A Lifestyle Change: The Key To Your Health

my goal

This time four years ago I went to the doctor for a check up. My A1C was 7.2 and the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication to get my diabetes under control. After doing research we found one of the COMMON side effects of this drug was liver damage!

Enough was enough. This was the trigger for me to start my weight loss journey. Now here I am 70 lbs lighter and off all medication for 3 and a half years.

Sometimes you need a trigger. Something to make you wake up and realize you have to change the things that are not good for you.

Or you can just decide to do it before you hit a crisis. I’m sure that doctor had no idea his “simple” decision to put me on another drug was going to be the catalyst for me to change my life so drastically. But I will always be grateful to him for giving me the kick I needed.

It’s easy to just take a pill to deal with what ails you. But often all you really need is a lifestyle change. Most drugs are designed to treat the symptoms, not the disease. After all, why would Big Pharma want to cure you? You’re no good to them if You’re not buying their product.

Most drugs are also not designed to be taken for a long period of time. So eventually You’re put on a stronger drug, or a second medication. More money for Big Pharma.

Changing your life isn’t easy. Old habits are hard to break. But with the right motivation you can do anything you set your mind to.

January is just around the corner. The month where we make new years resolutions. And just as quickly break them. But why wait until January. Today is Monday. The start of a new week. Make small changes that you can easily maintain. Small changes, over time, can add up to a big difference to your health. And to your life.

The Importance Of Before and After Photos On Your Weight Loss Journey

Dave before and after NEW.jpg

Losing weight can be frustrating at the best of times.  Your mind can play all kinds of tricks on you.  Sometimes you can look in a mirror and see your progress.  Other times you can look in the same mirror and still see the person you used to be.  That can be so frustrating.

Don’t let that derail you.

One thing that’s sure to show you exactly how much you have changed is a good before and after comparison photos like the one above.  If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey make sure to take lots of before photos.  No matter how much you hate having your picture taken.  As you go along on your journey you’ll be glad you have them.  Those before photos are like mile markers on a long road trip.  They will show you exactly how far you have come.  You could take a photo every month so you have a record of your success.  Make sure to take front and side views, as well as face and full body photos for maximum motivation.

Step Off The Yo-Yo Diet Train

 

 

We all know people who keep losing and gaining the same 20, 30 or more pounds.  Maybe this is you.  It’s called yo-yo dieting.  It happens because we go on and off diets, and then back to our old eating habits.  But those old eating habits are what caused us to gain the weight in the first place.  We get caught in a vicious circle with no way out.

Or so it seems.

Losing weight is not complicated.  It looks that way because of all the conflicting advice out there.  Should you go on a low carb diet, or should you fast?  Should you juice?  What about fats and sugar?  Most people who push one diet or another do so because they have something to sell.  Some of kind of miracle weight loss product or weight loss program that they claim is designed to melt the pounds off.  The truth is, you don’t need any complex program or magic pill or potion.  Or any specialized diet plan.

You just need to learn to eat intuitively.

The biggest problem with going on a diet is what happens when you come back off again.  While we diet, we tend to eat a certain way.  We cut out sugar and we eat a lot of salads and vegetables.  Which isn’t a bad thing.   The problem is most of the foods we place on the “bad” list are the things we most love to eat.  It would be next to impossible to cut out those things forever.  And it would drive us crazy to even try.  We will develop cravings for those food items and sooner or later we’ll cave to the crave and start binging on them.

But why go on a diet at all when a simple lifestyle change allows you to eat the food you love and still lose weight?  Portion control and calorie awareness are all you really need.  I’ve lost a total of 70 pounds and I didn’t have to give up a single thing.

We have this tendency to see things in black and white.  When we go on a diet, we put labels on food items.

This food is bad, I should avoid.

This food is good, I should eat all the time.

The reality is there’s no food item so bad that we can’t have it from time to time.  Obviously, there are some things we should eat more of; some items we should eat less off.  But, again, there is no food item so bad that we can’t eat it from time to time.  As long as it’s eaten in moderation.

And there’s the key.

Moderation.

This is where calorie awareness comes in.  There are so many apps out there designed to help you track your calorie intake.  My app of choice is MyFitnessPal.  Using this app was a game changer for me.  It has played a big part in my weight loss.

