weight loss journey

Getting Back on the Wagon

I received a great question from a reader about how to get back on track after take a break. She’d lost 70 pounds already and was about half way to her goal weight. For whatever reason, she took some time off from the plan (I’m guessing both exercise and the food part) and was having a really hard time getting back at it. This is a great question and I think it happens a lot for people.

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Taking a break from working out isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a smart thing to do periodically. Our bodies aren’t meant to go go go without a break. Having appointed rest days during the week is a good idea (I have two) and taking a week off once or twice a year is good, too. Why? Because our bodies get used to doing the same thing all the time and then we stop losing weight. Doing the same routine day in and day out will stall progress.

Taking a break has come up a few times on my blog. Check out the old posts here:

How to Survive the Off-Season

Why Wednesday – Why You Need a Break Sometimes

Mental and Physical Break Part 1

Mental and Physical Break Part 2

I don’t suggest someone just starting out on their weight loss journey to take an extended break because there is a benefit in using the momentum of just starting out. When I first started swimming I was losing a lot of weight! Like 10 pounds a week! It didn’t last long and the weight loss leveled out to 3-5 pounds a week. After 6-8 months it slowed down even more and 1-3 pounds a week was the norm. Seeing the weight loss on the scale each week (even if it was just 1 pound) was so motivating it kept me on track. USE THAT. It works! Starting over may be discouraging, but it can be done!

So while it’s beneficial to take an occasional break, how do you get back on track?

start-from-zero-G-Gawne-Kelnar

Getting Back on the Wagon

I don’t have a magic pill or an easy answer for anyone wanting to get back on track after taking a break from their weight loss journey. I know that’s what people want (me included) and it’s just not the way it works. We have to WORK for it and WANT it badly enough.

Schedule It!

This is truly the most helpful thing that worked for me. I schedule my workouts in my Google calender each week like I would my plans with friends, doctor appointments and volunteering. I build each week with things I want to do, things I have to do, and my workouts. Seeing it on the calender makes it easy to DO IT.

It may seem too simplistic but it really does work. Try scheduling workouts for a few weeks and soon it will become a habit and not something you even think about. (Read: 21 Days to a New Life.)

Fake It Til You Make It!

This works for a lot of things. Changing our perspectives and trying to have a positive outlook on things doesn’t always happen overnight, it takes practice. Years ago when I was really suffering from depression, I finally decided that I was going to be happy and not depressed. I certainly didn’t FEEL happy but I pretended I did. I smiled at everyone, I made myself laugh at things, I forced myself to socialize and I TOLD MYSELF I was happy. Believe or not, it eventually worked. Funny thing, I was talking to a friend of mine who is always so positive and upbeat about everything. I asked her how she did it. I said I was struggling with some of the things in my life that were making me unhappy (job, and other things) and I admired her positive spirit. She told me she was faking it til she made it some of the time. Really? Wow. I was surprised but it got me thinking. If I’m walking around in a funk about life, that negative energy just spreads. But if I change it to positivity, maybe THAT will spread too!

Clean Out The House!

Get rid of the junk food and trigger foods you might have bought during your break. Not having the temptations around you will make it easier to make better choices.

Just Do It!

It may be a cliqued saying but it’s true. If you just make yourself go to the gym or workout for a few days, it will be easier to get back INTO the habit of doing it.

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I love the above quote. It’s so true, especially for me. I wanted to lose 100 pounds more than anything. Nothing was going to get in my way or derail me. Plateaus were not going to discourage me. I was focused and determined and that’s how I lost the weight. So really dig deep inside yourself and ask why you want to lose the weight and how important it is for you. If it’s that important, the excuses won’t come.

What worked for you getting back on track?

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?