You are all, by now, familiar with my picture of me with Pugsley, who is now healthy and on the road again. I have another picture of me with the same car soon after I bought him. I'm standing behind him, he's blue instead of yellow, and I'm considerably heavier than in the current picture. I keep the older, fatter picture on my dresser so I have to look at it every day. It reminds me of one of the reasons I run.
I approached weight loss from the perspective that I wanted to be slender for the rest of my life; I didn't want to lose weight and then gain it back. So I decided that a diet wouldn't work for me. Instead, I had a set of rules that I started following, and that I follow to this day:
No food is off limits. If I decide I'm not going to eat bread or cheese or cookies, then those foods just become the things I would crave. So if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. The thing is, I only eat a couple of cookies-not the whole bag. This is the hardest rule to follow, but the most important, and it's all about discipline.
I stopped eating fast food lunches, except as a once a month treat. The rest of the month, I brown bagged it for lunch. But you should have seen my brown bag lunches-they were truly works of art! There was tons of stuff in there-beautiful salads brimming with tomatoes, gourmet lettuce, mushrooms-every luscious veggie I could stuff in to it, then topped off with low fat dressing. I had fruit for snacking, any low-cal sweet stuff I found at the store; honestly, I actually had more stuff to eat at work than when I had fast food lunches. And once a month I had a cheeseburger. Refer to rule one! Now that I'm retired, this rule is easy to follow, and I now longer have a cheeseburger once a month.
I never set a weight loss date. I never said "I want to lose 20 pounds for my class reunion next month". If being a normal weight was truly going to be a lifetime thing, than it didn't matter if I lost the weight tomorrow or next month or next year, so long as I lost it. So I went to Hubby's class reunion heavier than I wanted to be, but I was ok with that. I'm thin now, years later, and there will be more class reunions in the future.
I realized that the discipline necessary to lose weight was more important at the supermarket than at home. If I didn't buy the 5 pound bag of chips at Costco, it wouldn't be calling to me, a siren song of calories and salt, until I devoured the whole thing and licked the inside of the bag. Seriously. Chips have always been my downfall, so I just never buy them.
No more "post dinner dinners". That was a huge weakness of mine-I would get up late at night and literally eat a "snack" that was as big (maybe bigger) as the dinner I had eaten just a few hours earlier. If I was really hungry late at night, I would drink water. If that didn't satisfy me, I had to make do with carrots or fruit, since that's pretty much the only snack food I keep in the house.
Exercise. Every day. A little, a lot, as much as I could handle. I discovered that I could not lose weight without exercise. So I got an elliptical machine and started using it every day. When I started, I could barely do 5 minutes-I was mortified by how out of shape I was. But I did it, and gradually I went from 5 minutes to 10 to 30.
So here I am, years later, slim and trim. My rules seem to have worked and they've become habit. I thought about posting the old picture of me and Pugsley; perhaps if you, faithful readers, really want to see it I'll put it on my next post. Trust me, it's bad!