I know you’re rolling your eyes right now.  I also know what you’re thinking.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life counting calories.  I don’t want to be that obsessive.

I get it.  But I also believe that calorie awareness is the key to not only losing weight with less effort, but also to keeping it off.  Most people have no idea how many calories they’re supposed to eat each day to lose weight, or to maintain a healthy weight.

More importantly, most people have no idea how many calories they actually are eating on a daily basis.  I’m sure the vast majority are seriously underestimating how many calories they are consuming.  Especially when it comes to eating out.  MyFitnessPal has a food database with tens of thousands of food items on it, listing their calorie content as well as how many carbs, proteins and sugar.  It even lists most of the chain restaurants and coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.  Just tracking your calories for a six week period will give you a greater awareness of your calorie intake and give you the tools to lose weight or to maintain your weight.  You certainly don’t need to count calories forever.

Using an app like MyFitnessPal you can give up giving up your favorite foods.  You can step off the yo-yo diet train and face your future with confidence that you can maintain a healthy weight for life.

Be Kind To Yourself

Can I just give this piece of advice to anyone who’s looking to lose weight?

Be kind to yourself!

This weight loss journey is HARD.  If it was easy there wouldn’t be anyone overweight.  It takes time.  It takes patience.  It takes determination.

You won’t always get it right.  Every day brings new temptations to frustrate and derail you.  Friends will invite you out.  There will be parties, celebrations.  Enjoy them.  Then get back to the grind the next day.

You won’t always get it right.  But if you get it right more days than you don’t, then you will get where you want to be.

Stop beating yourself up.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  One bad day will not derail you.  Unless you let it.  Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on that horse.  One binge is not the end of your story.  One donut, one cookie, one piece of cake will not undo all the success you have had so far.  Unless you allow it to.

People have a habit of saying “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

No.

Believe it and then you will see it.  It’s all about MINDSET.  If you go in there not really believing you can do it, then at your first slip up you will throw in the towel.  Out will come the excuses.  “I knew I wasn’t strong enough.”

But if you go in with determination, with belief, with a will to win, you will see that first slip up for all it is.  A slip up.  You won’t use it as an excuse to quit.

Change your mind, change your life.

Do It For Yourself

Everything you do

This post is for everyone who is overweight, or who is on medication for high blood pressure or who is a type 2 diabetic.

I’m 50 years old and I’ve just run 8.25 miles. Not bad considering I only started running 3 years ago and for the first 47 years of my life I’ve never been particularly athletic, even when I was a skinny teen.

If I can do this, so can you.
I’ve been overweight for nearly half my life. I didn’t decide to do something about it until I turned 47.
The point of my writing this is it’s never too late to start. Age is nothing but an excuse. You are never too old to lose weight or get active. Today is Monday. The start of a new week. A new opportunity to make positive changes to your life.

I feel like I wasted 20 years of my life being overweight when I didn’t have to be. I was also diagnosed A type 2 diabetic and put on Metformin. Now I’m off all drugs forc3 years and my diabetes is under tight control. All this happened when I made up my mind to get active, to lose weight. When I found the motivation to change my life, it was actually pretty simple. But if I can inspire just one person to do what I have done, if just one person comes to me and says “because of you I’ve…” then what I went through in those 20 years wasn’t for nothing. There will be meaning to it.

It’s your body. It’s your life. It’s your choice. Do you want to be comfortable in your skin. Or do you want to feel the aches and pains of carrying extra weight. The back ache. The knee pain. The lack of energy. I’ve been through all that so I know how it feels.

I may be 50 but I feel better and healthier than I did when I was 40. Which isn’t hard, because that’s when I was my heaviest. Right now I am 67 lbs lighter than I was at age 40.

It’s up to you. All I can do is share my story. I can supply the inspiration. You have to bring the motivation and the dedication to get it done.

You can do this. I believe in you.

If Not Now, When?

biggest challenge

Before I started my fitness and weight loss journey the only time I really ran was if I had to catch a bus and if it wasn’t more than a block or two.  And even that simple act of sprinting for a bus would leave me red faced and gasping for breath.  When I sat on the bus I’d catch fellow passengers giving me looks out of the corner of their eye.  I’m sure they were afraid I was about to keel over with a heart attack.

