Tag Archives: weight loss

No Excuses

28 Jan

I’m a strong believer in the “no excuses” philosophy. I always say that if there is something that’s important to you, you’ll find a way to get it.

A couple of women have come under fire for preaching “no excuses.” They’ve been labeled fat shamers because they’ve made no excuses for taking active roles in their health.

I understand both sides because I’ve been there. I’ve been daunted at the thought of all the work I have to do. I’ve looked at how much weight I need to lose, what clothes I want to fit in, where I want my cholesterol and blood pressure to be and made exhausted  at the sheer thought of what was before me. It took me almost two years from the time I decided to start taking better care of myself to actually setting a plan in motion.

Once I was far along in a healthy-lifestyle routine, I realized that I’d really had no excuses. Everything that was keeping me from achieving my goals was in my head. If I really wanted to start working out, then I needed to start walking. If I really wanted to start eating healthier, then I had to stop making brownie sundaes.

No excuses as a philosophy is meant as a reminder that no one can stop you from achieving your goals. No one was forcing me to remain sedentary. No one forced fattening foods down my throat. Despite being overweight, I was in good health. My doctor saw no reason I shouldn’t get involved in a strenuous workout plan. I’d never had any injuries, and my ticker was ticking just fine. The only thing keeping me from moving was me.

Everyone could make excuses, too many people think it’s easier not to try than to risk failure. It’s not the case. I don’t want to make other women feel bad about themselves, I want them to look at me and think, if she can do it so can I. Because you can!—Abby Pell

We all make excuses for why we choose not to do what’s best for us. I know for a fact that life would be much simpler with a bag of Goldfish crackers and a glass of Simply Raspberry lemonade. But that’s only for the moment. In the long run, I’m going to want to still be active. So, for me, there’s no excuse not to start today.

It is in your best interest to take an active role in your health. No one knows your body like you do. And no one will be able to see what your body is capable of doing better than you. There are no excuses for not trying to do your best.

How do you feel about the term “no excuses?” Do you think it’s meant to uplift or put down?

The Workout Nanny

7 Jan
This'll be me and Willa...one day.

This’ll be me and Willa…one day.
photo courtesy of Tumblr

Not too long ago, I was scrolling through my TimeHop. For those of you out of the loop, TimeHop is an app that lets you know what you were doing in social media that day going back a few years. One of the posts that came up was from Facebook where I thanked a friend for dragging me to the gym even though I had a bad case of the “I-don’t-wannas.”

I get the “I-don’t-wannas” from time to time, but they really get aggravated around this time of year. In case you haven’t been paying attention: I HATE the cold. Right now it’s 20 degrees and the low tomorrow is expected to reach of sweltering 7. Seven!! Nothing turns me into a hermit more than single-digit temps.

That’s why I’m glad to have friends like Willa. We both get lazy about working out. Fortunately for us, it’s rarely at the same time. So when I don’t feel like it, she’ll make me go and vice versa.

After you’ve reached your goal weight, the hardest part will be to maintain. Ice cream sundaes don’t seem so intimidating anymore. The Five Guys ultimate of burger, fries and a soda tends to look like a good idea more and more. And huddling up near the heater during one of the coldest days of the year is way more inviting than going outside wet from sweating it out at the gym.

It’s times like this you need a workout nanny. The New York Times recently ran an article about SIN Workouts, which offers to be your workout concierge.

SIN employees can turn up at 5 a.m. with coffee and an organic banana to rouse clients and stand sentry while they get dressed ($100), provide car service ($25, plus the cost of the ride), arrange for freshly laundered clothes to be waiting at the Barry’s Bootcamp studio ($25), or courier over a favorite green juice ($25).

During the winter months, this isn’t such a bad idea. It’s so hard to find motivation to leave the house when it’s cold. But instead of paying hundreds of dollars to have someone convince me to go, I just look to Willa.

Until then, this is us.

Until then, this is us.

Having a workout concierge/nanny/buddy sometimes can be all the difference between maintaining your weight loss or not. Until the temperatures dropped, you were on a roll. Now it’s cold outside and all you eat are rolls. If cuffing season didn’t work out for you, your friendly motivator will have to do the trick.

