how I lost 100 pounds

Another Year Gone By

5yr

When I used to think about August 10th, I thought “I made it another year” and felt like I could exhale for a moment. I’d successfully maintained my 100 pound weight loss for another 365 days! Those first few years were definitely challenging. I had some ups and downs with my weight and at the worst, gained about 15 pounds that took forever to lose again. But for the most part I always stayed around the same weight.

Check out previous year’s anniversary posts here:

My 100 Pound Anniversary

100 Pound Anniversary – 3 Years

100 Pound Anniversary – 4 Years

This year is my 5 year anniversary of that magical date that I stepped on the scale at GOAL WEIGHT. If you’ve ever made goal weight, you know what that feeling is like. It’s a sense of pride, of wonder, of accomplishment, of sadness, of happiness…all sorts of emotions wrapped into one number on that scale. The feeling that is missing from that parade of emotions? RELIEF.

I’ve never really felt a sense of relief with that number on the scale (or at least, it wasn’t a lasting feeling) because I always have to work hard for it. It’s not like I reached goal weight 5 years ago and then gave up exercising, or started eating foods that were bad for me. No, I kept the weight off through doing the things that WORKED to lose the weight in the first place. Those things are simple:

1. AWARENESS and ACCOUNTABILITY. I track my calories. Every day. I do take a break once in awhile; I tend to splurge a little more on vacations; I am always aware, though, what I am eating and if I’m going over board.

2. EXERCISE and PLANNING. I find ways to fit in exercise every day. On my rest days I might go for a walk during my lunch break at work. I plan my week’s worth of fitness ahead of time. I schedule my workouts on my Google calender and I stick to them. I can be flexible and move things around if something comes up but it’s very rare that I ever blow off a workout.

Those things are key to losing weight and keeping it off. It sounds simple and easy, but it takes dedication and hard work. It takes commitment to YOURSELF and to your health to stay on the plan. I know that sounds overwhelming at first, but doing the changes in little stepping stones makes it more palatable. Now I am at a point that I crave healthy foods and feel like crap if I go too long eating “bad” foods and not fresh fruits and veggies. I also crave exercise. It’s my stress reliever. It’s my “me” time and I always feel better after a workout!

LisaEireneBeforeAndAfter

What was most astounding with my journey was the fact that I changed as a person. I became very active and grew to love activities like hiking, snowshoeing, running and biking. In fact, when injury sidelined me from those activities, I fell into a depression because I missed doing them. I never would have guessed 10 years ago, that that would be me.

After 5 years of keeping off 100 pounds, I’m at a place now where I feel like that old me is dead and gone. It doesn’t feel real. It feels so alien and so far away. Now, most people who know me or meet me, never guess that I used to be 250 pounds. They are usually shocked if they find out. THIS is me. This present person.

I started this blog 3 1/2 years ago because I had a story to tell. I knew I could inspire some other people who were obese and depressed like I was and just looking for a little push, a little inspiration, to get started. My hope is that demonstrating a healthy lifestyle of moderation and fun fitness has made it seem attainable to you guys. YOU CAN DO THIS. I did it, you can too.

Sometimes I feel like this blog has run it’s course. I sometimes feel like I don’t have much else to say about weight loss and maintenance. I’ve said it all. Then I start thinking maybe it’s time to quit the blog and that’s when I get a very sweet, personal email from a reader telling me how much I inspired them to lose weight and get healthy! That always makes me happy and makes me think “This is why I do the blog.”

So on this 5 year anniversary, I say thank you to all my readers!

Transforming Your Whole Life

If you are like me, you’re catching up on posts from the holiday weekend.  My Google Reader was pretty full this morning.

First I’d like to say hello to new readers who have stumbled onto my website looking to start their New Year’s Resolutions. Many people set a resolution to “lose weight,” “get fit,” “get healthy.” Those are all great goals for the new year and I hope the new readers check out my website for tips and ideas.

If you are a new reader, take a moment to read how I lost 110 pounds. My “Best Of” Page will also help you navigate the website. This is also a great post to help you catch up on how I’ve been maintaining my weight loss.

