Lifestyle change. Two simple words that when put together aren’t that simple.
The last seven weeks have been an adjustment. Each day is still a struggle – easier but still a struggle. This week I’ve found myself thinking about my journey so far and where I’m headed. If I have any chance of reaching my goal and maintaining it, my old lifestyle can never return. I say that not to mean that I ever want to revert back but more as a stating of the obvious. Portion sizes, sodas (along with other sugary beverages) and exercising. I would put those in the top three spots as my most difficult challenges and problems.
Let’s start with sodas and other sugary beverages. I drank a lot of my calories. Sweet teas (almost by the gallon), soft drinks and infinite refills, slushes and the list goes on. Not a good thing. Almost seven weeks and not a single drop of soda. That in itself is a miracle. I’ve never had a problem drinking water, but sodas were king in my diet. The only way I have been able to do it is thanks to sparkling water, specifically La Croix. They come in a variety of flavors that I enjoy and help give that carbonated sensation all with the benefit of having zero calories, zero carbohydrates, no sodium, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners – just carbonated water and natural flavor. They might be a crutch but it’s one I don’t mind leaning on.
Large pizza, serves six to eight people? More like one. You better believe that was me walking into Little Ceasars with a fiver and leaving with a large pepperoni pizza all for myself. My idea of eating healthy – just eat half of the pizza and save the rest for later. Looking back I ask, “what was I thinking?!” And let’s not talk about the crazy bread. Naturally, it wasn’t just the pizza that was out of control. Everything – every bite, every snack, every meal. Moderation was nowhere to be found in my eating habits. This is where Weight Watchers has really helped. It encourages healthy eating and proper portions. Tracking everything I eat in a day felt a little cumbersome at first but after awhile it almost feels like second nature. It’s not an obstacle to eating, it works as a guide helping me navigate to better choices. Because let’s be honest, if I knew how to do this all alone you wouldn’t be reading any of this right now.
No pain, no gain. Everyone has probably heard this motto in some form or fashion. I never wanted to feel the pain, sadly I did feel the gain – all 270 pounds of it. This is one of the key differences for me now versus five years ago when I first attempted a lifestyle change. Right now running is my main source of exercise. While losing weight and being healthy is my primary motivation, I made a goal for myself to run in a 5k. I want to prove to myself that I can do it. It’s not something I ever imagined doing but here I am. To help with this, I’ve been using a mobile app called C25K. There’s a wide variety of apps out there with the same general idea – go from sitting on the couch to running a 5k. Even if I wasn’t going to run a 5k, it helps regiment my runs/jogs/walks. This is unknown territory and I had no idea what I was doing – still don’t … sort of.
What has surprised me the most is how much running has become somewhat enjoyable. When I began, I could barely make it through the first day’s routine and most of it consisted of walking intervals. It took me almost a week to get through Week 1 Day 1. I find myself now thinking about when I’m going to be able to run next. Or perhaps I eat a meal that maybe I shouldn’t have. I find myself thinking, “you’re going to have to run that off.” It is such an odd feeling that I’m still getting used to it.
As I type this I am weighing in at 243 pounds, down from 270. Obviously, I still have some ways to go until 200 and ultimately 180. But this is really happening. I can see my feet again when I look down and when I hug my wife it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole other person between the two of us. I can look at myself in the mirror again and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. I feel good and look forward to the future.