How To Keep Your New Years Resolutions

Everything you do

Weight loss is probably one of the top resolutions people make in January.  Along with getting fit, cutting out smoking, or changing jobs.  After the craziness of Christmas, the partying, the eating, the drinking, our minds turn towards resolving to live better lives.  People resolve to make changes.  And they really mean to keep them.

But….

Life gets in the way and those resolutions fall by the wayside.  The first two weeks in January the gyms are packed.  Then slowly but surely the flood of fitness fanatics eases to a trickle until, by the end of the month, only the dedicated regulars are left.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are some steps you can take to make your Healthier You resolutions stick.

Find Your Why.

It’s easy to decide to make changes to your life.  It’s a lot harder to make them stick.  Most of us are creatures of habit.  We have a way of doing (or not doing) things and we get comfortable.  Vanity isn’t a strong enough motivator to get you moving on a cold winter’s night or in the heat of summer.  It’s one thing to know you’d look better if you dropped a few pounds.  It’s another thing to keep at it.  You need a stronger reason.  Something that will keep your feet to the fire.  If you have children you already have a strong enough motivation.  You want to be around to see them grow up, to see your grandchildren. You also want to be able to keep up with your kids, to have fun with them and not get winded or end up in pain.  If you have health issues, diabetes or high blood pressure getting active and losing weight can have a huge impact on your health.  If you have trouble keeping motivated, write your Why on post-it notes and place them on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, and anywhere you are likely to be looking several times a day.  These will keep your reasons to change in your mind.

Make small changes gradually.

Some people adopt a bull in a china shop mentality and try to make too many changes at once.  Then they become overwhelmed, get frustrated, give in to temptations once and totally derail themselves.  It’s best to make a few small changes gradually.  Then when those changes stick, make a few more.  One of the biggest changes you can make is cutting out excess sugar.  If you drink soda daily, try cutting it out of your diet.  Or at least cutting down how many cans you drink.  Soda is essentially just sugar in a can.  An average can of Coca Cola contains over 30 grams of sugar.  Just cutting that out can help you lose the first five to ten pounds in the matter of a couple of weeks.  Tweaking your diet can have a huge impact on your health.  Calorie tracking apps like My Fitness Pal will help you become aware of how many calories you should be eating daily to lose weight.  More important, it will show you how many calories you really ARE eating daily.  Hint: It’s probably more than you think! Being aware of calorie consumption along with portion control are even more important to your weight loss than fitness activities.

BE PATIENT!

This is probably the biggest reason people fall off the wagon. You’ve started a diet, you’ve joined a gym, a week has passed and you’ve only lost a couple of pounds.  Or worse, you haven’t lost any weight at all.  Many people have a misconception that once you start consciously working to lose weight the pounds should just melt off.  It’s not helped by companies like Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem promising you can lose x amount of weight in x amount of time.  Mostly because the food they give you is so low calorie you’re practically starving yourself.  You didn’t gain the weight overnight and, no, you won’t lose the weight overnight.  You also won’t totally derail your efforts if you give in to temptation and eat that piece of cheesecake, over do it at a party or have a blow out in any other way.  The worst that will happen is you gain a pound or two for a day, mostly just water weight.  No, the worst that will happen is you will just use it as an excuse to just quit trying to lose weight.  Don’t be that person.  The weight loss will come if you just trust the process and stick with it.

Find an accountability partner.

Losing weight can be a lonely process.  It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out for that run or walk, or to go to the gym on that cold winter night, or when it’s 90 degrees outside and the air is so humid you could cut it with a knife.  Find an exercise buddy to work out with.  When it’s just you, it’s easy to make an excuse not to go for that workout.  If you have someone relying on you it’s a lot harder.  Pick someone who is as determined as you are to get in shape and who won’t allow your excuses to stop.  Hold each other accountable.  If you don’t have anyone who fits that bill, join a club or a fitness class and start meeting other fitness fanatics.  Exercise is addictive.  Once you get into the habit of working out and you’ve felt that energy rush a few times you won’t want to stop.

Stop dieting.

