By Lisa Spodak ([email protected])
Provided by WorldNow
Week 26 Weigh In:
Change this week: -3.5 lbs.
Change overall: -54.5 lbs.
Yesterday was a big day for me – six months to the day since I signed up for Weight Watchers and really started focusing on exercise. And with all the ups and downs, my net loss so far is 54.5 pounds… a number that makes me incredibly happy!
My original goal was to lose 100 pounds by September 2009 – to celebrate my looming 40th birthday. When I realized that I could very realistically hit the 50-pound milestone by my birthday this year, I re-evaluated. Now I’m shooting for a total of 150 pounds by my 40th. Wow.
It’s aggressive and a little scary, but, I know I can do it.
For me, as much as I have a love/hate relationship with the scale, pounds are the easiest measure to set goals, track my progress and keep myself motivated. For some other ideas, I talked to my weight loss idols, Danny and Laura, about their goals and milestones.
Like me, Danny’s first goal was related to a date on the calendar. “The real impetus behind my initial weight loss was skydiving,” he says. “I wanted to go skydiving for my 30th birthday and I had to lose 45 pounds in order to do it. Jumping out of that plane was a huge reward for me!”
Laura, who actually stayed off the scale for the first 60 pounds of her weight loss, subscribes to the SMART goal model when setting markers for herself. “SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely,” she explains. “It helps to keep these things in mind when setting goals. For instance, ‘I’m going to look like a super model in six months!’ is NOT an easily achievable goal. ‘I’m going to cut out fried foods for three weeks’ is more likely to actually happen.”
Both of my friends had a specific reward in common – clothes. And both tried to avoid a specific kind of reward – food.
Danny measured his success by clothing size. “I would go stretches where I wasn’t seeing the numbers go down on the scale, but I was dropping clothes sizes,” he says. Adding: “I found that shopping isn’t traumatic, like it used to be, now that I can just go into a store and pick up something off the rack if I think it’s cool.
“What I didn’t do was set food goals, like if I lose 10 pounds, I can have some wings. I think one of the things I’ve learned most about losing weight is that it’s a lifestyle change — if I want a plate of wings, I’ll have some wings. I’m not really depriving myself of anything — I just wrap it into the larger context of whether or not it will help me meet my long-term goals.”
Laura concurs. “It’s so hard not to reward with food,” she says. “But shopping, for me, was almost as good. My mom, who was so happy with my new healthy path, would often offer to take me shopping after I hit a new pound goal. Being able to fit in cute little clothes was a huge motivator for me.”
Laura’s help from her mom highlights something else I’ve been finding to be such an incredible part of my weight loss journey – support. I have such amazing support from my family and friends that I wish I could bottle it up and give it to people that I see struggling alone in their efforts!
One of the biggest differences in my approach to weight loss this time is that I’ve been very open about what I’m doing and have looked for support anywhere I can get it. In the past, I would keep quiet about my struggles and just mumble something about trying to be healthier when someone would ask me what was going on. Now, I have no qualms telling everyone what I’m trying to do and how I’m doing it.
And, from my brother who buys me new clothes as I drop weight… to my mom and her friends who read about my progress in this space and send me dozens of encouraging emails… to my friends who give me cards and shower me with compliments and work out with me and who know when to push food away from me and when to enjoy cheese fries with me… I’m finding support everywhere I go.
I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am in that regard. Laura actually told me about friends who were uncomfortable with her changing and would do things like buy fatty foods and make fun of her when she’d try to pass them up. “I’d caution people losing weight to evaluate early on who will be a real source of support,” she says, “and stick close to them.”
For people who are having trouble finding support, here are some ideas for places you may find like-minded folks to help you along the way:
- If you’re on a specific program like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or The Atkins Diet, check out their website for a community area which may have forums or bulletin boards. Lurk for a bit to feel it out and see if you’d be comfortable participating and then take a deep breath and say “hi!” There are also sites like ediets.com and sparkpeople.com that have all sorts of resources as well as lively community areas.
- Look for an exercise buddy. If you’ve recently started going to the gym, you may find someone there with similar goals to yours. Try some classes and strike up conversation with someone who seems to be at about the same level of fitness you are.
- Pay someone! If you can, consider working with a trainer – even if it’s just every other week or once a month. I’ve found my trainers to be amazing sources of support, especially as I struggle with plateaus and rough spots. They’re also great resources for the kind of advice that will get you through those spots.