Last week I started telling you about my weight loss journey and how it all started. Being overweight was an ongoing lifelong struggle for me. Once I have decided that I wanted to lose weight, I would lose weight and then gain it back. It felt like I was going in circles.
But there was a moment in my life that helped me to stop going in circles and lose weight permanently. And I want to share it with you.
I started my professional career after college. My first job was district manager in retail, and one of my colleagues was my good friend with a very unique sense of humor :). It was the major reason why we connected. He was also a brutally honest person.
We were constantly cracking jokes at the expense of each other. Sometimes we would be sitting at the regional meeting, and I would receive a note passed to me under the table. When I opened it, I would see a drawing of me as a fat girl with hairy underarms or something like that… In response, I would create a rude caricature of him and send it back to him under the table. There was even a time when our regional manager had us sit apart at different ends of the meeting room. We acted like school kids, even though my colleague was close to his retirement age! 🙂
But after receiving a few of these overweight caricatures, I decided to ask him for his honest opinion after one of our regional meetings. My question to him was: “Tell me honestly, please, all jokes aside, am I fat?” His response was: “A person’s triceps don’t get fat on their own…” I will remember this phrase forever …:)
Once again, I needed to buy bigger pants. I decided to go to a department store after work. I was wearing a size 12 petite or 14 regular. I grabbed the next size up and went into a fitting room, and as I looked in the mirror … I was disgusted with myself. I knew that I had gained some weight, but didn’t realize how drastic. I also realized in that moment that I had lowered my standards again to buy a bigger size of pants. I have had enough!
I left the pants in the fitting room and stormed out of the store. I sat in the car and lit up a cigarette. (I will tell you all about this in another article) I was so angry and disappointed with myself. I took my phone out and called stores in the area to see if they had some professional treadmills that are on sale. I found a treadmill on sale for $780 just two miles away.
I called my husband and asked him if it would be OK for me to make this large purchase. He was usually very supportive of me, but all of a sudden, he said that it was a waste of money. He said that we can just buy a hanger for our clothes instead of getting a treadmill because that’s all it would get used for. I promised him that I would put it to real use. He agreed, but did not really believe me (as he told me later).
The treadmill was delivered the next day. I needed to figure out a good place to put it. It was just the two of us at that time, and we were living in a two-bedroom apartment. My husband suggested putting the treadmill in the second bedroom so as to not clutter our main space. But my inner voice told me to put it in the middle of everything. That way if I were to skip a day of workout, I would feel guilty every time I passed it by.
As it turned out, I proved my husband wrong. I started exercising not just consistently, but obsessively. I was running 13 miles a day, 7 days a week. I lost weight like I was never able to lose it before. I was excited. I was on fire. Years later, we calculated that I have ran equivalent to half of the circumference of the globe!
But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I started looking sick—anorexic sick. My husband and my parents were trying to tell me this, but I didn’t listen to them. Now, that I was skinny, I was terrified that I could gain any weight back and look and feel the way I used to be. I started feeling pain in my knees. It came to the point that the pain became nonstop. I was constantly tired. And I finally started realizing that I was overdoing it.
I cut my workouts down to 3-4 miles, five days a week. I started looking healthier and increased my energy level.
After I purchased this treadmill, I was able to keep the weight off. The only exceptions were the two times when I was pregnant, but I worked out consistently through both pregnancies as well. During my second pregnancy, I’m proud to say, I have worked out on my elliptical machine, started having contractions, took a shower, and drove myself and my daughter to the hospital to give birth. If you work out consistently prior to getting pregnant, then for the most part, you will be allowed to work out throughout your pregnancy. But in any case, you have to get permission from your doctor to exercise when you are pregnant.
I have been able to keep my weight off consistently for over a decade now—and only by using a healthy diet and exercise. Studies show that if you consistently exercise for six months, you will exercise for life.
If you don’t already exercise consistently, start a fitness routine. It doesn’t have to be a treadmill, elliptical, or lifting weights. Find something that you love. Start at your own pace, whatever will work for you. Each day make a little bit of progress and stay motivated.
But don’t wait to feel confident and ready before you start working out. Be willing to do it and don’t worry about how it’s going to come out, or what you will look like, or how fast you will achieve results, and so on. You will pleasantly surprise yourself, trust me.
Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Do what you can. If you are putting it off, waiting for the right time – the timing will never be perfect. Just start today and imagine how happy you will be one year from now that you did. 🙂
“What you do today, can improve all your tomorrows.” Ralph Marston