It's been two years since I decided to do something about my health, so this week I'm in a reflective mood. I'll share a few thoughts in this post about my journey so far - what I've accomplished and what I'm up to now. Then I'll conclude with some advice to those who might be on their own journey to better health.
What I've accomplished
Well, I think the photo sums it up! But to give some additional stats:
Generally it took me about 10 months to lose the 75 pounds, and since then I've just been enjoying living a healthier life at a healthier weight.
Thoughts on "maintenance"
My advice to you
My advice and what has worked for me is scattered throughout my entire blog, but if you click on the Weight Loss category, you'll see some of my specific posts on the subject. If you're in a position where you want to lose weight, but for whatever reason can't figure out how to, you're not alone. I went for years gradually putting on pound after pound and not noticing my deteriorating health. And I can't judge you because I would be judging myself. But I do want you to learn from my mistakes.
You can do it like I did it and wait for a major health crisis. For me, it was sleep apnea that gave me a wake-up call. The downside of this is basically - you can't choose your health crisis. It could be a heart attack, diabetes, cancer or something else. Not that being healthy guarantees that you won't have a health crisis, but we both know that being obese increases the risk.
The big problem is that youth greatly masks health issues. Until around 40, you can abuse your body quite a bit and get away with it. Then at around 40 things change and the body isn't so forgiving anymore. And by that time your unhealthy habits are pretty difficult to break. That's what happened with me. I was doing ok - then one by one things started to happen. High blood pressure? Sure, just take some pills for that. High cholesterol? Here are some more pills for that. Heartburn? We have so many OTC pills for that! Sleep apnea - here's an oxygen machine to use at night so you can breathe. HUH? Wait, what happened here? How did I get so fat and unhealthy that I needed the help of a machine because layers of fat in my throat were affecting my ability to breathe at night? Oh yeah, and all of those pills I was taking each had side-effects that were affecting my mood and health in other ways.
I created this blog to help inform people of health and fitness information that I learned along my journey. But I also created it to help YOU - the person that has significant weight to lose but is too tired to do anything about it. YOU - the person that knows they need to lose weight but doesn't know where to begin. YOU - the person who has been ignorant of the effects that living an unhealthy life has upon the quality of your life.
Make small changes
Wake up before it's too late. Wake up NOW. Don't let another day go by without doing something. Go for a 5 minute walk. Drink an extra glass of water. Cut down from an extra large fry to a medium fry. Drink one less soda. Choose one thing and do it today. You probably already know what that thing is. Then feel good about doing that one change, and continue to do that the next day. Once you've formed that new habit, add another.
DON'T try to change your entire life at once. DON'T get inspired by a new fad diet and adopt it only to see your results evaporate and the weight return. Make small, simple, daily improvements and build upon your daily successes. You'll start to notice some immediate results - you'll start feeling a little better. And once you notice the results, you'll gain more courage to take on additional changes.
You've heard it before, but I'll say it again. You didn't put on the weight quickly, and you shouldn't expect to lose it quickly either. Be patient with yourself. When you make mistakes, don't beat yourself up. Don't let them derail you either. So you ate a half gallon of ice cream. The old you would give up and say this is too hard. The new you says - ok, I slipped, but I'm not turning one bad choice into a series of bad choices. Put it behind you. Consistency is far more important that momentary lapses. Now go and DO something.