This may sound counter intuitive but biggest mistake most people make is going on a diet.  Why is this a mistake?  Because the act of going on a diet suggests that at some point they will come off that diet and then go back to their old eating habits, which….is the reason they gained the weight in the first place.

That’s the essence of yo-yo dieting.

The biggest favor you can do for yourself to not only lose weight, but also keep it off, is to adopt a healthier way of eating.  This means eating more real food and less processed and sugary foods.  Most people know that junk food is supposed to be an occasional treat, but in this modern rush-rush world it’s easy to lean on junk food as a convenient and quick fix.  You don’t have to cut out that piece of cake, or a donut or chocolate.  Just cut down on the amount, make it a treat instead of a daily thing, and focus on eating more real and healthy foods.  And, yes, fast food restaurants are a quick and easy way to get dinner, but think about the health of youyou’re your family.  If you’re short on time there are tons of meals you can make in minutes. Just do a search on the internet.  And if you have a day where you have more time you can always make meals for several days and freeze them.  That way you have healthy meals you can heat in minutes.

Many people eat far more sugar than they need to.  And one thing I have learned is when you do drastically cut your sugar intake real food actually tastes better.

I have lost over 70 lbs through changing the way I eat and running.  Running isn’t for everyone, but it’s a high calorie burner and it definitely helped me with my weight loss.  Just don’t think running gives you a free pass to eat more junk food.    You can’t out run a bad diet.  When you combine healthier eating with being more active you should find losing weight to be less frustrating.  So as you prepare to make your resolutions to be fitter, healthier, whatever it is you want, remember to be patient.  It takes time.  It’s not going to be a quick fix.  But it’s totally worth the effort.  If you stick with it, this time next year you will be thanking yourself for a job well done.

Never. Quit.

don't quit

Never quit.  Whatever you have started, keep pushing forward.

If you stumble, catch your footing and keep going.

If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going.

If you have to crawl, keep going.  Any progress, no matter how minimal, is better than just giving up.

You started this because you cared enough about yourself to get on this road.  Now care enough about yourself to carry on the journey. No matter how arduous it becomes.

One day you will be so grateful to yourself that you didn’t stop.

Until you reach that day… Keep. Going.

 

The Decision To Start

Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 50 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.

Instead I made a choice. I started small. The first day I ran I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. But I was out there every day. Walking and running. At first walking much more than running. Gradually I increased my running time and distance until I was running more than I was walking. Then one day I didn’t need to take a walking break at all. Now I run a few times a week. I run anything from 4 to 6 miles. Sometimes I can run longer distances. It may not seem much compared to some runners but my running has taken me to a totally different place, emotionally. 


I no longer wish I was slim.

I am slim.

I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.

I am off diabetes medication.

All this because I made a simple choice.

One day while I was walking I chose to run.

Whatever you are thinking of doing, whatever you wish you could do, just start.

Start now.

Start small.

Start while you’re afraid.

Just.

Start.

 

Two years from now you’ll be so thankful you did.

 

running

I Am Proud Of Me!

20170414_175546

This is a big moment for me.  This is how proud I am of myself.  Yesterday, I bought a new bathing suit. I haven’t bought one in about 10 years and the last time I wore one was about 5 years ago.  I would never like showing a photo of myself in one.  Of course, it would be a one piece with the ‘skirt like’ bottom.

Yesterday, I bought a two piece. Ok, it isn’t a bikini and it has the ‘skirt like’ bottom.  But, today, I am baring my soul because I took a photo, (actually to show my mom on Sunday), and compared it to the old me.  I know I still have more to lose, but I am proud of myself that I did lose 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes.  I am proud of me.

With Inspiration And Determination You Can Get Results

15940461_10154478448933853_3879399576321855286_nHello everyone!  As you can see, this is a blog from me, Christine, Dave’s wife.  I know you have been reading about Dave’s journey into his health, fitness and taking up running.  I promise, he will be getting back to writing.

