The lighting of a FIRE!!!

On the heels of my post about not really NEEDING motivation, it is certainly useful to find/create/get some in your weight loss or fitness journey!!!

I usually call it the FIRE, because it almost literally BURNS… and just right as I am typing this it occurs to me that FIRE is different from MOTIVATION… I really do think it is – and I need to explore that idea a little more so I can explain it to you… suffice it to say even on days/weeks/months when I am not necessarily filled with MOTIVATION I still have a FIRE, and *that* is what keeps me going.

So maybe that FIRE is necessary or at the very least extremely important to your journey… heck *any* journey – even on the less than stellar days (or years) of marriage, the ones that seem to pull through had a FIRE burning, however small, weak, or cold the flame, the FIRE was still there and is what helps the union to remain, what inspires the partners to work to keep it…

Without further ado – I love to share MY FIRE but I thought it would be sooooo interesting and helpful to share the experience of someone who recently LIT HER FIRE!!!!!  3 weeks in to what she can feel in the pit of her stomach is the “real” journey…..

What lit my fire and has kept it lit?

Three weeks ago I finally set off on a journey. I took the leap and had no idea if it would have any measurable results. At the time I was hopeful, but in all honesty every day I wake up a little more amazed that I’m still putting one foot ahead of the other and I haven’t derailed.

A few events took place three weeks ago. My husband started a new job and began traveling some for work, the pressure of an upcoming family vacation where there would be lots of photographs was weighing on me and I took a run. The combination of these three had a wonderful effect on me.

My husband’s metabolism is ridiculous. He can eat twice the number of calories as me in a day and not gain an ounce. A meal to him is a loaded plate and he’s never had to weigh the caloric/nutritional differences between a side of fries versus a side of steamed veggies. He loves me, knows that I suffer from poor self image and worries that I will attempt an unhealthy approach to weight loss. So seeing me with a plate of food half the size as his makes him wonder if I’m “starving” myself. We eat out a lot as well which can really make weight loss difficult. Because he’s never had to examine the nutritional value of a restaurant meal, he can’t understand how a salad from a restaurant can have more fat and calories than a big mac. That’s preposterous to him. So often we ate where he thought there were a wealth of choices for me, but really there weren’t many, if any. Less you think he’s a dictator, please know that he’s a very loving and supportive husband. He’s just clueless at times, but he’s learning. Seeing the results helps. Although I think he still worries a little that I’m starving myself. Poor worrying sweetheart.

Having him away meant I made decisions to suit me, not everyone else. Our 2 and 4 year old children went along with whatever mommy decided. And when he’s home, I realize I don’t have to eat like him any more than he has to eat like me. Tonight he grilled delicious turkey burgers. He and the girls had baked french fries. I had a mixture of steamed carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and zucchini as my side. I shared with the girls too. It was a meal under 400 calories for me and I had a boat load of veggies. There’s no such thing as not being full when you have 2 full cups of veggies.

The pressure of our upcoming trip had been weighing on me. I’m a terrific procrastinator, but time was ticking down. So three weeks ago (four weeks out from the trip) I decided I would try to loose 10lbs before we left. Achieving that goal has been so rewarding! It also taught me that a long term goal is not a good idea for me. I can put off working on it. I need short term goals that are reasonable, but make a real difference. My new goal is an additional 10lbs by Thanksgiving. It’s doable, but not so far off I can put off working on it.

Lastly, that magical run… Years ago I lost a lot of weight by running. I also used a prescription appetite suppressant (more on this in a moment). By the time I reached my goal weight, I was running five miles a day. The endorphins released in a really good run are crazy great. I am totally out of shape, the day I ran I was even worse. By the end of my two miles, I was wheezing, my legs were like jelly and I thought I may collapse. However, twenty minutes after I was done, this euphoric high hit me. I was dancing around and singing. My husband wondered if I’d drank a bunch of caffeine or what. The high lasted for two days and that was long enough for me to want more. It also taught me something really important. I’d been walking and tracking those walks on endomondo. In half an hour I would burn 175 calories. Ugh! But on that 25 minute run, I burned nearly 500. And it clicked: working out is work. I’m not going to die doing twenty minutes of really intense, hard work and it’s a waste of my time to not put 200% into trying. Why spend the same amount of time with half the result? So now I push. I push hard. Some days I do better than others, but I can guarantee you I’m not burning 175 per 30 minutes. If I did though and I knew for absolutely certain that I had pushed myself as hard as I could then I would be okay with that because I’d know by pushing that it would get better.

That’s what started me on my journey, but staying on it isn’t always easy. I’ve started weight loss countless times. A week seems to be my threshold of sticking to it really. Because I’d used prescription appetite suppressants before I was convinced I couldn’t do it without them. But I saw people like Debi who had and this time I was just determined to do it. The second week into the third was the hardest. Loosing 5-10 pounds makes you feel better, but not that much better and once your body realizes you’re working at loosing weight, it seems to get better at holding onto it. That’s where the exercise comes in I think. It’s my way of lighting the fire in my body that burns those calories. But I was doing so much work and felt like I was giving up so many food “treats” and I wasn’t in a new pair of jeans. They weren’t as tight, but it wasn’t a big difference. But I kept thinking that I just had to do it. I had to get through it, that our vacation would come and I could be the same weight or be proud to be smaller, even if it’s not as small as I’d like to be.

And you know what? It got easier. Crossing the 10lb mark made a magical difference. Suddenly I am in pants I couldn’t get into before and suddenly I just feel smaller. And those rewards are in my head 24 hours a day. I wake up with more energy in the morning and I feel more like running with my kids. I can’t wait to see what it will feel like to hit the 20lb mark, but you know what? I feel more confident than ever that I will know what that feels like and soon.

I don’t have any tools or special knowledge or equipment that anyone else doesn’t have and I know longer allow that to make me feel like it’s impossible for me to succeed. I’m not a great planner. Meal planning is a joke for me, but I keep a list of easy go-to snacks (I don’t call them meals because in my mind a meal is a big deal and I don’t eat big). If I eat the same thing three days in a row because it was easily available, then that’s what I do. I eat for my health, not my happiness. Actually, I guess I do eat for my happiness it’s just different than it was. I plan around events. If I know a birthday party is coming I try to find out what is being served and I add all the calories I’ll eat there to my diary (myfitnesspal) first thing in the morning then arranging my other eating taking that into account. I’m reasonable, there’s no way I will resist a piece of cake at a party. So I don’t plan my ideal eating there, I plan for reasonable behavior. If I do better then yay for me, I have a few extra calories at the end of the day, but at least I know I’m not going to go over and set myself up for disappointment.

When I reach my goal, whenever that is since I refuse to set a long term goal and procrastinate, it’ll be all the more rewarding because I did it (emphasis on the I). All of the prayer and all of the support and encouragement of my fitness buddies is invaluable to me, but in the end I will know that no magic pill or gazillion dollar machine did anything for me. It was the basic equation of taking in less than I put out and sticking with it day in and day out. It’s not always easy, but it is simple and it works.

And lastly, a little encouragement for you guys … It gets easier. An unhealthy lifestyle can be addictive. Literally, according to my old endocrinologist. The longer you’re away from it, the easier it is to stay away. There are moments of temptation, but eating right and exercising are not nearly the battle for me now that they were three weeks ago.



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