I had to push myself through a lot of barriers before I got to where I am today.  I had my share of aching lungs and burning legs.  You need a lot of willpower in the early days.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It took hard work and dedication. But it was worth every ounce of sweat.  When it comes to your health there are no shortcuts .

As you get older your health becomes more important.  I learned that the hard way. I was diagnosed a type 2 diabetic just 4 months after I turned 40.  It took me several more years to figure out how to get things under control.

It’s easy to tell ourselves we’ll get round to taking better care of ourselves one day.  But that isn’t a promise.  Or a plan of action.  Or any kind of commitment.  “I’ll do it one day” is an excuse, pure and simple.  As the saying goes; “tomorrow never comes.”  And it’s unlikely you’re going to wake up one day exclaiming “today is that day!”

So if you have been putting off losing weight or increasing your fitness level, if you have been delaying, telling yourself you’ll get round to it one day, ask yourself this one question….

If not now, when?

The Best Kept Secret Of Medicine

best kept secret

I have been off the diabetes drug, Metformin, three years this month. This is after the doctor wanted to put me on a second drug in December 2014 when my A1C was 7.2. That drug was strongly linked with causing liver damage. In fact in June 2015 when I went back, the doctor ordered a test of my liver function before my visit.

What did I do? I made simple lifestyle changes. I watched what I ate. I monitored my calorie intake and I started walking. Which led to running. My weight fell off. I have lost almost 70 lbs from my heaviest weight. Diet change and moving more will do more for you than any pharmaceutical pill. Drugs are designed to control your symptoms, not cure your illness. After all, Big Pharma won’t make any money off you if you’re healthy. If you want to get well make small changes daily so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Small changes lead to big results over time.

A Short Cooking Video

So we’re venturing into new territory.  I’m not really comfortable being on video, but vlogging seems to be the big thing and we’re looking to share our health journey so we’re probably going to be making more of these.  Future vids will be longer and, hopefully, better than this one.  We’ll call this one an experiment.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to upgrade my diet.  Good nutrition is vital to a healthy life.  We’re eating more whole foods now, and less carbs and upping our protein.  This is having a huge affect on my sugar levels.  I test my sugar an hour and two hours after eating and my sugar is amazingly stable.  The highest number was 108 and it’s averaging around 90 to 100.  As a type 2 diabetic, this is fantastic.  Since this is working so well I’m going to continue eating this way.  I will be sharing more of my experiences.

April is a huge month for me.  First, I will turn 50.  And I will be in the best shape and fitness of my life.  In fact I have a new hashtag ready to roll out…#FitAt50.   Also in April I will have been medication free for 3 years.  Big things are ahead and I will be sharing them right here.

 

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.

 

Three Year Fitness Anniversary

transformation

 

I started my health and weight loss journey three years ago this month. Right around the beginning of March. I was a type 2 diabetic and after a check up with the doctor in December 2014, my A1C was 7.2 The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication for my diabetes. I’d been on Metformin since August 2008. I don’t remember what this second medication was, but when we did our research we found it was strongly linked with causing liver problems, even outright liver failure.

Enough was enough.

I didn’t even want to be on any medication never mind another potentially health threatening drug. That winter was brutally cold, but around the beginning of March 2015 the weather turned milder and I went out every day walking. At first two miles, increasing to three. Then I started running, just very short distances at first using a personalized version of Couch To 5k. I hadn’t even heard of C25K at that time. At the time I started running I also joined a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. As I started getting serious about running my weight started to fall off. My fasting sugar numbers also started coming down. At the start of all this my fasting averaged 120. By early April it was dropping into the 60’s. I cut my Metformin dosage in half. My FS was still in the 60’s so on April 21st 2015 I stopped taking Metformn all together, but kept monitoring my daily fasting sugar, which stabilized into the low 70’s to low 80’s.

In about 12 months or so I lost 50 lbs, a total of 60 lbs from my heaviest. All through running and counting calories. No special diet. Especially no gimmicky fad diet. And I didn’t have to give up any of the food I enjoyed. It was all about calories and portion control.

These days people seem to be looking for some magic formula, or a magic pill to help them lose weight without putting in any effort. But it doesn’t work like that. Not if you want to maintain your weight loss. I’ve been maintaining for two years now and I am not going back to who I used to be. Not ever.