It’s been about a year since I wrote about my  journey.  I have struggled with my weight since my teenage years.  I have tried everything.  Some worked but as soon as you stop having a focus, guess what, the weight slowly starts creeping up again.  Sure, people always saw me as ‘the life of the party’ as I was always an extrovert.  But, deep down inside I knew what I really looked like.  I mean, I would hate to look at myself in the mirror.  I would wear baggy clothes.  Heck, when you are a size 26-28, I think all clothes are made baggy.

My inspiration, always first to God, is my wonderful loving husband, Dave.  You know his story.  He took up running, watched what he ate and was able to lose a lot of weight, get fit and be off his diabetes medication!

I saw how focus and determined he was.  And he kept sticking to it.  I first joined My Fitness Pal in June 2015 and started logging everything I ate and drank and the exercise I did.  Hey, walking counts!  I realized, it is about portion control.  You can eat almost what you like, as long as you don’t go over the calories they say you should have daily.  (You would think that because I have been a vegetarian for 25 years that I would weigh 100 lbs!  No, that isn’t the case!)  Then, in mid July 2015, we joined Planet Fitness.  Guess what?  I fell ‘in love’ with the weight strengthening machines.  At that Planet Fitness, I worked out on 16 machines.  We joined a new PF where we moved to and I do 18 machines.  I started with being able to do 20-25 lbs on the machines and now, I average 150 lbs!!  I also have a love/hate relationship with the darn Elliptical machine.

I do try to walk whenever I can.  In the winter, when it is too cold to go out, you will find me jogging in place watching a TV show or dancing around.  I hope no one is watching me through the windows!

It has been a struggle during the last 1 1/2 years.  Sure, frustration kicks in when you are staying at the same weight, or you might fluctuate between 2-3 lbs like a yo-yo.  Then, Dave took my photo last week, (the one on the right), and I actually really liked how I looked!  I realized the frustrations are all well worth it!

Sometimes, I still look at myself in the mirror and I guess I might see a glimpse of who I was.  I remind myself, that the only thing that changed is me on the outside.  I am still the nice and extroverted person on the inside.

The photo on the left is from Oct 2005.  The one on the right was from last week.  That’s 75 lbs lost, numerous inches, and a total of 5 -6 pant sizes down!!  And I lost 60 lbs and 4 pant sizes just in the last 1 1/2 years.  It took a lot of determination, sweat, patience and my husband Dave, who was my inspiration!

It doesn’t matter how old you are to finally do something and stick to it!  (Can you believe I just turned 49!  I feel like I am 29 years old.)  I am still on my journey.  I want to inspire others, especially women who struggle with their weight.  Lets do this and get healthy!

Seeing Is Believing!

latest comparison

So I just turned 48 a few days ago.  On the 21st to be exact.  The photo on the right was taken that day.  I can’t stop looking at it.  Not because I’m vain or anything.  But because that one photograph sums up everything I have achieved in the past year.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  Just after I had been diagnosed a diabetic.  Looking back at my life then it seems it was almost inevitable that I would become diabetic.  Poor diet.  Lack of exercise.  Serious weight gain.  Becoming diabetic was a serious wake up call.  It took me a while to hear that call.  It was only when the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication that is linked with causing liver problems that I finally woke up and realized I had to do something about it.

So I took up running.  And watched my diet.  I have lost 35 lbs in the past year.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can’t see the weight loss.  I know I’ve lost weight.  I know my stomach  is a lot smaller, (I think I just have loose skin issues now which is really annoying because every other part of me is slim.)  But the brain seems to take a while to catch up with the eyes.  Judging from posts I’ve seen on the MyFitnessPal forums this seems to be a common phenomenon.  But in the photo on the right I can SEE how much my face has changed.  For me it sums up everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months.   It’s a face I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  You see, I wasn’t always overweight.  In fact, all my life up to my mid 20’s I’d actually been pretty skinny.  I guess I slowed down, but didn’t change my eating habits to match.  So the weight gained.  Slowly at first.  But in the past ten years I had a dramatic weight gain.