I’ve discussed before about how the weight-loss journey is a solo one. It always will be because no one can live a healthy lifestyle for you. But everyone needs cheerleaders. Everyone needs someone who will not take your excuses for having a bad case of the “I-don’t-wannas” or “it’s too cold” or whatever else you came up with that morning. Encouragement from a close friend or family member is a necessary item in your toolkit for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

And that was always the goal, wasn’t it? Your weight-loss journey wasn’t some vacation from your regular life. It was a mission to move yourself into another way of living. When you’ve reached your goal, you become an inspiration to those around you. They want to see you continue to do well. So the next time the “I-don’t-wannas” threaten to derail you from your path, talk to your concierge/nanny/buddy. I’m sure they’ve got a few words to help get you moving.

Who do you talk to keep you motivated? Would you ever pay someone to take on the role?

The Long Game

5 Jan
photo credit: Bringsverd via photopin cc

It’s a long road to maintain the weight-loss lifestyle
photo credit: Bringsverd via photopin cc

I got my first grown-up job almost nine months after I graduated college. When I was hired, I was told there would be a six-month waiting period before I was eligible for health benefits and 401(k) enrollment. Health benefits I was familiar with. A 401(k) was a foreign concept. Like any young person confused about the world, I called my father. Daddy explained that I needed a 401(k) to help me save for retirement so that, in his words, I “wouldn’t have to work well into old age.”

At 23, old age was far, far away and having the company deduct even more money from my already meager check seemed like a rip off. But after a few more conversations, he convinced me that it was better for the long run. Over 10 years later, I’m still amassing a nice little nest egg for myself.

Your weight-loss journey is a lot like putting money away in savings or a 401(k). You hit little milestones along the way—10 pounds here, a new dress size there, a great photo every once in a while—but those can be minor victories in the long run. The weight-loss journey isn’t just about vanity, it’s about health. In the long run, you want to pocket away lessons that will ensure you’ve done everything possible to live a long, healthy life.

It’s easy to look at that new bikini as the goal, but what about fitting into that two-piece in another 15 years? Your waist is smaller now, but how is your cholesterol and blood pressure? You’re the envy of all your old friends, but how was your last physical?

I started my weight-loss journey with the short-term goal of losing at least 20 pounds. Then I got on a roll and continued losing until I’d dropped 60. Maintaining the loss was the hard part, but it also taught me valuable lessons about maintaining a healthier lifestyle, especially diet-wise.

While New York is famous for its abundance of restaurants, I know in the long run that my home-cooked meals will serve me best. Re-learning how to cook for myself, using fresher ingredients and less processed food, has helped grow my appreciation for different types of food. I wasn’t making curry before I started this journey. Now it’s one of my go-to recipes. I know that sauteed fish can be just as good if not better than it’s deep-fried. And 30 or 40 years from now, I’ll still have that lesson under my belt.

There’s a saying: It’s about the journey, not the destination. That’ is what your weight-loss journey is—a long-game plan. You’ll reach your destination, but the journey is what teaches you the most about yourself.

No Time Like the Present

17 Nov
wine

courtesy of Tumblr


When embarking on your weight-loss journey, there are a multitude of reasons to delay your departure. You need to plan out a schedule; you need to figure out what foods to cook; you need to wait for the Saturn’s fourth moon to align with Jupiter.

Waiting to start is just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. The second you decide it’s time to take better care of your health, then take better care of your health. At that moment you can make several small adjustments before taking on a serious weight-loss regimen.

1. Pack your own lunch. There is so much sodium and fat in the foods you buy at McDonald’s, Subway or even Chipotle. And we all love Chipotle. But why not just make a salad and take it with you to work? Steam that pack of frozen veggies that have been sitting in your freezer. Dust off that cookbook your mom got you a few years ago and find something quick and light to eat.

2. Go for a walk. Walking is exercise. Depending on how much you do, it can be intense. Take a walking lunch at work. Park your car further away from the entrance so you can take more steps. Take the stairs. You’ll be challenging yourself to do something different. People regret the steps they didn’t take, not the ones they did.

