Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy 5th Blogging Anniversary to Me!

Five years ago this month, I launched my website, Lynn’s Weight-Loss Journey. It all began on this page: 2005 Jan-July.

I had no idea that I’d still be blogging, let alone in maintenance for more than three years, when I first posted that page. I was scared to death, sure that the Internet would blow up because I revealed for the first time how much I weighed. Until then, no one but my doctor and me knew.

But blogging and the incredible web of support it created has been my lifeline to weight loss and maintenance.

I looked through the old website today and found the following entry from February 2008. I thought since many of you are new to my blog, I’d share this post which answers a few of the questions I still get about weight loss. Keep in mind this was written more than two years ago and I’ve since gone completely vegetarian. I’m also more secure in maintenance and not as worried about a pound or two on the scale. I know how to kick those bad boys to the curb.

So my question for you today is, where do you envision yourself in five years?

Maintaining Focus, Staying Motivated

The sun is finally shining here in western Pennsylvania. I’m more aware this year than in past years just how big a role the weather plays in regards to my moods and therefore my food choices. When the sun is shining, I want to be healthy and eat right and all that good stuff. When it’s cloudy, I tend to vacillate toward “comfort food.” This doesn’t mean I always give in or make poor choices. It’s just something I’ve learned to recognize.

This ties into what I’ve been saying about weight loss and maintenance being a mental thing more than a physical thing. The more we’re in tune with our inner voice and motivation, the better prepared we are when the cloudy days come around. Keeping separate food and emotional journals help me recognize when I’m feeling a certain way and wanting to respond to that feeling in an old manner, like eating pizza with abandon or stuffing down a handful of animal crackers.

I thought I’d address a few more of your questions, particularly as they pertain to the mind-food connection.

1. I'd like your opinion on how you dealt with the problem of maintaining focus on weight loss while not having it become the central aspect of your life.

I firmly believe that once you make a commitment to losing weight and maintaining it, you adopt a lifestyle you will live with the rest of your life. So weight loss (and now maintenance) ARE the central aspects of my life, along with my family, my career, and all the other important things I live for. I love myself and so I treat my body with respect, just as I love my husband and kids and treat them with respect, too. It’s second nature, so it’s not like I think about my weight 24/7. I’ve incorporated it into my daily life. It doesn’t mean I don’t get upset with or disappointed in my body, just as I get upset with or disappointed with my family and career. The key to dealing with these emotions is in my behavior.

2. Did you start eating clean right away or was it a slow process?

I love this question because it really took me back three years to when I first started Weight Watchers. I remember I adapted several of my favorite recipes to be more “Points” friendly. I ate mostly the foods I’d eaten before, but I learned portion control. I dusted off my measuring spoons and cups and food scale to make sure I didn’t over- or under-do the portion.

As I learned more about nutrition and started losing Points (meaning I was eating less food every day), I wanted more “bang” for my calorie/point “buck” and began eating more vegetables and whole grains. Slowly I eliminated processed foods (no frozen dinners, 100-calorie packs, things like that) and incorporated some soy into my diet (soy milk, soy burgers, a little soy cheese). I stopped drinking milk because I hate milk and I was tired of forcing myself to eat something I hated. I get calcium through vegetables, yogurt and other more reliable sources than dairy milk.

So yes, it was and still is a process. I’m still adopting a completely vegetarian diet. I had ahi tuna the other night, but otherwise I stick to the “superfoods” (sans the meat). I eat a big salad once a day and load it up with greens, carrots, tomatoes, cheese and something crunchy like crackers or a few nuts (I still love crackers; I just make sure they’re whole grain now and not Cheez-Its J). I limit myself to two fruits a day and one (occasionally two) servings of complex carbs like potatoes, rice, pasta, that sort of thing.

3. How were you able to stay motivated from day one of your weight loss journey? How do you continue to motivate yourself?

I was motivated from day one because I wanted to be thin again. But “thin” to me was getting back to 165 or so. I never dreamed I’d get to the 120s.

I stayed motivated based solely on that premise: to be “thin” again. There were days when I had to do extra journaling and reminding myself of that premise, though. Sometimes I’d eat too much and proceed to emotionally beat myself up. Still do sometimes. But I always went back to my journals and photos of me at 165 or so and remembered, “Ah, THAT’S what I want again.”

I stay motivated now by enjoying how I feel at this weight. I need to confess, though, that losing weight was easier than maintaining, at least emotionally. I’m still working through the “nerves,” such as “Oh no! What if I gain a pound or two! What will I do?? Horror of horrors!” Clearly I have issues to work through. Maintenance is, after all, a journey and not “the end.”