But now I see my old face looking back at me.  A little older, perhaps.  A few wrinkles starting to show.  A few crows feet around the eyes.  But it’s ME.  The real me.  Not the bloated puffy face I’ve had to look at for a while.  It’s like looking at an old friend.  And I like what I see.  I like how I feel.  I’m so much more confident now when out in public.  This healthy lifestyle is amazing.  I just wish I’d started twenty years ago when the weight started creeping on.  I can’t change the past.  But I can make sure the old me stays the new me for the rest of my life.

The Highs And Lows Of Weightloss

Breathe

Since nearly being put on a second medication for diabetes in December, 2014, I have been on a journey to better health.  They say the hardest part of starting on any major journey is the first step.  But when the motivation is high enough that first step is the easy part.  The harder part is staying on course.  I’m a member of a site called MyFitnessPal.com.  It’s where I learned about calorie control.  It’s where I became inspired to take running more seriously.  I’m active on that site every day.  It keeps me motivated.

On the MFP forums I often see posts from people who are ready to throw in the towel because the scale hasn’t moved for a week.  Or two weeks.  It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re not seeing results.   I recently hit a plateau and I learned the value of patience.  Even when the scale isn’t co-operating, you will still see results in other areas if you keep doing the right activities.  My weight stayed the same for about a month.  Seeing the scale stay the same day after day is tough.  But I’m still losing inches.  I’ve dropped from size 38 pants to 34 and even those have become loose.  Then two weeks ago, after a long frustrating month, I dropped a pound.  Then two days later, another.  Then another.  In fact I’ve now lost four pounds since my plateau came to an end.  I guess sometimes your body has to catch up with itself.  After losing nearly twenty pounds in a couple of months, my body needed time to drop any more.

Two things I frequently read on MyFitnessPal have helped me keep my calm and stay on course during my plateau.

Weight loss isn’t linear. 

Meaning you aren’t necessarily going to lose weight in a steady and predictable way.  Weight loss happens in fits and bursts.  You may have to wait a week or two and then suddenly you might lose a few pounds in a short time.

You didn’t gain the weight overnight so you won’t lose it overnight, either.

We live in an increasingly instant results driven society these days.  People simply don’t want to wait for anything any more.  But some things can’t be rushed.  Sure, you could jump on whatever the latest fad diet is and maybe lose a few pounds.  But you’re more likely to gain most if not all of it back over time when that fad diet ends.  Part of the problem is people tend to go on diets.  Meaning they take steps to lose weight and then go back to their old habits when they’re satisfied.

But it’s those old habits that caused you to gain weight in the first place.  So doesn’t it follow that returning to those ways will cause you to gain those lost pounds back?

Anyone can lose weight.  But keeping it off requires a new mindset.  You have to be prepared to make changes.  You don’t have to cut anything out.  Eating in moderation, eating within a certain calorie limit is often all it takes.  If you can learn to do that then you have more chance to keep your waistline trim.

Getting active also helps.  I had a good month in July.  I ran my first 40 plus mile month.   I average 3 to 3 and a half miles per run now.  I did manage to run four miles for my best run.  I’m a runner for life now.  Getting off my diabetes medication is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.  My fasting sugar is averaging in the 80’s, even in the 70’s some mornings!

If you’re struggling to lose weight don’t be a slave to the scale.  While we all want to lose the pounds, just pay attention to how you feel.  How your body looks in the mirror.  How your clothes are fitting you.  Those little non-scale victories are often sweeter and more rewarding than seeing you’ve lost another pound.  My collar bone has become more prominent.  My face is thinner.  My legs are thinner, and they now have muscle definition.  A few months ago I couldn’t run a block without being winded.  Now I can run three to four miles and I’m not really out of breath.  My heart rate after running is averaging between 150 beats per minute to 170.  It used to be near 200.

It helps when your partner is on the journey with you.  My wife was inspired by seeing my success and she also joined MyFitnessPal.  She has lost several pounds and we go to the gym together.  Having a support system makes a huge difference as we can motivate each other.  She has a love / hate relationship with the Elliptical machine at the gym.  She is doing great.  She has already lost a few inches and is at her lightest in about thirteen years. She has lost a total of fifty pounds since her heaviest.  We’ve both made a vow of never again to gaining so much weight.  Losing weight and getting healthy together is a wonderful way to bring us closer together.

