I really, really thought I could lose weight if I was diligent about following Weight Watchers. I've never been a particularly unhealthy eater, but I tend to fall back on fast food and sweets when it's hot/I'm too tired to cook/I had a long day/I'm hungry NOW/I could really use something delicious to cap off a meal. So, naturally, I assumed that I could cut down on those fast food runs/late night freezer dives and the pounds would simply drop off.
That only worked for the first 4 pounds. Literally, changing my eating habits dropped 4 pounds immediately. Everything after that has come off slowly, through dedication and some self-discipline. We've all but 100% cut out fast food, opting only for the ocassional weekend run to McDonald's for breakfast or Kids' Night at Chick Fil A. And even when we do that, I'm eating the breakfast sandwich with no meat and with half the bread or a salad with grilled chicken and just a few stolen waffle fries. I've replaced my ice cream and cookies with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches and smoothies made of fat free yogurt, ice, and fruit.
And still...the scale ever so painfully inches down by ounces.
Finally, I admitted to myself that I was either going to have to make another big change OR I was bound to give up, go back to eating whatever I want, and gain back what I'd lost plus a few bonus pounds. So, the big change came a few weeks ago when I bit the bullet and started working out again. It started as a little challenge with a good friend to help keep us accountable. I expected one or both of us would lose steam and next thing you know we'd probably find ourselves helping each other make excuses. In other words, I underestimated us.
I've done challenges before. I've tried to lose weight or exercise with friends before. And it never worked. Because there was never accountability and there was never honesty. AND I always felt like I didn't have to keep up my end of the bargain because whomever I was challenging was in it to win it, not in it to be successful together. That's the key for me this time: we're challenging each other to succeed together, not so someone can win.
In the past 3 weeks, I've worked out 3-5 times a week. It's not easy. It's not always fun. The other night I tried my best to keep up with some insane Netflix streaming version of zumba that was so fast-paced and complex I ended up frustrated and almost crying. I sweat a lot. Sometimes, I catch site of my reflection in the back door window and I am embarassed with myself. I have to work out late at night, and I end up compromising my sleep for the workout, which probably has its own set of potential problems. Some nights, I would rather go to bed early and read than get up off the couch after everyone else is tucked in and snoozing.
But I do it. I get up and make a fool of myself in front of no one but me and the ladies on TV. I sweat. I curse when I can't keep up. I feel it the next day in my glutes or my thighs or my abs or my arms. I report back to my friend, telling her what I loved and hated about the workout for the night and deciding whether to keep the DVD in my queue or give it zero stars.
And the next night, I do it again.
Last weekend, over the 4th of July, our TV sat in our garage and our stove sat in our backyard waiting to be replaced by a new stove. We went out for almost every meal. I didn't do a single workout. I did, however, spend hours a day sweating and installing flooring. And still, by the time Wednesday's WI came around, I expected a maintain or a gain. I was ok with either, knowing I hadn't stayed on track and I hadn't followed plan. But I HAD worked out 4 times throughout the week, and loss or no loss I was counting that as a success.
I lost almost a pound last week. And you know what? I was happy. I feel motivated to keep going, and optimistic to weigh in this week. And despite my natural inclination toward laziness, I'm willing to admit that my husband (and you, anonymous) was right and exercise might really have been the missing piece to my weight loss puzzle.