Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My commitment to me

A year ago, almost to the day, I started a journey. This is a road that many people before me have taken, and many after will too. But this was about me, not them...me and my family.

A good friend and I had been having many conversations about food, regarding additives, chemicals and artificial sweeteners, just to name a few things. One day it clicked with me...I wanted to be healthy! I wanted more control over what was put into my families bodies. If there is an ingredient on a label that I need to Google to find out more about it then chances are I really don't want to consume it. Now that doesn't mean everything, I know there are a lot of scientific names used for natural foods too that are okay, but I wanted simple back.

I will also mention here that I was over-weight, tired all the time and very unhappy with myself in the outward appearance department. I know we're not suppose to care what others think, we get that drilled into us from all different sources yet society also makes it very hard for individuals to really truly put that into practice. I would say most of us, not all but a good majority, judge each other on looks alone. I admit I'm one of those people. There are scientific reasons for why we are attracted to beautiful/good looking people, man or woman, but that's another post all together. I had fat rolls, I had a tummy that I despised, a muffin top and fat arms. My back side was spreading like bread dough rising and my legs contained more cottage cheese than the local dairy and I was barely squeezing into the largest pair of jeans that I had. (Anyone catch on to those food references? There was a subconscious reason behind that I'm almost certain!)

Now, I also had people tell me, after I lost the weight, "I didn't think you needed to" but in another breath they'd tell me how great I looked at my new weight. I just think it's funny, no one will tell you look great when you're even slightly over weight but as soon as the weight is dropped you look FANTASTIC! Again, I'm guilty of this towards others too. I'm not judging anyone now or then, it's just how we are as a society.

Anyway, back on to the reason I'm writing this. I KNEW I WAS UNHEALTHY!! That is my point. I knew I was overweight too, but the catalyst for me was getting away from chemical laden processed foods.

My friend teaches health and nutrition. BINGO, I had the help I needed. She helped me in the fall of 2010 when I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at age 35 and I knew that I should listen to her now. Enter in the low glycemic index way of living. She guided me along, all the while making the positive changes for herself too. We were in this together. She provided me with the materials and knowledge I needed to get started.

I had a book/journal that she had given me a year earlier. It was sitting on the counter that evening when my husband came home from work. He asked if it was the 'new diet' that I'd be on. NOPE! I told him, I was tired of us not being healthy. Our eating was horrible and as the wife, mother and resident grocery shopper I was going to dramatically change what foods were brought into our house. No chips, crackers, boxed foods, heavy casseroles, creamed condensed soups, etc. OUT! No more! This book Transitions Lifestyle System, was my new tool that included a food list for me to follow. I informed him that he could be with me on this ride or not, it was up to him and I couldn't control what he ate outside of the house, but that things were going to be very different in our kitchen from now on. I did ask him to give it 60 days (or maybe 90 I don't recall exactly) to see how we'd do. I've got tears in my eyes right now remembering how in agreement my husband was.

See, my husband took a desk job several years ago and gradually gained weight. It doesn't happen over night (just like losing it doesn't) and he was the heaviest he'd ever been. I could sense he was unhappy with himself. He was also so tired all the time, no energy whatsoever. He saw the potential in what I was telling him and he agreed to give it a try.

Now, I could tell you that it was easy and the weight just dropped off yada yada...ya know, infomercial type gibberish. Well, actually it was easy and the weight dropped off much easier than either one of us expected. But the best part was the energy increase. We both had so much more energy than we'd ever thought we'd have from eating our fruits and vegetables.  It does help that all three of us (son included) love fresh fruits and vegetables. It happened gradually and pretty soon there was a point where we actually had to stop and realize what was happening. We were doing this! It was working! We felt wonderful and we felt that way because we made healthy changes and those changes were oh so good!

I wanted to start running so I'd go for walk/runs in the evening or just whenever the mood hit. Our son has always been one to want to be outside and take walks and he was usually with me. Pretty soon my husband joined us and it was a family affair. Then we'd do small runs, breaking ourself into running. Walk to a mailbox and start running, run to the next mailbox then walk. Pretty soon we were running more and more. By the end of the summer into the early fall we were feeling great. Not full out long runs but feeling the itch to do so each time we went for a walk. We would walk/run 3 miles and try to do that at least 3 times a week. We also did yard work and I push mow our yard. That takes 4.5 hours to do so I broke it up into 2 days once a week. We were feeling absolutely wonderful!

By the end of 5 months I had lost 25 pounds. Now, my husband has never told me his start weight, and I don't know his current weight. I'm okay with that and respect it completely. I do know that I gained approximately 10 pounds over the winter while he maintained his weight (I'm a very proud wife if you couldn't tell). The 10 pounds are completely my fault and I recognize that. I wasn't back where I started at the beginning but I wasn't where I wanted to be and was very unhappy and felt I completely failed myself. I'm over that. What's done is done and only I can undo it. I will not continue to beat myself up for it. Again, I've come to realize it's not really about my weight, it's about my health. I gained those extra pounds back by eating unhealthy foods again. Not watching my portions and pigging out on holiday baked goods. Yep, I did it to myself and in a very unhealthy fashion.

I came to that conclusion a few weeks ago and I'm so happy I did. I'm recommitting to my health. It makes me happy to say it but so much happier to actually be doing it!!

Again enter my friend/mentor who has helped me every step of the way. She was looking to 'up her game' and do some workouts and started researching on the internet. Now several years ago I'd done some research also but apparently didn't look hard enough. I'm pretty sure most of us have seen the commercials for the P90X system by Tony Horton. When I was looking I had read up on it but it looked too extreme, and knowing myself as well as I do I knew I wouldn't stick with it. I mean we have a weight system and elliptical machine in our basement that is better at gathering dust then any other item in this house. But my friend dug deeper and found Power 90. It's the precursor to P90X and it's what is considered by many (including myself) to be the beginner workout. I could never even imagine trying P90X without going the full 90 days of Power 90 first.

My husband and I are now in our second week of Power 90 and actually looking forward to it each time. Yes, even through what I consider the grueling power yoga. And I also want to point out that including commute time my husband works 13 hour days but he's making time, no excuses!

I want to be strong. I want to be fit. But most of all I want to be healthy. I am back to eating cleaner low glycemic foods and working out. My energy levels are elevated again and I'm feeling great. I am so happy to recommit to myself!!

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