What About Those Last (#?) Lbs.?

When I started college, I lived on campus and ate in a cafeteria.  Having grown up eating out about once a year (McDonald’s on the way home from a road trip, and we were allowed two items only, one of which had to be a sandwich–automatically requiring sibling cooperation if we were to ever enjoy fries dipped in a milkshake which was what we all wanted), I thought I had graduated and gone to restaurant heaven.  And as we all know we reap what we sow, I packed on a few extra pounds in a relatively short amount of time.  Though I was a freshman 24 years ago, and have crowded out many of those memories with the chaos of the present, I still recall standing on a scale and promising myself, “I will never again let myself weigh more than #$%@ pounds.”

I knew that this promise to myself only applied to when I was the only person standing on the scale, so pregnancy, and a realistic period of time afterwards, was exempt.  Well, it’s been two and a half years since I was pregnant, and I think that’s a pretty realistic window.  It’s time to give up that part of me that is not so beloved.

This may shock some of you, but I have actually tried losing weight before–not always without success.  Once, in my big gap between giving birth to my boys and my girls, I even got down to #$%@ pounds–my previous upper limit.  It really did feel good.  I had more energy, my clothes fit better, I felt better about myself, just like they say.  This time around, I’m older than I’ve ever been before, and it seems even harder.  Just like they say.
I recently read (as if we didn’t already know, but if you’re in denial like me, you need to hear it statistically proven) that if you let friends know about your dieting goals, you are 20% more likely to stick to it.  (It also helps if you do something like donate $10 to a cause you don’t support every time you slip.  Read about these ideas in this article under “Get Influence”.)

So I am telling you.

Even more important than telling someone, is having a good plan.  A plan you can live with, that is rewarding, and that will bring success.  In a nutshell, here is mine.I have 15 lbs. to lose.

For the first 5 lbs., I am going to:

  • Avoid sugar and substitutes (exception: I will participate with the family in our weekly Family Night treat, which is honestly usually less than a serving size if you ask me.  But I don’t want to look extreme to my kids, so I guess I’d better have some too.)
  • Avoid cheese.  (exception: on salads and when it’s already integrated into a meal like in a casserole)  I’ve overdone it a bit on cheese in the past.
  • Emphasize whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and minimize animal products.  (I want to be healthier, not just lighter.)
  • I am going to make a list of foods to eat when I’m hungry and tempted and keep those foods on hand, including trips in the car.  Snacking is fine, it’s what the snack consists of that is the issue.
  • Dish up all I’m going to eat for firsts, and not have seconds.  This is probably the hardest thing for me, believe it or not.  I need to see how much I’m going to eat and then stop.
  • Exercise as much as possible.  I try to get outside for a walk each morning and do a brief Pilates type routine before going to bed, but also find other opportunities to exercise.  I will be more cheerful about another trip down or upstairs to fetch something!

The last time I tried this successfully, I went months with barely a frustratingly puny drop. But I stuck to it, and eventually pounds started melting away like a fallen popsicle on the Fourth of July (without the sticky mess).  I don’t know if it will work like that this time, but I sure hope I get down those five pounds before we start making the Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies!

I say this is for the first 5 lbs., because then I will reevaluate.

Want to join me?  3 steps:

1) Plan

2) Tell

3) Be kind.  Remember, it is not kind to reward yourself for good behavior on day 1 by eating a chocolate cake day 2.  Just be a friend to yourself.

Wondering about what you’re going to eat now?  Me too.  I’ll post more ideas later, send me some of yours.

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About Sunny

My name is Sunny, and my husband and I have five "children" ages 19 to 4. I love learning. I have a M.F.A. in Humanities and dream about going back to school some day. I run around doing "mom" stuff, try to put a nutritious dinner on the table for whomever shows up, and I thrive on creative projects when possible. Mostly I strive to just keep up with the mountains and mole hills of day to day life.
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