3. Clean out your cabinets. When you’ve decided to take an active role in your health, you should get rid of the temptation to do bad things. Most of those bad things reside in your cabinets. There you will find all the cookies, chips, sodas, juices and all-around unhealthy snacks that have been doing you harm. They’ve got to go. No one likes wasted food, so donate the unopened packages to a food bank. Take the open ones to work. If your co-workers are anything like mine, the cookies and chips will be gone by lunchtime.

4. Don’t order that fourth glass of wine. I’ve often been out with friends when they’ve decided they’ll get back on track come Monday. In the meantime, “Another Long Island Ice Tea, please!” That’s not doing you any good. If you plan to “get back on track come Monday” (whatever that means), why would you set yourself back even further than where you are now? You can order a lighter dish at a restaurant. You can cut back on the alcohol you consume. Come Monday, it won’t be as hard to make the effort.

bugeyes

courtesy of Tumblr

5. Know that your eyes are always bigger than your stomach. As I said before, you don’t have to clear your plate. A lot of restaurants give you way too much food. The stomach isn’t that big. And if you go to a restaurant hungry—or my personal favorite, your grandmother’s house—you’re setting yourself up to overeat. Divide the items on your plate, putting half in a to-go container. Drink some water. If you’re still hungry 15 minutes later, by all means keep eating. But don’t feel obligated to eat everything that’s placed before you. That’s why we have refrigerators and Tupperware.

Now’s as good a time as any to take action on your health. Waiting until Monday just gives you more time to come up with excuses to delay your plan. These little steps will help you move forward while you figure out a plan of action.

What small steps do you take to take control of your health?

Sizing Up the Matter

24 Oct
Without you, it's just fabric on a hanger.

Without you, it’s just fabric on a hanger.

Let’s be honest: shopping can be a pain in your newly shaped butt. And I like shopping. But when you’re “skinny now,” you tend to find yourself in between sizes.

No two bodies are the same. My waist makes me a size 8, but my hips still linger in the 10-12 range, depending on the stretch of the fabric. I prefer shopping using numerical sizes because it makes the search more consistent. But clothing makers are starting to shift their wares to alphabetical sizes (XS-XL).  It’s less clothes for them to make in different sizes and leads to fewer returns.

That’s great for them, but here’s the problem: one size does not fit all. Humblebrag, but I’ve always had a small waist compared to my hips. Buying jeans leaves me with two options: a gap at the waistband above my butt or a super tight fit around my hips and thighs. It’s a never-ending struggle, one you’ll have to contend with until you shape your body the way you want it.

We’re in the worst season known to man. Some days are too cold while others are too warm. You have to layer a ton of clothes, then find someplace to put them all when two scarves becomes too many. However, this dreaded time of year does have its benefits.

The layers help hide whatever’s going on while you’re trying to figure out what looks good on your figure. Skinny jeans and a larger top will cover the gap at your back. A big belt can cinch your newly narrow waist over some leggings. These will get you through some rough patches.

But you should also enjoy this time. You lived a size 16 for so long, and now you’re a size 10. There were clothes you never thought would look good on you out there just waiting to be given a chance to shine. You never tried an pencil skirt before? See what it looks like. Cropped tops used to give you muffin-top anxiety? Screw that! You’ve got a flatter belly now that’s just itching to see the sun.

There’s so much to do now that you can fit into a new size. It’s easy to feel defeated even though you’ve done such good work so far. You’ve lost a few pounds, but your favorite clothes don’t fit anymore. Maybe you didn’t like shopping before because it was hard finding things you liked in your size. Guess what, love? You’re not that size anymore. Take this opportunity to see what else looks good on you.

And remember that part: It’s what looks good on you, not what you look good in. The clothes are there to amplify you, not the other way around. These are pieces of fabric cut and sewn to look good on you. Without you, they’re just patterns on a hanger.

What are you itching to try on once you reach your goal weight? How do you deal with in-between sizes

photo credit: Zylenia via photopin cc