01 Jun confession of an 8 month passionate affair…to lose 40 pounds by 40
I’m starting an 8 month affair to get my sexy back. I’m cheating on my old habits with new ones but I’m determined to still enjoy nachos and beer. I’ve spent the last decade losing and regaining baby weight, struggling to feel good about my body and my life. As my big 4-0 approaches and after a decade of intense introspection, I’m ready to lose 40 pounds by 40, which is in
8 months 32 weeks…and keep it off for life…two huge challenges. It scares the crap out of me. Either way, I’ll have one hell of a party.
Our goals have to make us want them, crave them, desperate to conquer them, if we have any chance of accomplishing them. Why else would we make changes or take action? We’re driven by the anticipation of feeling good when we achieve a goal. For me, I’m desperate to lose 40 pounds by 40. Yet to be honest, the thought of trying to achieve such a huge goal terrifies me.
It’s taken me almost 40 years to realize weight comes off, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay off. Habits and mindset need to change before lifelong change emerges, and progress is never a straight line. It seems when just as we think “you’ve got this”, you don’t. I’m well practiced in re-centering from bouts of unhealthy habits, especially after an indulgent weekend or stressful week. Yet, armed with an insatiable desire and a simple framework to achieve my goal, I am ready to unleash the passion within and arouse success, or possibly fail brilliantly. Here’s my plan.
what by when? lose 40 pounds by 40
We can vision board the crap out of anything, but until we know what we need to measure progress and have a deadline, we’ll never get there. Deadlines can be a mysterious beast. When too aggressive, they’ll fill your life with discouragement if you don’t make it. Yet, their absence weaves a thread of ambivalence into achievement of your goal, de-prioritizing today’s actions necessary to fulfill the goal. It will always be easier to do something tomorrow than today.
With wanting to be at a healthy weight and feel good, weight loss is my ultimate goal, by 40 is my deadline and 40 pounds is my target. At a 40 pound loss, I’ll be close to the middle of a healthy weight range, and frankly is just a nice round number. It does seem like a lot, but it’s a weight I floated around comfortably before kids, give or take a few. For now, 40 is the target number.
There’s the danger that my 40th birthday is a little to far for me to take immediate action. I’ve been struggling with that the last three weeks since I came up with the idea. I’m hoping I caan get my head wrapped around the imminence of it and make sure I don’t get too far along before this goal actually becomes impossible.
renewing passion daily: winning every day
So, it’s no secret that goals are most easily achieved by repetition or succession of actions that have the biggest impact on progress. Everyone knows consistent weight loss means less food and drink (or types of food if you’re following the latest diet trend) and more movement preferably happening daily. Translating that into actions means having a daily calorie target and movement goal and tracking them.
Just doing those things, tracking food and movement, can feel tedious and very unsexy. I’m trying to make it more appealing by celebrating the daily wins. It’s a small step that truly motivates when done repeatedly. When I’m checked out and out of focus on my goal, which especially tends to happen for me on weekends or when I am stressed, I veer off course.
your admirer: a habit tracker
A habit tracker is like your not-so-secret admirer that gets excited each time you notice it. It loves the time you spend filling it up, sharing your success. It takes pleasure in you moving closer to your goal – at least that’s how I imagine it feels. It can’t wait until the next time you spend together because it knows you’ll be even better than before. Lastly, you derive pleasure from seeing the pages fill with the recognition of your dedication to your most intimate goals.
When I’m on course, I celebrate my daily success using a habit tracker. If it’s out in the open, where I see it every day, multiple times a day, it serves as a reminder to check in. The goal is to color in a box celebrating when I actually tracked my food and made my movement goal…and a couple of other things. Hopefully, I’m doing this each evening.
At this point I’m not celebrating how much food I eat because I want to cultivate the habit of eating and drinking more mindfully and less emotionally since that is my biggest obstacle to my weight loss success. I want to encourage myself to track honestly, and not penalize myself for days of excess since I tend to do that mentally anyway. Thus I really don’t need to focus on my off-days and instead just be aware of their frequency. I feel for long-term success, it’s more important to embrace that sometimes I will eat an entire plate of nachos or drink a ton of beer, and that’s OK. My goal is to have those happen less often over time.
dancing your ass off: making movement fun
Sure, we know exercise promotes a healthy heart. How many of us really enjoy exercising? Not me. I think exercising should be fun, and doesn’t have to be in a gym, unless you’re into that scene. Over the past year, I’ve discovered the benefits of walking because I hate running…I’m not sure there’s a lot of big chested girls who like it. Something about the weight of my tits slapping around doesn’t feel good. But walking is great, gets me out of the office moving.
