How I Got Back on Track

 

When my daughters were six and seven, I realized something shameful.

I had a tummy paunch and was telling myself it was post-pregnancy fat. Yep, six years after giving birth, I excused and denied my mottled middle.

My moment of reckoning occurred at a Cold Stone Creamery of all places. We were eating our favorites: Ava with her Chocolate Devotion, Josie with her Strawberry Blonde and me with my Coffee Lovers. Boy, were we having a great time!

ice-cream

Before I get further with this story, I want to make something clear: there is nothing wrong with love handles or a bit of pudge. As long as YOU’RE OK with it. I was not OK with my weight. I wore loose clothing and felt badly when I undressed. It’s just me….I feel best about myself when I am fit. I have a small frame and I feel uncomfortable with excess pounds. This is not a judgment about other people. It’s about me confronting something I was unhappy about and how I changed it.

Continuing…We got up from the table when a very fit woman walked past the window.

fit-woman
She walked just like this…

“Wow, she’s fit,” I said, wistfully.

“Mommy, you look good too, everywhere except your tummy.” Josie said.

As with all children, her words rang true. I had let myself go a bit. I licked the final bits of Coffee Lovers off my upper lip. I fought tears. And I sighed.

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I was ready to change.

In the next year, I lost 7 lbs. and got fit again. I had more energy and I was in a better mood much of the time. How did I do this?

I simply changed my habits.

Instead of going out for ice cream, I took the girls out for walks. We didn’t stop going out for treats entirely, we just cut back.

Instead of eating when I felt bored or stressed, I started jogging and doing yoga again. BUT, I made it a habit and I rewarded myself each time. According to Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit), this is THE key to success.  I woke up an hour early every day. I put on my workout clothes which I laid out the night before. After my workout, I had a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I reveled in feeling the endorphins run through my body and my coffee became my reward. I told myself, “No workout, no coffee.” I like coffee a LOT. That was enough to keep me going.

Honestly, I believe I am in better shape now than I was 25 years ago.

 

 

Is there something you want to change? How can you develop habits to make it happen? It’s easier than you think! I highly recommend Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit.” It’s very entertaining and informative.

 

*Photos from unsplash.com

 

Evolution

My Spam box this morning contained golden nuggets of information: exotic Russian women are waiting for me – as is an $800,000 donation from a very generous woman named Donna.

One thing that is always in my Spam box, the news, magazines and billboards is some variation of the theme, “Lose Weight Quickly”.

I’ve learned that this is a very bad idea and, as with most things, I learned this lesson the long and hard way.

When I was 7 years old, I ran around the neighborhood with my friends Renee and Cathy.  We played tag, rode our bicycles and re-enacted “Charlie’s Angels.” I ate what I wanted and I ran around a ton.

At 12, my parents started telling me I better not eat too many Cheetos. I’d get fat. Why did we have Cheetos and Ding Dongs in the house? I started to look for the fat. I started to worry.

At 14, although I was below average weight for American girls my age, trying on jeans would reduce me to tears. I didn’t look like Brooke Shields in her Calvins. My sister and I started dieting and exercising. We were miserable, but felt like we were “taking control”.

The next five years were a roller coaster of diets. At this time, it was all about low fat and cardio. We were mildly successful.

When I landed my first job, I made a salary that was considered poverty-level. Paying back college loans and working in San Francisco, I could only afford pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I developed a wheat allergy, so I ate less. The radio salesladies commented on my tiny waist. I was physically a wreck, but damn, I looked good.

I got a bit wiser and healthier. When I was pregnant with my girls, I suddenly cared a lot more about being healthy and a lot less about looking thin. When they were toddlers, I got naturally strong, carrying an infant and the car seat made me strong. Carrying an infant, a car seat and chasing a toddler  made me even stronger.

Now, my goal is to be as strong as I can be for as long as I live. Lifting heavy weights, rollerskating at the rink, practicing yoga and taking frequent walking breaks has made me stronger than ever. A surprising side effect to all this strength training? I think I look better than ever, too.