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When dieting becomes a group effort

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 56 Weigh In:

Change this week:  +2.5 lbs
Change overall:  -73.5 lbs

I’m a little disappointed this week as I’ve now gained weight for two weeks in a row.  I have definitely noticed that I was a little “off” this week – unfocused and careless in my eating.  I was still very diligent about going to the gym, which is good, so this week I’ll pay special attention to my food and try to turn things around.

To help motivate myself, I’ve set a relatively aggressive mini-goal.  I will be on vacation for the next two Wednesdays, so my goal is to report a 6.5 pound loss when I write next on April 8.  This will bring me to my 80 pound milestone.  Wish me luck!

It’s been interesting for me to notice the differences in how I’m dealing with frustrations and setbacks this time around in my weight loss journey.  In the past when I hit any kind of wall or disappointment, I invariably gave up, re-gaining my weight and feeling worse off than when I started.  This time, I take a deep breath, steel myself for a new week, and push on.

What’s the difference?

Besides the huge motivator of my turning 40 this year, I think the biggest change for me is that I’m being very open about my weight loss efforts.  In the past, I’ve always been embarrassed to talk about diets and exercising – like somehow acknowledging that I’m dieting draws even more attention to the fact that I’m overweight.

This time, I’m writing about my weight loss.  I’m participating on message boards.  I’m talking to my friends and co-workers about what I’m doing.  Heck, I’ll talk to anybody who wants to listen!  And the support and feedback that I’ve been getting from everyone I know have been such incredible gifts that they really keep me motivated and excited and determined.

An unexpected benefit of my weight loss has been seeing how my success has had a ripple effect on the people around me.  And with every friend who finds their own success, I’m inspired all over again to keep pushing forward in my efforts.

My co-worker Mike started Weight Watchers with his wife about a month ago because he was feeling overweight and unhealthy.  He told me that seeing the changes that another friend and I had achieved made him think he could do it, too, and got him started.  He’s already reached his goal of losing 18 pounds but he’s sticking with it for awhile while he “re-learns to eat” and becomes more comfortable with appropriate portions and healthier food choices.

It’s been great because even though our goals are very different, we’re able to help each other day-to-day.  Knowing that I serve as an example helps keep me on-track.  And he has my past year of learning and trial-and-error to tap into.

“It’s helpful, especially when it comes to tips and the snack drawer,” he says.  “I know everything there has been tested out and vetted and if it’s okay for Lisa, it’s okay for me.”

There’s definitely a good give-and-take going on – Mike finds a great snack like a big bag of air-popped popcorn at the convenience store and I whip out the measuring cups to show him what an actual serving size is.  And then he shares with me.

Another area where I’ve tried to exert a little influence over my friends is at the gym.  Besides the altruistic reason of wanting them to do something good for themselves, there’s also the reality that the more friends I have who go to the gym, the more likely I am to have a gym date, which is the surest way to make sure I don’t just hit snooze and go back to bed for an hour when the alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m.  But even when friends join a different gym from me and I don’t get to reap the rewards of an exercise buddy, I’m still thrilled to see them making more healthy decisions for themselves.

My friend Chris had been talking about wanting to join a gym and get in better shape for awhile, but kept putting off the step of actually doing it.  Last week, he finally took the plunge – and it made me feel great when he said it was partially because of all the progress he’d seen me make over the past year.

“I used to have reasons for not going to the gym,” he told me.  “But as I watched your progress, I realized my reasons were just excuses.  You have a busy schedule but found the time and you were self-conscious but got over it, why couldn’t I?”

He went to the gym four times last week while he was on vacation and has gone twice this week before work.  I laughed to myself when he emailed me to report that he’d gotten up early to work out and joked in astonishment, “who am I??”

When I started writing this, I was disappointed in myself.  And now that I’ve thought about my friends and talked to them about their progress, I’m inspired and ready to get back in gear.  And, they’re both right – if I can do this, anybody can do this.  We can all do this. 

I’m planning on reporting back on the 8th with a great weigh-in!

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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