of cake (truth be told - I really do want to eat the entire cake)... life isn't about our desires people! 

The hot question everyone asked me was, "How did you do it?" Once people adjusted to seeing the new me they stopped asking "How?" and started asking "Why?" - "Why haven't you gained back the weight?" I was slightly surprised by the question...

Why haven't I gained the weight back? I've read people comment on the statistics of obese people regaining their weight (if not more) after weight loss.  I believe those who gain back their weight didn't approach weight loss for the right reasons or they followed some ridiculous diet (if you couldn't or wouldn't eat that way for the rest of your life - then it's not a sustainable "diet").

I made reasonable dietary changes with no restrictions (except two things: no soda or artificial sugar). I eat everything in moderation.  Pasta? Bread? CARBS?  Oh my!  YES.  Pasta, bread, and CARBS aren't evil.  In fact, they're good for you (in as close to their natural state as possible (read: whole wheat and whole grain). Meat, fish and dairy are also good for you.  I don't care what documentary claims otherwise - unless you have a genuine allergy, I call BS on all that nonsense.  Furthermore, I established an exercise 5 days a week rule/commitment, no excuses.  Through sickness, through injuries, through vacations - I exercise 5 days a week (with very few exceptions - less than 5 times in 2.5 years). 

I didn't change my entire way of life to simply lose weight, to be a certain size or a certain number on a scale; I changed my life to get healthy!  I didn't gain the weight back because I continue to stay committed to myself and my health. I didn't stop eating healthy, well balanced meals and exercising once I lost my weight... I continued the process. It's really that simple.

With all that said, I have a confession. I have gained about 10 pounds.  Ok, technically 15 pounds but allow me to explain (why so defensive Serena?).  HAHA!  Earlier this year I decided to regularly add strength training to my exercise schedule.  Previously I was a cardio queen... honestly, I still love cardio.  However, I wanted/needed to strengthen and tone my body (in hopes of shaping areas I'm not too thrilled with - namely my flabtastic upper arms).  After a couple months I noticed I actually gained 5 pounds - however, I was slightly smaller physically. I wasn't concerned with the 5 pounds on the scale because I knew it was an increase in muscle mass and not fat.

The other 10 pounds... well, I had a few rough patches with binge eating over the last several weeks. I love to bake and when I bake - I do it right!  Butter, cream, sugar... you know, all that oh-so-delicious richness that make baked goods and pastries worthwhile!  I went a wee bit overboard and lost my grip on the reins for portion control.  I began compensating with increasing my exercise (which more often than not I used to justify my overindulgence in the first place). Exercise isn't a punishment and it's not a means to an end... it's for my health!

You may be thinking what's 10 pounds in the grand scheme of things? As previously stated, I don't care about the number on the scale.  I focus on how I feel in my own skin.  Since I typically gain weight in my midsection so those 10 pounds make me feel just as uncomfortable and bloated as I did when I was morbidly obese - and that is a feeling I do not wish to continue feeling! My favorite jeans don't fit well (one pair I can't even wear). Even a few dresses aren't as flattering and comfortable with the extra fluff beneath.   

So... here I am, refocused and ready to get back on track.  Although I have been fairly successful at intuitive eating for more than a year I decided I would go back to an old habit that I know works extremely well: food/calorie tracking. With a few minor adjustments to my eating habits and balancing my exercise routine I look forward to rediscovering my "comfortable self" soon.

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