Bottom line, the scale isn’t the only indicator of weight loss.  It’s the one we all obsess about the most.  But getting into better health brings about all sorts of extra benefits.  You’re on a journey.  Savor every milestone of this journey.  Celebrate every success, not just the pounds lost.

The Lies Of “I Can’t!”

attitude

“I can’t.”

Two words that have the most power to hold us back.  Even more powerful than someone else saying to us, “you can’t.”  Because when someone tells us this it lights a fire in us to prove them wrong.  We don’t accept when someone else tells us what we can and can’t do.  But when we tell ourselves that, it becomes absolute.  We believe it.  So we just don’t do it.  Or even try.  How often do we tell ourselves we can’t do something?  A lot more often than we say we can do something, I’m sure.  We tell ourselves:

“I can’t lose weight.”

“I can’t walk a mile.”

“I can’t run a mile.”

“I can’t give up chocolate.”

“I can’t hike up a mountain..”

“I can’t flap my arms and fly to the moon.”

Okay, that last one is a bit of a gimme.  But the others?  If we really want it we can achieve it.  Sometimes it just seems too hard, or we have tried before and failed.  So we tell ourselves “I can’t”, because it’s just easier than trying.

Or trying again.

But guess what?

“I can’t” is just the cap we put on ourselves until the day we discover we can.

Here are some of the “I can’ts” I told myself in recent months only to prove myself wrong.

“I can’t run more than one lap of this park on one of my walks.

Until the day I ran the first lap and the last lap.

“I can’t run more than two laps of this park on one of my walks.

Until after upping my walk from twelve laps to fifteen, I ran the first, fifth, tenth and last laps.

“I can’t run two laps consecutively.”

Until the day I ran the ninth and tenth laps and then went on to run the fourteenth and fifteenth laps.

“I can’t run a mile.”

Until last Thursday, when I ran my first mile.  And then I did it again today.

After I posted on Facebook on Thursday about running my first mile,  a friend asked me if I had any thoughts on running the New York marathon.  The old me would have immediately thought “I can’t run a marathon!”  But I didn’t even think that.  I’m 47 years old.  I might have thought I’m too old to think about running a marathon.  Except I’ve read a few WordPress blogs from people in their 50’s and 60’s who are writing about their first marathons.  I’m learning to stop telling myself “I can’t,”  I’m realizing that “I can’t” is just a prelude to “I can.”  So, why not think about running a marathon.  I’m not saying I AM going to run a marathon.  I’m a LONG way off being ready for that.  But at least I’m not saying “I can’t.”

Pushing Limits

I have just smashed my personal best. I’m getting more serious about running. I’m even following some blogs about running. I just went for my workout in our local park. I walked the first two laps. Then I ran four laps in a row without slowing. I wanted to do five as five laps in that park is one mile. But I just didn’t have the legs. So I slowed to a walk and walked the next four laps. Then I just went for it. I managed to run the full five laps. That last lap was the hardest ever but I made it. I ran almost two miles. My new personal best!

They say “no pain, no gain.”  Well that last lap was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  My legs just wanted to stop.  But I pushed through the pain barrier.  That feeling of accomplishment is worth all the discomfort.  And knowing I’m doing this for the sake of my health just makes it all the better.   I’m taking running more seriously now.  I want to push my comfort level and see just what I can achieve.

My fasting sugar this morning was 83.  I had oatmeal and toast for breakfast.  I went for my run two hours after eating.  When I came back my sugar was 88.  My sugar levels are so much better now that I’m active.  For anyone who is diabetic any activity is better than nothing.  From my personal experience the more active you can be the better your sugar levels will respond.  Getting active is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Getting Serious About Fitness

A body in motion stays in motion.

