My Health Journey: Part 2
Last week I shared my uncomfortable story about losing 50 pounds in 2018. The response and love has been overwhelming. Thank you for the support, kind words and affirmation. It really does mean a lot.
When I shared the post / “Dear Tired Mom” article I wasn’t expecting the specific questions from readers such as: “What steps did you take” or “what exactly did you do”? I received one question that struck me as particularly interesting.
“How did you prepare yourself mentally?”
What a great question! I certainly did prepare mentally when I reflected and drafted this summary. I will share the exact steps I took in the beginning of 2018. Maybe it will help someone else map their health journey and goals for the upcoming year.
Disclaimer: This isn’t a diet or “how to guide”. This how I prepared myself mentally when starting. I didn’t cut any specific food groups or participate in extreme diets. These steps were more mental to give me an overall strategy for the year.
Step 1. Established a support system (January)
In January, I reached out to close friends for accountability and support and was specific on how I wanted help. I asked for very specific prayer requests. I also talked to my sister who’s incredibly disciplined and who I knew would encourage me. (Confession: I probably sent her more texts during the first 3 months of this process than I did the entire year before.)
My husband and I also sat down and had a great brainstorming session right away. We discussed what things needed to change. The family routine and meals would shift and we needed a game plan. To be transparent, this conversation was more my husband reassuring me that he’d do whatever I needed. I was hesitant and scared about the commitment. He was reassuring me that he’d support me 100%. [swoon]
There’s a major mental game involved in weight loss and weight management. You need to find people who will push you and also understand the psychological battles. I quietly surrounded myself with an “accountability tribe”. They didn’t know that’s what they were … but it was an important step in my mental process.
Step 2. Reading & Research
Next step was reading and determining “the plan”. I didn’t want a diet and certainly didn’t want someone else’s diet. I wanted a plan. Anyone can diet. I wanted detailed strategy and approach for my medical history and background.
There’s endless amount of opinions, trends and contradictory studies on weight loss. I tried to ignore all information on social media and focused on peer-reviewed, medically based research. (These are terribly boring and hard to follow but accuracy is important folks.) The end result was always the same. Each report and study all kept saying…..
Eat. Less. Move. More.
Well. That’s totally boring. To be fair, the medical community has been quite consistent with this advice. We just aren’t listening. We tend to overcomplicate things by adding extra restrictions, tricks, fads and short-lived trends.
As mentioned in Part 1, I did participate in a medical weight loss program. After my reading and research… I selected one that felt right for my personality and commitment level. I will explain that program thoroughly in another post. It’s a lot of information and needs it’s own space.
Finally, in my research phase, I checked with my health insurance on what programs/plans they offered. I wanted to know what free resources and guides might be available.
Step 3: Meal Planning
I was encouraging people to do things I wasn’t doing for myself! Even though I meal planned dinners, I wasn’t eating regularly during the day! I would eat sporadicly the random leftovers on their plates and my metabolism was jacked.
I used tools like the Meal-Planning bundle to streamline and organize my “mommy lunches”. No more left over chicken nuggets! I bought these small 4-compartment snack boxes and meal-prep containers and started prepping MY snacks and lunches for the week.
Eating healthy snacks during the day (and on schedule) encouraged my metabolism to slowly pick up.
The meal planning bundle helped get me ideas quickly and saved me a lot of time. Eating more regularly during the day gave me more energy and focus right away. In fact, I believe the meal planning bundle was a huge motivation and main reason for my success. If you’re interested in the bundle check it out here.
Step 4: Slowly Introduce Exercise
I intentionally didn’t start working-out right away during this process. because I wanted 3-4 months focusing exclusively on meal-planning. This was for a few reasons.
First, I know myself. If I tried adding too many new things at once, I’d get overwhelmed and stop. Additionally, we’ve all heard that 80/20 rule regarding weight loss. Your calorie INTAKE is substantially more important than exercise. It’s 80% diet and 20% exercise.
So from January to end of March, I focused all my energy on food and didn’t work out at all.
“The reason dieting is so much more effective than exercise is because it takes a ton of activity to create a 500 to 700 calorie deficit through working out. Essentially, you’d need to run 7-10 miles a day to lose one pound a week. “
“It is important for people to focus primarily on diet when they’re trying to lose weight.”Holly Lofton, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and director of the weight management program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
I hate working out.
Truthfully, one of the main reasons I didn’t start right away is… I don’t like working out. I don’t enjoy “gym culture” and thought it seemed impossible to find the time. The thought of finding a gym overwhelmed me. It grossed me out. I dreaded the thought and my stomach would turn thinking about it.
Seriously. I’m not being dramatic that I was this apprehensive.
Thankfully, after 3 months of intense accountability and serious meal-planning I had dropped 27 pounds. I had more energy and a smidge more confidence. Deep breath.
It was time for exercise. ????
I started looking for gyms and discovered a sub-culture in my community I never knew existed. ???? ???? Gym people are intense.
In Part 3: I will discuss my experience trying over 17 gyms in my community and what I learned. It will be partially published in my local newspaper and here for my readers. Stay tuned!
Everyone approaches their health and weight differently. Do a personal inventory and figure out what works for you. For any major goal, I always want a strategy in place. These 4 steps, while simple, were my strategy. I also avoided social media input entirely and got specific input only from medical professionals.
To recap, these were my 4 steps :
- Step 1: Establish Support System
- Step 2: Determine the Plan
- Step 3: Meal Plan like crazy
- Step 4: Slowly introduce fitness
Phew! That was a lot. More than I ever intended to share. But there you have it!