I have been meaning to write this post for a number of days now. Some of you may know that my weight loss journey has been so successful this go round that I decided to pay it forward and become a health coach for Take Shape for Life. Anyone who has talked to me in the past 3 months knows that I am crazy excited over this program and how it has worked. That might lead them to believe that it has been easy for me or glitch-free, but that is not the case. The things I love about this program are that it is:
- so simple to follow
- that it is healthy and balanced
- the weight loss is faster than on other plans I have been on [seriously, ever]
- that it is structured enough that I don’t self sabotage by making poor food choices that hijack my blood sugar or fudge on points and flexpoints
I love how it makes me feel- more energized, more alert upon waking, empowered, and sometimes giddy with excitement. But I have not been successful because I have more will power than someone else [I most certainly do not] or because I lose weight easily [I do not- I have hypothyroidism and it is harder for me to lose weight]. And while it has been the most successful weight loss journey I have had in my adult life [and the most swift], it has not been without moments of doubt or feelings of frustration.
I have only been a coach for a month now. My new clients include my sister, my boyfriend, my sister’s friend, and several other personal friends. Some of them have complained at times that they are not losing fast enough, that they did not lose fast enough in the first week, that they did not lose fast enough in the second week, or other complaints about the pounds and the numbers of the scale. My sister called one day and said, “I don’t know what is going on, I haven’t lost any weight for six days and I am getting discouraged.” I said, “my goodness, you lost 22 lbs. in 25 days- that is almost a pound a day- your body needs to rest every now and again or you are going to look like a Shar Pei!” She has a lot to lose and had large glycogen stores and lost quickly in the early days. Some have been disappointed that they “only” lost 5 in the first week and someone else lost 9. They are happy when they are losing a pound a day or 7-12 in a week, but then dejected when they have a week where they lose none or just a few. They look at me, seemingly shrinking away in just 3 months and want that and want it now. Well, these three months have been longer than you think, and I think it is important that I share some details of my weight loss.
||Numbers I was seeing on the scale
I have lost more than 35 pounds, but I started at the beginning of October. If you look at the chart above, you will see that I have gone steadily downward since I began the plan and I have only gone off plan once- Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If I made a chart of what the numbers looked like each day, you would see how they go up, down, same, up, down, down, same, down- well, you get the idea. I was discouraged during the times the scale stayed the same or went up, but I trusted that if I followed this plan, there was nowhere to go but down. I am glad I did not give up. Weight loss is a funny funny thing, too. You don’t lose in a linear fashion, you have ups and downs even when following the plan. This is mostly because you are more than70% water and your degree of hydration at any given moment affects the numbers on the scale. Weight loss is funny too, because you won’t always like how it looks. When I first started losing quickly, I looked at my thighs at the end of the second month and thought, OMG, I can’t live with these hideous things! They were sagging and looked like they had had bites taken out of them, like literally there were lumps and bulges in weird places and they were not smooth or shapely. A month later, they are bagging less and in different places and the bulges and hollows have moved. As your fat cells shrink, they do not do this in a perfect and orderly fashion, it is sort of haphazard and random.
What if I had quit after that first plateau? I would have gone back to my old eating ways and most likely gained it all back and more. It would be three months later and I would remain stuck and feeling sluggish and fat and like a failure. I would not have been able to open a package from Kohl’s and remove a size 10 petite pants and hold them up and go, “geez, I will never get into these tiny little things,” only to have them fit!!! What a moment that was! What if I had quit during December when every single day someone was eating wonderous foods around me- butter cookies, candy, cake, meatballs in sweet sauce, martini’s, you name it and the weight was not falling off of me- remember I only averaged a little over a pound and a half a week that month. I would have missed that moment today, when I walked into REI and took a size L blouse off the sale rack because they run so small there, only to have to go back and get a medium! If I had given up, I would not have had my first glimpses at my collarbones 28 years!!
If you are not losing fast enough on this plan, go back and read your quick start guide and make sure you are not messing up on types of leans or greens and their amounts. Make sure you are not using too many condiments [half n half, parmesan cheese, artificial sweeteners, whipped cream, etc…]. Determine that you are drinking enough water because this is the hardest part for some people and losing weight robs you of water. If you are sick, go off the plan and come back on later. Get well first; the plan works best when you are healthy and well hydrated.
Ultimately, know that if you follow the plan– you will be smaller next week than you are today, you will be much smaller next month, and the next, no matter what numbers are on the scale. Try not to be a slave to the scale– they are just numbers and you are much more than numbers. People ask me how much more I want to lose. At just over 160, I would need to lose at least 35 more to be at an optimal BMI, but those are numbers; I will know when I get there. Already, I feel younger, I move easier, I breathe easier, I snore less, I feel more energetic, I wake up easier in the morning, I pant less when walking up hills or stairs, I can run faster and for longer jaunts. I am happier and I make new discoveries about myself every day. I have learned I was eating way more food than my body needed for most of my life. I have learned that I can live without bread and Hershey kisses, that I can make small, continuous choices that add up to big success. I have learned that I can live without leaning on my drug of choice when in crisis or stressed- sugar; and that instead, I can lean on others, I can write, I can go for a walk, I can have a cup of tea, or I can just have a good cry.
So, when you tell me that you are frustrated and the scale is not doing or saying what you want it to say; I understand. I have been there and will be there again. But, I can tell you that only three months into this journey, every one of those moments have been worth it.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.