Bottom line, you need to find one or two things that personally motivate you. Don’t lose weight for an event or for someone else or because your doctor says you have to. Find what it is inside YOU that wants to lose weight and let THAT be your motivator.

17 comments:

  1. Happy Blog-iversary, Lynn! And once again, thank you so much for your blog. It helped me realize when I started my own health about-face that the thing "they" said wasn't possible...was! And still is. :-)

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  2. Thanks, Lynn, for sharing so much of how you have done this amazing thing (lost weight and kept it off). I'm just at the beginning, and I struggle with various aspects of reducing calories and trying to eat healthy foods in a world of eating out, social functions, and just plain every day food preparation. This is not unique to me--it's the same for all of us who struggle to lose weight. That's why the blogs help. We make connections and gain encouragement and great ideas. Sometimes I get a boost from reading a blog, just when I needed it most--like today when I read yours. Thanks again.

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  3. Wow - five years? You are blogger emeritus, my friend!

    Thanks for sharing your story. When I came across your blog in the first week of my diet and saw your before and after pictures, I saw hope for me - your before face looked like what I saw in the mirror, and your after face was a different person. You made me believe that I could do it - lose the weight. Oh, and because I found you when you were in maintenance, that idea of maintaining the weight loss stayed with me and I do believe it's why I finally realized I had to make this a complete lifestyle change forever.

    Love you, my friend.

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  4. I teared up just seeing your face, a fellow sojourner. I love how you said that you treat yourself/the weight loss etc with respect like you do other important things in your life.

    I'm done. Bone tired weary of the weight, of numbing out, of treating myself so badly. I never thought I'd post pictures of myself either, but I did it. I've lost 88 and have 65 to go.

    So cheers to you, friend, for your courage, inspiration and perserverance! Congrats on your 5 year mark! I look forward to my blog having the 'after' photos like yours :)

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  5. Congratulatins, Mrs. Inspiration!!!!! This is so very good for me to read today. Yes! It CAN be done!!!! I'm so glad you're still blogging and hope you'll keep it up regularly!

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  6. Happy Blogaversary, Lynn. Thank you for sharing your story through an old post. I'm still losing, but, finally, at 59, I feel confident that I've made (and continue to make) life changes and will never go back to the person I was. I like that you recognize and appreciate the efforts of your former self in getting things started (or was that from FB??). Anyway, I don't hate my old self, I just want to be the person I was meant to be. Blogs--reading and writing, are really helping me. Thank you for your part in my success.

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  7. Shelley, does this mean I get an endowed chair or something? LOL

    Thank you all so much. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd meet such a great group of people, let alone "inspire" anyone to lose weight or write or even breathe.

    Here's to YOUR writing and blogging and losing. I will keep on keepin' on until I have nothing left to say. Oh who am I kidding? I'll ALWAYS have something to say!

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  8. Happy Blogiversary! I, for one, am so glad you are blogging. You are one of my biggest inspirations to keep going and know that keeping off the weight can be done.

    Not to mention that you have a way with words that I covet as well :D

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  9. Happy anniversary Lynn... it has been a pleasure reading you for so long. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and warmth :)

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  10. Happy Blogging Anniversary Lynn! You give us proof that it is possible to get the weight off and keep it off. I love reading your blog, I hope you keep writing for a long, long time!

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  11. I have just discovered your blog and I already love it! You're story is so inspirational to me, as I am starting my own journey back to a healthy body. You have done something that I have never succeeded in and that's maintaining the weight you've lost. I've resolved, however, that this is it...I'm going to lose the weight I need to to be healthy, and I'm going to keep it off. Congratulations on your loss and on keeping it off!

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  12. Congrats Lynn!!! You are a wonderful example for me and I look to you for motivation, guidance and words of wisdom often. I love reading your words and can't wait till I have your book in my hands. I have a feeling it will be one of those books I will read from cover to cover in no time flat. I'm glad you're here!

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  13. Happy anniversary. You've done well to stay committed for so long.

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  14. Amazing work and I love your post. It's true you have to want so bad that it's not anything that that you will give up. love your blog and I have given you a Versatile Blogger award come see.

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  15. Hi Lynn, I've just discovered your blog. Happy anniversary! I've spent the past months (and years, but especially the past months) trying to lose weight. I've succeeded part of the way, but I've stalled now and the scales haven't budged since the end of March. It's a bit of a downer, when all the hard work feels like it's not paying off. I feel motivated reading your post - it's not easy to keep going, but keep going we must! I like your idea of the journal. Would you be willing to share what sort of layout your journal has please?

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  16. Hello, congrats on five years of blogging and your weight loss! I just started my weight loss blog and journey today. I am already feeling overwhelmed and scared but your story is so inspiring! :)

    Danielle

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