I created this group to share my story and to encourage and hopefully inspire anyone else who is looking to do the same and who is not afraid to put in some effort. Losing weight is a simple enough process, though I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It starts and ends with the mind. As the old saying goes…

“If you think you can, you’re right.
If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your mindset will determine your success. Once you get your mind set right and develop a “no-matter-what” attitude, the sky will be the limit. Let me help you get off to the best possible start.

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Google+, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Facebook, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

For more information about our coaching services for groups, 1:1 and 2:2, click here:  Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

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

Why Not Just Start Today?

Chris Before and After with words

Dave Before and After with words

We know that it isn’t easy to start something or if you start something to actually stick with it.  Believe us, we know.  We have been there, tried it and failed.  Yes.  Failed.  So many times we would say, “oh, one day I will try again.”  But, you know what?  Don’t just try.  Just start.  Just do it.  Grab a partner or friend and do this together.  Stick with it.  This isn’t lose 50 lbs in a month quickly.  This is a health journey and it is for life.  It doesn’t matter when you start, it matters that you do.  Remember, the years will be passing by.  The question is: will you be healthier in five years or at the same weight and fitness level that you are now, (or worse)?  We are continuing on our health journey and would love to take you with us!20431268_10155099919073853_1005647030163866610_n

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.

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.

What I Have Learned About Weight Loss

Breathe

I’ve been on a health and weight loss journey for the past year.  In that year I have lost over 30 lbs, gotten off Metformin, a diabetes medication, and gone from not being able to run a block without breaking out into a cold sweat to being able to run 4 miles with no adverse affects.

I have learned a few things along the way.

1.  Be patient.  This is probably the hardest lesson to learn.  We all want instant results.  But I didn’t gain the weight in a day or in a week and I won’t lose it that quickly either.  Nor will you.  There are many fad diets out there.  Juice diets, shake diets intermittent fasting, etc.  They almost always promise quick results.  They almost always cost money and almost always are not worth it.  They may help you lose weight initially but when you come off them if you go back to your old eating habits you’re just going to gain that weight back again.  All I did was join a site called MyFitnessPal.com and log my calories.  Every day.  It sounds like a chore but in truth it just takes a few minutes a day.  It keeps me accountable.  I keep track of what I’m eating.  More important, it works!  And it doesn’t cost me a thing.  It taught me so much about my eating habits and how to keep my eating under control.

2.  A bad day shouldn’t derail you.  We all have bad days where we just want to binge.  If you have a day like that just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again tomorrow.

3.  It’s all about calories.  If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.  It’s pure science.  If the weight isn’t coming off there may be a prevalent medical condition that is derailing you.  If you aren’t losing weight but you’re convinced you’re doing everything right get yourself checked out by your doctor.

4.  Weightloss is a simple process.  But it isn’t easy.  It takes determination.  Discipline. Patience.  Have I said that word already.  You will learn.  Patience is key.  But if you want it badly enough you will achieve it.

5.  Dieting is simple.  Keeping the weight off is the challenge.  This is the journey I’m about to embark on.  I’ve lost the weight.  I’m determined to keep it off.  Never go back!

6.  The most effective way to diet is not to go on a diet.  Sound confusing?  How many people do you know who go on a diet?  Then come off the diet and go back to their old eating habits and wonder why they’re gaining weight again?  If it’s your old eating habits that caused you to gain weight then of course you’ll regain the weight if you go back.

7.  The scale can lie!  When we want to lose weight we want to see the number on the scale drop like a stone!  Sometimes we hit a plateau and the scale stubbornly refuses to budge.  Don’t get disheartened and give up.  Look for other signs of success.  Look for NSV’s (non-scale victories).  Even when the number doesn’t drop other things are happening.  Maybe your clothes are fitting better.  Or getting looser.  Maybe your collar bones are starting to pop out, or your hip bones.  Maybe you find yourself able to do things you couldn’t do before.  Walk further or run without getting out of breath.  These are all signs you are on the right track.  Just keep doing everything right and the scale will start to drop again.

Through the past year I have learned a lot about myself.  I have patience and if I want something bad enough I can achieve it.  That’s very empowering.

Before And After

before and after

Sometimes when you look in the mirror it’s hard to see just how far you have come when you’re looking to lose weight.  The best way to really judge your progress is take photographs.  If you’re starting out on a weight loss journey I’d advise you to take several photos before you start.  It’s always good to have something to compare.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  The photo on the right just a couple of months ago.   Here I can really see the difference.  I’m almost at the weight I want to be.  It’s time to start maintenance.  I have made a vow to never again look like I did in the pic on the left.  I wasted 20 years of my life looking like that.