It’s tough to get the heart rate up from walking, but I can when I play one of my favorite video games, Just Dance. I love that I can make a playlist with my favorite songs and just dance my ass off, and having fun.
To keep track of my calorie, movement and other goals, I set up my habit tracker. I fill in each square when I do the following each day:
- track my food, including enjoying nachos and beer
- walk 3.3 miles (monthly goal is 100 miles)
- limit weekday drinking (two or less) + heavier drinking to one night a weekend (unless event)
- drink 1 T of apple cider vinegar
- record the positive (write down two things for which I’m grateful and two I did right – difference being grateful items are ones I simply witnessed, and right items are ones I participated in)
- do a Just Dance session or a 7 minute workout
- start my day with TMM – my abbreviate version since I do three of the other things at other times
committing to someone else: weekly accountability
Between balancing the demands of a family and work, days and weeks fly by, and without someone to share progress or set-backs it’s easy to veer off course. So I’m committing to two different check ins to keep me focused. The first is attending my weekly meeting at my local Weight Watchers where I’ll weigh in. In the past, regular attendance helps me at least maintain weight loss. When I miss meetings I tend to regain weight, and get back in bed with old habits. My other check in will happen weekly when I share memorable moments and scale movements in a regular blog post called Weigh In Wednesday. Between you and Weight Watchers, I hope making these commitments will keep me honest and focused and on track to lose 40 pounds by 40.
why’s it going to be different this time
I know how to lose weight, that’s not the problem. At this point, I’ve lost enough weight enough times to clone at least an adult human, perhaps a toddler as well. It’s losing the habits that contribute to regaining weight or keeping it from coming off that haunts me. Like a stubborn, creepy ex, my self-sabotaging patterns like to hide in the shadows, ready to attack when I’m weak. They kill my motivation or fill my head with negative self-talk and force me to seek the solace of food or drink. I’ve come to know this dark place intimately.
Through much soul searching, I’m slowly shining a light on these dark and shattered influences. One day at a time with each moment I notice them, I do my best to love them and myself even when they win. By making peace with these bad habits, I’m trying to open the door to whatever it is they have to help me grow into my fullest potential. My wish is to for my heart to fill with the changes I wish to create leaving less of a refuge for them to live.
Accountability is where I’ve failed miserably. Each time I’ve gone in an unwanted direction of my weight it’s been due to a lack of accountability. This time to lose 40 pounds by 40 and keep it off for the rest of my life I’m determined to use Weight Watchers as my ultimate accountability. My goal is to become a lifetime member, which requires you to stay within a small range of your goal weight to maintain free membership.
permission to fail
At my daughter’s Girl Scout award ceremony last night, there was a great speaker who does improv and gave us a great way to view failure. She had us all stand up, think about a time we failed and how that felt, tight, icky, shameful. Then she had us throw our arms up in the air and scream ‘yippee! I failed!’. Failure doesn’t have to take us down. It can fill us with the experience we need to bounce back better than before. So when I can’t stay out of the kitchen and stand on the scale the next day, facing numbers going the opposite direction I want, I’ll remember to scream yippee!!!!!!
Lifelong change occurs when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. It really boils down to our why we are setting this goal. It needs to be highly motivating. Frankly, my why is rooted in my tits hanging around my belly button and that weird flap of skin around my belly that hangs over my c-section scar. I want to remember what it’s like to have everything in the right place.
Excess weight represents a myriad of things potentially out of balance in life. For me I believe it’s fear of realizing my true potential – what I could really do if I tried. Physically it’s a byproduct of the habits that keep me checkout out and stagnant, successfully avoiding progress for the reward of momentary relief. I’m hoping this time my why is strong enough to see this through.
get ready, get set, go! sort of
I’ve actually procrastinated posting this. As I go to do it today, three weeks have past and I’ve lost 3.4 pounds and regained it all plus 1.4. Though I’ve been bouncing around tremendously. It seems I don’t have this quite in the bag yet, and have had trouble fully committing to my plan. Though I have followed through with attending my Weight Watchers meeting at least. I know right now my biggest hurdle is my fear of success and feeling good. Since I’ve recently With 32 weeks left, it’s still doable with an average loss of 1.25 pounds and crush by goal to lose 40 pounds by 40. I think by not posting this I’ve been giving myself an out. Better now than never though. Here we go!