Yes, I did it — achieved a healthy weight and waist to height ratio according to the BMI calculator in WebMD.
Last month I bought my first “Small” size pants and turtleneck top in 10, maybe 12 years, and it felt good. Even the size 8 jeans I exchanged for the size 10 that I got as Christmas present has to be worn with a belt.
Here are significant differences on why I got better and faster results than when I attempted to lose weight after my son was born six years ago:
- MORE REALISTIC GOAL – like most people I initially aimed to lose weight and set out to lose a pound or two a week. This was a mistake because I quickly got discouraged when my weight fluctuated and flatlined. Adding insult to injury my husband also lost 5 lbs. on the first month, even though he was not doing any exercise while I was working out at least 2 hours a day. This time I set my goal on being able to fit in my old clothes. I could actually see results and felt encouraged when my clothes felt looser week after week. My only regret is I gave away all my old jeans until I was down to one pair of size 12, and my only belt is the braided type that does not have holes.
- TRYING TOO HARD – I bought several exercise videos and did two each day, working out at least two hours daily to compensate for the fact that I was so out of shape I could not keep up or complete the segments. I took more breaks to catch my breath or drink water especially during the jumping jacks and crunches portions. The exercises wore me out and instead of making me feel challenged it was demoralizing. This time I started easy by joining my mother-in-law during her hourly walks every morning. She’s been doing this for years and is a brisk walker, but at least I was not doing it alone. Then I dug up the old exercise videos, but stuck to just one at a time and paced myself. I also let my muscles rest by alternating among the 5-6 videos I have, so it was a different workout each day.
- POOR NUTRITION – We made important changes to our diet after my cardiologist brother checked our cholesterol and found them above normal. Within a year my cholesterol dropped by half, back to low normal levels. But I was still far from being fit and being apple-shaped my flabby belly was always sticking out, even though I was supposed to have lost weight. In our misguided attempts to lower our cholesterol I cut back on dairy, eggs, and meat. Thanks to helpful articles on the Web and shared posts on Facebook I learned to focus on proteins and metabolism boosting foods. As a result my diet was nutritionally imbalanced.
- OWN YOUR DIET. At least 90 percent of what we eat was prepared at home. When we lived overseas we had cooks, went to a lot of parties, and ate out or ordered food delivery. Now we have more control over what we eat – how they are prepared and what their ingredients are. If you have been following this blog you will notice that I have been trying and fine-tuning different recipes. This is so I have enough dishes in our recipe bank for variety, while getting consistent meals: basically same recipes for asparagus, green beans, salmon, and so on.
- EATING SMART & PORTION CONTROL – Sure I counted calories, but that was only to educate myself about how much I was consuming. I still consume what I like – dark chocolates, nuts, cereal, red wine — knowing that even if they are high in calories they provide other health benefits if taken in moderation.
- WATER! WATER! WATER! – used to drink only when I was thirsty, and that was 3 glasses a day at the most. No wonder I ached everywhere whenever I did anything physical, and felt sluggish all the time. Now I drink 8 ounces 15 minutes before working out and finish almost 2 liters or quarts when I’m done. Even my sore muscles felt like a “good ache.” At dinner time I drink about 20 ounces, so about half a liter My goal this week is to increase it to 3 liters a day, after seeing this amazing photo.