I recently finished reading “I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago” by Hape Kerkeling.

The story is about 36 year old Hape–a pudgy couch potato who suffered from a lot of health problems–who decided to hike the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is a 500 mile route at the base of the Pyrenees to the shrine of St. James in Spain. The route is a sacred thing that Christian pilgrims have trekked for centuries.

There are nearly 40 stops along the way where Pilgrims can get their passport stamped at official hostels. His journey was really interesting to read. I’m not religious but I have always been fascinated by Pilgrimages of any religion. I was always interested in doing my own Pilgrimage or Vision Quest. Someday I will.

What I think is most interesting about this book is that he was ill-prepared for most of the things that happened on his pilgrimage. He started out on the path without enough water, quickly learned his lesson from that, and tried to walk too much in the beginning so that he got blisters and could barely walk for days. He had the wrong gear, the wrong boots…But in the end he conquered all of his fears and prejudices.

The book is pretty good. I think a bit is lost in translation (translated from German) but the gist is still the same: Self-Discovery. What struck me most was this statement:

“You have to expect a physical and emotional low here and there. Still, a pilgrimage has to be completed alone, or at least begun alone. Along the trail, I keep running into couples arguing loudly, or people who tell me they have separated from their partners on the Camino. Some people grouchily match their partner’s incompatible rhythms for miles until they brim over with resentment. In the end, nearly all pilgrims who are in it for the long haul walk alone. I virtually never see groups. Rhythm and pace are what separate more people on the trial. It is hard to find someone who dances to a similar beat. If you hike in a slow waltz, you can’t join up with a speedy flamenco pilgrim. The pilgrims’ walking styles reflect their feelings and thoughts and their very essence.” [pg.101]

This can apply to anything I believe. There are a lot of emotional and physical highs and lows with losing weight. It can be extremely discouraging to get stuck in plateaus. It can also be super uplifting to break out of those plateaus or reach a landmark in our journey!

If your Resolution was to lose weight in 2011, you’re probably currently in the “high.” You feel motivated, super enthusiastic, maybe you got new workout clothes or running shoes and you’re excited to try them out. Maybe you joined the local gym and forked over a lot of money to go. For the next month you’ll probably still have that “New Year’s Resolution Glow” about you.

Around February the glow might start to wear off. The idea of getting up early before work to hit the treadmill, or going in the evening when it’s dark and cold (and the gym is crowded) isn’t as appealing. My advice is this: STICK WITH IT.

Every year I see this happen. January 1st brings throngs of new people to the gym but by February or March the gym thins out and who remains? The committed regulars that work out as much as I do. It’s easy to get discouraged but don’t let that happen this year! 2011 can be the year you make a change in your life!

The book i’s also an observation on human relationships and how we deal with stress. How do you deal with stress? If you are in a relationship, how do you deal with it together? I don’t always deal with stress in positive ways. I used to eat in reaction to stress. I try not to anymore but there are slip-ups. Which leads me to the next quote. He makes this excellent observation:

“Actually I begin my pilgrimage anew each day. I don’t feel as though I’m on one continuous journey, but rather on a thousand short trips. Every day I have to fire myself up all over again. I’m convinced that the daily task of the pilgrim is this: Just be yourself, no more and no less!” [pg 102]

That really spoke to me because it’s a topic that can be related to just about anything in my life. Specifically, it applies to my weight loss journey. I had to decide every single day that I woke up that I was going to make GOOD choices. Each day is a different challenge, a different opportunity to make good or bad choices. Each day I have a choice if I want to live a healthy life, or slip back into my old ways.

I could beat myself up for overeating, indulging, slipping into old habits and eating too many treats…in fact I’ve beat myself up for those things more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve gotten better in this last year.

I realized somewhere along the line that I won’t gain back all my 100 pounds with one slip up! I do have anxiety once in awhile about gaining back my weight. I think that’s normal. But each day that goes by that I maintain shows me that I Can Do This.

My final thought: 3 weeks from now, 2 months from now, whenever you’re feeling like giving up on your New Year’s Resolution think about what you really want in life and KEEP TRYING!

Good Luck!

QUESTION: How are you going to transform your life?