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Friday, January 28, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

One of my favorite pictures of my sister and me (circa: a loooong time ago)

I have one sister and two brothers. My sister is trying to lose some weight and emailed me this question the other day:

I know I have asked you this before, but when you lost your "freshman 15" did you totally change how you eat? I see you now you are able to enjoy cookies and snacks (in moderation). I know working out is the key, but did you completely eliminate junk food while you were trying to lose the weight and, if so, when did you add them back in?

Instead of just emailing her back, I decided to put my answer on here. First, my freshman 15 was more like 25. In fact, I weighed as much then as I did at my heaviest pregnancy weight.

To lose weight, I did change how I ate. And those changes are still in effect today. I was eating too much. And eating just to eat, not because I was hungry. I ate too much fast food. And when I made something like brownies, I ate all the brownies.

Now I eat when I am hungry. I don't eat a lot of fast food. I try to make healthy choices. And now I only eat one brownie instead of the whole pan. It took a lot of discipline and time to make those changes. I never stopped letting myself eat anything specific though. I knew better. Still do. If I tell myself I am not going to eat something, it is all I can think about. Instead, I eat what I want but in moderation -- as my sister pointed out.

Some of the keys to changing the way I eat were:

  • Dishing up my food and then putting the rest away. Sometimes I am so quick to put leftovers in the fridge that my husband has to go without seconds too.
  • Getting out of the kitchen.
  • Not heading out to do errands on an empty stomach.
  • Keeping healthy snacks in my purse or in the car.
  • Looking at the entire day, not just focusing on one meal at a time. If I eat a big breakfast, I eat a smaller lunch and dinner.
  • I am not a big snacker. This doesn't work for everyone, but I do better with just three meals a day.
  • If I drink calories, I be sure to count them as part of my daily intake.

No matter how many changes I would have made to my eating habits, that extra weight wasn't just going to disappear. A HUGE part of my weight loss was exercise. My sister is right. Working out is a must. I started doing workout videos at home three to five days a week. At first, my knees hurt so much I could hardly stand up in the morning. I don't remember when they stopped hurting. But I do remember when I started thinking my legs looked pretty dang good. And when I could fit into my high school shorts again.

I eventually became certified as a group fitness and yoga instructor. I taught classes for several years and spent time on the elliptical or bike (never the treadmill though because I HATED running) on some of the days I didn't teach. Since that time, I have always worked out.

I am not perfect. I did eat a bag of Caramel Bugles for lunch the other day. And I eat way too many Hot Tamales if I eat them out of the box/bag instead of just taking a handful and putting the bag back. The important thing for me is not giving up because I overindulged on something. I used to let it be an excuse to pig out the rest of the day. Now I just move on and put it behind me.

Food is a part of life. But there is certainly more to life than food. I know I say it all the time, but it is all about balance.

10 comments:

  1. Seriously - isn't it?! It's about learning how to walk on that freaking balance beam, juggling the balls of life with your eyes closed.

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  2. Excellent advice. Your sister's lucky she has someone like you who's been through it already.

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  3. Great! Great! Great! I love your balance!

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  4. I found that not going out when I was hungry was a good habit to acquire as well.

    We have lots of good food at home that I enjoy, while fast food and snacks on the road are not the most tasty, and it also helps you manage the kind of calories as well.

    (P.S. please join our 2-minute Burpee contest: here)

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  5. Happy to read this today as I needed some encouragement. I've packed on a few (~5) pounds over the past few months that I need to lose. I've lost weight before but I'm nervous about trying to lose while training for a marathon. Any advice for me?

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  6. I never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach...that is bad news for me...
    I agree, balance is the key!

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  7. You made some great points! I'm the same way when it comes to food...I tell myself I won't eat it, then it's all I can think about! Thanks for posting this! :0)

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  8. wow I love this entry, congrats!

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  9. Such good advice! I need to learn to eat just one brownie still. But I have hope that someday I'll have the willpower! Great post!

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  10. Thanks sis!!! I just hope that I can stay motivated and reading your blog definently helps. Maybe next time you are down here, we could do a 5K together...something for me to push for.

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