Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint

Accepted wisdom states that when you’re depressed, anxious, or under significant stress, you shouldn’t concern yourself with trying to lose weight – and perhaps the weeks leading up to Easter were not the best time to start! However, I made up my mind that I was going to, set SMART goals, and began.

Things were going really well until last night, when I caved and ate a couple of chocolaty Easter treats … and then again at 2am when a couple of hot crossed buns fulfilled their purpose in life and began their journey down my alimentary canal.

You know what? I’m not too upset by these hiccups. It’s not like I ate a whole block of chocolate, which I would have done in the past. Look, I did it so often I have a pic:

Chocolate

Weight loss really is a marathon, not a sprint. There are going to be days when I go over my calorie budget. There are going to be days when I don’t walk my 10,000 steps, or don’t do my exercise. That’s OK. The bulk of my days I will do these things, and that’s what matters.

What’s important is that I’m determined to lose this weight, slowly but surely. My motivations are:

  • to decrease my weight so I can take up long distance running again without damaging my knees
  • to feel better about myself
  • to decrease my risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers and other obesity-related nasties
  • to prove that I made a good decision, leaving that therapy group which wasn’t working for me. (Yes, I’m hitching my weight loss project onto the back of another one, but it’s a good source of “righteous anger” energy, so itΒ feels OK and adds a good boost to my motivation!)

I’m using an app – Noom – which is basically a calorie counter and data recorder all in one. I find it quite easy to use, especially now they’ve increased their range of built-in foods to include many Australian brands. I tend to eat whole foods anyway, which helps, but my partner sometimes uses recipe bases, so being able to “dial them up” is fantastic.

I lost a significant amount of weight once before, about five years ago. I did it then through giving up alcohol completely and turning to jogging as my stress management technique. It was great! I lost a much-needed 20kg, and celebrated an “0” birthday by running my first half marathon. It’s very comforting to know I’ve lost a lot of weightΒ once before, so I know I can do it again.

This time, I need to lose the extra 30kg I put on last year while in hospital, and also the weight I had been going to lose before I went in – because I started 2013 overweight. It is a little depressing to think I could lose weight at the recommended rate for all the rest of this year and still be above my optimal weight, but there you have it: life isn’t perfect.

Have you ever set out to lose weight? What worked for you (or what didn’t)?

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint

  1. Cal

    I put on about five kilos on my gap year, which isn’t much, but at eighteen living with four other eighteen year old girls who were all pretty appearance obsessed and boy crazy, it felt like the end of the world! We all had put on a bit of weight as we were working at a boarding school in England and eating boarding school food three times a day. I started paying more attention to portion size, and having only one large hot meal a day, instead of having lasagne and a baked potato for lunch and then a roast dinner. I also started going for long walks after school every day – I’d just walk as far and as fast as I could in half an hour, then walk back. The 5 kilos disappeared pretty quickly.

    The funny think is though, I’m now 3kg heavier than I was then, and I’m kind of okay with it. I don’t know. I don’t want to put on any more weight, but I kind if like my body right now, and I think if I lost the 5-8kg I kind of want to, it would be for other people, not for me, you know? I think you’ve got really solid motivation for losing the weight, and slow and steady is the way to do it. As you know, dieting won’t get you there – or it will, but the weight will come back. It has to be a lifestyle change, which it sounds like you’re doing, so good for you!

    Have you ever done any swimming? If you’re finding you can’t run, swimming would be easy on your knees, and it’s good cardio too πŸ™‚ swimming is literally the only form of exercise I don’t actively hate while I’m doing it, other than walking, which is why I’m suggesting it. πŸ™‚

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    • I quite enjoy swimming, but I have long hair which takes time to dry, so it’s quite a commitment, to go for a swim πŸ™‚ Yes, I wear a swimming cap, but water always gets in! I know that might seem like a silly reason not to go everyday, but that’s the way it is. I was swimming 2-3 times a week late last year; I plan to get back into swimming after Easter. We’ll see πŸ™‚

      Yes, I am much more comfortable carrying a few extra kgs than I was when I was younger. Unfortunately, those extra kgs have become too many extra kgs πŸ™‚ I’m pleased you agree with me that my reasons for wanting to lose weight are good ones. That feels validating and supportive. Thank you!

