“If you don’t change you become extinct.”
Among all the warning signs and new revelations about my obvious physical deterioration I knew I had some work to do internally. Some times my tension was very obvious and other times it was like a duck on a pond; calm cool and collected on the surface and going ninety miles an hour. I was once told by a fellow employee that I made the top five in the death pool. Nice, the people I worked with were betting that I was not going to make it. Now it was really time to get to work and get off that list (not to mention other lists).
I decide that the biggest hurdles have always been in my head, so I better start there. I spent a lot of time reading, seeking personal awakening while working on changing my outlook and attitude. Using the examples of my two wonderful daughters, I began to open my mind to different cultures, music and ways to look at the world. Slowly I began to explore spirituality and distance myself from negative people, since negativity can be like a drug and for years I was an addict. It’s funny how once you change behaviors without even realizing it the people around you begin to change. Before you know it there are more positive, caring people in your life. This is not to say you won’t have to keep your guard up to not fall into old habits like any other addictive behavior. This continues to be a work in progress but I have been lucky to have people come into my life that seem to show up at just the right time. I do not get to spend as much time as I would like with all of these people but I know they entered my life when I needed them the most.
Next, I had to learn about nutrition and what was good what was bad and how to begin losing the weight. I loosely based my plan similar to the Weight Watchers process except that I did not count points but I focused on portion control. I was completely strict about what I ate, how much I ate and because I was in the learning process once I found something that worked I ate the same thing day after day for a while. I found out what worked for me and I stuck to it, slowly but surely the weight would come off to the total of fifty pounds and six inches around my waist. This did not happen overnight and I would learn later that taking the weight off slowly increases the success rate and reduces chances of gaining it back. I have to watch myself closely because I can look at a pizza and beer and gain two pounds. This combination I have found to be what I tend to go to during stress times of emotional eating along with Chinese food, and sweets.
So many rules; don’t go to the store hungry, make a list and stick to it, stay around the perimeter of the store unless you really need something down and aisle and get in and get out quick, but the best thing I learned was to read nutrition labels! Don’t fall for marketing ploys. There are three things that make food taste good and they are fat, sodium, and sugar. If there is less of one there will be more of another so educate yourself on what you want to accomplish. Sometimes it is a matter of picking your battles and making small changes over a period of time. One major thing I have learned is there is a difference between being disciplined and making yourself miserable. If you are miserable your chances of success go down exponentially. Fast food and soda pop and processed sugar are just as dangerous as cigarettes and some of the worst things that ever happened to the health of our society. All of these things cause addictions and cravings. It is as simple and complicated as this; healthy microbes create cravings for healthy things, while pathogenic microbes create cravings for unhealthy things. Change your microbes (small bacteria that can be harmful or good for you) and change your cravings.
One of the best tools I have found for myself and for clients is to keep journals. Food journals can be eye openers if you enter everything you eat and drink completely honestly. It can help you realize or identify habits, some of which you were only slightly or not aware of and it can be the accountability tool that helps you make better choices. My running journal helped me incredibly in the beginning to figure out what temperatures I ran well in or if I tried something new and it worked or failed, it is a good place to track moods both before and after if that is a concern. On the days when I started to run without music and situations that it was better to use it. For making route notes to refer back to, what time of day and type of terrain or food and hydration notes. They can be as meticulous or uncomplicated as you want or need it to be and can change as you go. If you are training for something specific I recommend using every means at your disposal to keep on track especially in the beginning until you develop habits. For instance, I like to go into my Google calendar and put my daily miles or workout of the day in to be an extra reminder as well as refer back to my journal to when I was training for something similar. Whatever you do track your progress.