Sometimes a major change in life takes perseverance, or just plain stubbornness. This time the major change resulted in losing over 75 pounds.
January 1st 2011 – I was at an all time high. On the scale.
There is never just one catalyzing event that makes you take action to change. You can call it whatever cliche you like – the last straw, officially fed up, enough is enough – but when it happens, you can feel that this time is different.
For me it was being 1 pound away from hitting 200.
Seeing 199 on my just-shy-of 5’4″ frame was something that come on slowly over about 8 years. Slow enough that the need to buy a larger size in clothes didn’t come up often enough to really notice. Slow enough that I wrote it off as getting older. Slow enough that I let it keep piling on and didn’t really care until I was just 1 pound away.
Making the decision
A little background before I dive into my story. Just because I wasn’t battling my weight since childhood, does not mean that my weight hasn’t fluctuated over the years or that I’ve had to lose some in the past. I have always had bouts of fitness with long stretches of sedentary living in between for the past 20 years.
Start working out and cutting calories a bit, lose 10-15 pounds. Stop working out or ignore what I was eating. The weight came right back.
I don’t have a fast metabolism, in fact its slower now than ever — I can thank my 40’s for that. I don’t have super-woman willpower that keeps me away from “bad food”. I crave chocolate cake just like everyone else.
I am a female and an earthling… so for the most part, all the same stuff you struggle with (excepting debilitating illness) I’ve got going on too. Please keep that in mind while I share what I’ve been able to do to shed this weight, and what has worked for me.
What it takes to get started
When I saw that number on the scale, I knew I had to do something. I really didn’t want to go over that precipice of 200 for several reasons. Thoughts of apathy like “Well if I’m 200 now, whats 220 going to look like?” actually went through my mind.
I’d spent 2010 watching the economy and an unfortunate business situation take my financial freedom out from under me. I can admit now that I was depressed for the majority of 2010 and as sugar and bread are my comfort foods, they helped by comforting me.
I was determined for 2011 to be better, in anyway I could. The first quarter was quite busy in other aspects of my life, but with my weight, I kept it simple and focused on moving.
I started on the treadmill in the morning, 3 days a week. I have to admit I am VERY lucky to have had times of fitness-mania in my life. Years ago my husband and I invested in all this equipment so we would have no excuses with workout equipment available anytime. We could could avoid ongoing gym membership fees, whether we were using all the equipment or not.
Here is how my home gym looks — and before you start looking for excuses, these are just tools to fitness.
Most of my workouts I can do with one set of 5-pound weights, my yoga mat, and my big red ball. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me get back to where I was a year ago.
Set backs are part of the process
In March of that year, I started feeling sick. After 3 weeks of coughing, what I thought was a bad cold or allergies was actually bronchitis. This kicked my butt into low gear.
I felt horrible physically. I was also in the process of taking my business from a full-time endeavor to part-time on the side, so my mental state was not in the best shape either.
During a three month period of illness and recovery, my fitness fell off the priority list. One day I would manage to walk for 20 minutes, and the next thing I knew, two weeks would have gone by without any type of workout.
The only positive outcome I can attribute to being sick it that it killed my appetite and I lost 15 pounds.
I don’t recommend this weight loss plan to anyone. It’s too unpredictable as takes too long to fully recover.
Getting another year older
I had big plans for my fitness and weight loss goals to be well under way when I had my 41st birthday last June. The celebration was wonderful as ever and I had maintained that initial 15 pound drop without major commitment.
As it was, I wouldn’t have the tools that helped me get here until August. In the meantime, I got back on the treadmill with renewed determination. Birthdays have a way of helping you do that.
I have an older Keys treadmill that I purchased used over 13 years ago. It is consistent, easy to use and even though I rarely use the benefit of the fact it folds up for storage, that feature makes it super easy to move around when needed.
I was consistently walking on the treadmill 3 days a week. When I say walking, I mean walking. At a slow pace.
I stayed on for 20 minutes, occasionally walking a bit faster to push myself, but really I was just counting minutes. A couple weeks into this pattern, I used my old heart rate monitor that amazingly still worked to see if I was even working in a place that would burn fat.
Yep! But just barely. Your heart rate will tell you a lot about how hard you are working, and I’ve had this fitness tool in my arsenal for years. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, don’t worry about it. You can easily do it the old fashioned way and figure out your heart rate with a clock, watch, or the timer app on your phone.
How long did it take me to walk a mile back in August 2011? 28 minutes.
Today I’m running a mile in 10 minutes. If I can figure this out, so can you.
Go get your fit on – Heather