To Know a Thing, You Must Know Both Sides of It – an update on “I Refuse to be Anything Less Than Successful”

You should know that as I typed the title of this post, I spelled Succk before catching my mistake. Seems appropriate enough.

I have always maintained that to truly know something, you have to know both sides of it, and I normally use a coin to explain. You can’t know a nickel if you only know the front. It’s equally as important to know the back of it.  Success is no different, and the back side of success comes in lots of forms – lack of progress, backsliding, discouragement, failure. I have encountered all of these, and when I’m done, I feel like I will truly know success. Here are some things I’m learning along the way:

It’s taking longer than I thought

That’s ok. I think I understand now why people think they can’t lose weight – or at least why I thought I couldn’t. It takes time. Lots of it. Most people either don’t have the time or don’t mentally budget enough time for it to happen, and it’s easy to get discouraged or bored or any of the other things that make it easy to give up.  Lesson learned: Targets are moving objects. Be ok with that.

Losing weight/getting healthy is an emotional journey, and I don’t like that feeling

This part is hard for me, and I find I have to continue to hold my feet to the fire on it. I don’t like feeling this emotional about things, and it would be so, so easy to just step away from the discomfort. I am working incredibly hard at this, and it takes up a huge chunk of my day. The rewards are in such small increments and so often fall into the “two steps forward, one step backward” category that I find myself constantly having to psyche myself up to keep going. Lesson learned: It’s an emotional roller coaster. Try to minimize the impact and keep chipping away at it.

Losing weight is an emotional journey for  friends and family

It is, and that’s all I’m going to say.

I had to learn things about myself I never knew I needed to know

We’ve all heard it. If you don’t eat enough, you won’t lose weight. Ok, exactly how much is enough? Is it the same amount for everybody? I learned from my dietitian about a test that determines Resting Metabolic Rate- that magic number that determines my own personal minimum daily caloric needs. I breathed into a mask that was somehow connected to her computer and learned that I must eat no less than 1230 calories per day before my body goes into starvation mode. My husband did the same and learned he must eat at least 1340, so that makes a difference as we fill our plates. I learned  in order to lose 1.5 pounds/week  I must have a 750 calorie deficit each day, but my dietitian doesn’t want me to go over 1,000. Those gave me real parameters to work within. With all the other moving targets in the game, these are constants, and I think they are key in keeping me going. She provided a break-down of percentages of protein, carbs, and fats to strive for each day, a computer program that will track it for me, and she put me in an armband that tracks my activity and records it neatly into an easy-to-follow chart I can see  right next to the meals I record. I am so thankful I didn’t try any of the quick fixes that are on the market today. This is forcing me to know me and is teaching me how to move and eat in a way that works for me.  Lesson learned: Knowledge is power. Know thyself!

Little things make a difference

These things have shocked me beyond belief:

~what a difference 10,000 steps/day vs. not taking 10,000 steps/day makes

~how hard it is to budget 20 minutes of vigorous activity a day

~the definition of “vigorous”  activity (Personally, I would call it “near death” activity)

~how easy it is to run out of sodium allotment before you run out of meals

~what a huge effect eating out has on the scale

~how much effort it takes to undo the damage of eating out

~how much work it is to eat at home

I saw my doctor get super excited for the first time since I helped him find the weekend property in the country he was looking for

My goal, if you remember, was to raise my HDL from 24 to 50. There are only four good ways to do that, and since I don’t smoke at all or drink heavily, the only options left were to exercise and lose weight. According to HDL pundits, losing six pounds will raise HDL one point. Not good news. That’s 156 pounds for me and would pretty much leave me with only hair. I’m happy to report that my first check-up after starting this journey showed I had lost 13 pounds and raised my HDL 13 points. One point gained per pound lost. I can live with that. Literally! My doctor was so excited and wanted to know exactly what I was doing since it is extremely hard to raise HDL. Lesson learned: Based on the numbers and his reaction, I must be on the right track. Keep going.