Never again!

The past year has certainly been eventful.  Getting off diabetes medication.  Losing over 30 lbs.  Getting fit.  Running.  And this is just the beginning.  I intend to start lifting weights more now.  I’ve lost the weight.  Now I want to tone myself up and get myself in better shape.  The weight loss journey may be ending.  But the healthy lifestyle is just beginning!

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

Chris before and after

(The following blog is from my wife, Christine.)

I know many of you have been following our journey into health.  Especially Dave’s personal journey to losing weight, getting fit, taking up running and getting off his diabetes and heart medications.  I thought that it is time I finally wrote from my own perspective.

Last July, I’d just about had it and decided to lose weight and get fit at age 47!  I know that many people would agree with this.  Heck, so do I!  Sure, I have struggled with my weight since before time, (well if it *was* before time I would weigh nothing!) Ok, so it was as far as I can remember well into my teen years!

At first, I was only 30 to 40 pounds overweight.  Not so shabby!  I looked good in those size 14 jeans!   But, with the years and the stresses of life, came the stretches of fat!  Yes, I have tried most things.  Yes, even Weight Watchers.  Yes, I lost weight but then guess what?  Ah, you guessed correct!  More years, more stress and more stretches of the dreaded three letter word that begins with ‘F’!  (At least, I didn’t say a four letter word that begins with ‘F’! *grins*)

Fast forward to last July.  One day I will write a bit more about my struggles and life.  Now, I am very happily married to Dave, for nearly eleven years.  In the last year I have seen him take real charge of his health and fitness, kicking his diabetic and heart medications to the curb!  I have never been more proud of him than when he wrote his first novel.  He has taken up running and uses My Fitness Pal to log everything.  He has lost weight and is fit!  I am watching him and loving what I see and more importantly, what our doctor said to him, ‘you do not need to take your diabetes and heart medications anymore!’ I want the doctor to tell me I don’t need to take my high blood pressure meds anymore.  I want to look good and feel great!  I want to join my wonderful husband in our journey together in getting healthy!

Dave was my inspiration!

It isn’t easy, (who said life is easy?), but using a calorie tracker, My Fitness Pal, joining a gym, eating healthier, taking the Peak Performance Pack and of course with Dave by my side doing this with me, I have lost a total of 69 lbs and 8 inches from my waist and 6 inches from my hips. I am down 5 pant sizes. I am turning my fat into muscle and I feel great!

Dave was going through some old photos and found one of me from October 2005. I was at my cousin’s daughter’s one year old birthday party and dancing away. (This photo on the right is from Dec 2015.)

For other people struggling with their weight, it is never too late to get started! I am willing to help anyone who asks.

So, stay tuned.  The best is yet to come!

New Year, New Goals!

So 2015 has passed and is one for the record books.  It was a mixed year with a lot of stress and I had to go through eye surgery to remove cataracts twice.  But from a health point of view, other than the eye surgery, it has been a very good year.  We’ve both lost weight and we’ve both gotten much more active.  Now it’s time to ramp it up.

In order to make sure I don’t lose my focus I have set myself a goal of running 700 miles this year.  As someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s the equivalent of me running to Pittsburgh and back!  It’s a daunting number but my runs are starting to get longer now so I know it’s doable.  I’ve already run twice this year.  I ran 6 miles on January 1st, to start the year off right.  And then on the 3rd I ran 8 miles.  So I only have 686 miles to go.

Christine loves working out at the gym.  When she first started going she could only lift 20 lbs.  Now on some of the machines she can lift 90 or even 100 lbs!  I’m going to have to work to keep up with her!  While I also use the weight machines, I spend more time doing cardio, especially the Dreadmill.  For some reason I have a block with that.  I ran 4 miles on it last week and that took everything I had.  I can run further outside than I can on the treadmill.  Maybe it has something to do with boredom.  I need to buy something so I can listen to music while on the treadmill.

We both want to wish our followers a Happy New Year and we look forward to sharing our health journeys over the coming year.  Do you have goals set for the year ahead?  We’d love to hear them!

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.