This saying is never more true than when you adopt a new healthy lifestyle.  The more you move the more you want to move.  I go for a long walk and a run every day pretty much.  If I don’t have time to go for my walk then I run up the stairs for ten to fifteen minutes.  Either way I have to move.  I’ve incorporated sit ups and stomach crunches now as well as a routine with free weights.  I always feel so much better after a workout.

After any workout I enjoy a delicious Pro Flex protein shake.  This one is classic vanilla flavour and it’s delicious.  I also take Peak Performance supplements from our Wellness company. These supplements are largely responsible for giving me energy to fuel my running.

Talking of running, yesterday I achieved a personal best.

For the past month or so I’ve been walking and running more or less daily in our local park. I’d upped my session from 12 laps to 15 laps and I’d gone from running 1 lap to 4 laps in total, but never consecutively.

Until yesterday.

I ran the first lap, as usual. Then I walked 3 laps and ran the next lap. Then I walked the next three laps. Then I just went for it. I ran the 9th lap and didn’t stop until I’d run the 10th lap. Yep, for the first time I’ve run two laps consecutively.

But wait, there’s more!

I did it again, running the last two laps in a row. Oh, and I added an extra lap, running the 15th and 16th lap. I’d found out that five laps equal one mile, so I’ve walked over three miles and run over a mile in total! My personal best workout.  My goal is to increase my fitness until I can run all the laps.  It will take time but I know I will get there.

The one thing I do know is this new regime is my life now.  I have a goal to lose another ten pounds.  Once I get there I will work my butt off to make sure I don’t gain that weight back.

Fitness, it’s a lifestyle, not a fad.

Making Lifestyle Changes

Dave Celebrating Dunkin

I haven’t blogged for quite a while.  I know that is something I need to work on.  My life has been busy these days, but that’s no excuse.

I’ve blogged a lot about how the Attain GC Control Shakes have helped me lower my sugar when it’s high, and that’s still true today.  I drink them every day and they still work wonders.

I joined a site called MyFitnessPal.com and learned a lot about nutrition and exercise from reading their message forums.  I now watch my calories and go for a walk virtually every day.  I even run now!  I can’t run for long at this time, but my fitness level is definitely improving.  Just a year ago if I had to run half a block to catch a bus I would break out in a cold sweat, my heart would be hammering and I would be literally gasping for breath. It would take me ten minutes to return to normal.  Now I can run a lap around our local park, which is probably about two to three blocks in length.  No cold sweats and while my heart rate is elevated, it returns to normal within a few minutes.  I walk fifteen laps of our local park pretty much daily.  I run the first lap, walk three or four laps, run a lap, walk a few, finishing up by running the last lap.

I’ve lost 17 lbs in the space of about six months.  I want to lose about another ten lbs then I will be at a good weight.  But the biggest impact my new lifestyle has had is on my sugar.  I went to the doctor in November.  My A1C was 7.2.  The doctor wanted to put me on another medication.  More drugs.  These ones stronger than the Metformin I’ve been taking since August 2008.

No way.

I have not taken the new drug he wanted to prescribe me.  Instead I looked into what I needed to do to get healthy.  For the past two weeks my fasting sugar has been averaging in the upper 70’s to the low 80’s.  Down from the 120 average I had in November.  I go back to the doctor in June.  I’m really hopeful that my A1C will be drastically lower.  My ultimate hope is it’s down enough for me to be able to get off Metformin.

Actually, I have a confession to make.  I haven’t taken Metformin in nearly two weeks.  I test my fasting sugar daily.  If I start to see a rise in my fasting levels then I will start taking the drug again.  Now I just need to add some form of weight training to my fitness regime.  I know extra muscle helps the body absorb sugar.  I have some free weights at home.  I intend to join a gym soon.

Being diagnosed a diabetic isn’t necessarily a slow death sentence.  There are things you can do to improve your situation.  It’s just a matter of wanting it  enough and being motivated enough to maintain a new healthy lifestyle.  I am determined to get my body back to a healthy weight and keep it there.

The first picture was taken about five years ago when I weighed about 215 lbs.  The second picture was taken a few weeks ago when I weighed about 176 lbs.

With enough will power you can achieve anything.