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  2. I’ve never had a significant weight loss but I put on some weight when starting meds a few years ago. Combine meds with aging, and those pounds have stuck around. I’ve recently started tackling that a bit. One thing I’ve done with some success is to pay attention to stabilizing my blood sugar levels – eating more whole grains, eating more protein, and eating more often. I’ve had more success with weight loss when eating smaller meals throughout the day.

    Also, I put my scale away for a time and that helped. Really, my focus is on how I feel and being healthy. I’d weigh myself on Sundays and not throughout the week. This was a real stretch for me but it helped to take any focus off the number. So I’d do the things I thought I should do throughout the week, regardless of how my weight fluctuated from day to day.

    Kudos to you for being able/willing to focus on weight loss now and to recognize that it is a marathon. Oddly enough that seems like a sign of being in a better place mentally…who has time to count calories when you’re deep in the hole and just trying to count hours until you can sleep again?

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  3. Well, of course, Sister, I completely relate. Definitely slow and steady is the way to go. But that said I lost 40 pounds in about five months before. I kept it off for a few years until a major depressive breakdown got in the way. I was already quite active, training for my first half-marathon, but the weight lingered because I couldn’t get the eating side sorted out.
    For me, what worked was eating protein for breakfast (an egg, three slices of extra lean back bacon and some tomatoes and a piece of toast) was the perfect fuel to satisfy my needs, keep me feeling full throughout the morning, without craving sweet stuff. All that was the equivalent of a store muffin or donut!
    I also started making conscious choices once I started counting WW points. I’m hungry and have so many points left. I can have a lean hamburger or I can have a donut. Both have the same number of points but I’ll be hungry again within an hour if I go for the donut.
    The other major change was what I drank. I didn’t drink a lot of alcohol, but I drank mostly juice rather than water. Although much healthier, juice, calorie wise, is the same as Coke. So I started drinking fruit flavored teas instead.
    Once I did these three things, combined with my active lifestyle, the weight melted away.
    But knowing this isn’t helping too much at this point. So I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences in this new journey. Inspiration does wonders. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks, Sister! Yes, I think 70% of weight loss is diet-related. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at in regard to that right now: good old Noom sets a calorie budget each day, and also has this nifty feature which categorizes foods as “green”, “yellow” or “red” which gives a visual aid to healthy choices and a good balance. I keep plenty of fruit and veg in the house, so apart from my little hiccup the other night there isn’t much temptation (which has been a big derailer in the past). I certainly will keep you informed! xx

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  4. robin1967

    I gained significant weight after I started taking Abilify 11 years ago. Last summer, I lost 40 pounds by restricting my calorie intake to 1000 calories per day. I also tracked everything I ate on a website called FatSecret. It calculates the calories, fat, and protein in the foods I eat. Unfortunately, I have gained 10 pounds back since I stopped restricting to 1000 calories. I am getting ready to start again (after Easter :)). Good luck on your health journey…

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  5. I have gained and lost in the past, and am on a losing trend right now. Usually, I cut carbs, limit calories (maybe 1200), and exercise as often as I can manage….Also I don’t allow myself anything other than water, and drink plenty of it.

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  6. I need to lose about 25kgs myself. I will get to it. I’ll get back into eating healthy again soon but right now I’m enjoying my hot cross buns and chocolate. πŸ˜‰

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  7. i gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. and rather than lost that weight post-partum, i just gained more. i never weighed myself but i was definitely wearing a size 17/18.

    that was 5 years ago. i’m now a size 8. it took me that long to lose the weight safely. i do have diabetes 2 now (that is more genetics and the fact i had gestational diabetes) but i took on the same attitude as you.

    no over-night fixes. this was a smart commitment i made for the long haul. in fact, it was a lifestyle change for the rest of my life for as long as i can keep mobile and active.

    most of the weight-loss, mind you, was within the first couple of years. the last 3 i experienced some plateauing effects which is normal. but basically, i just didn’t let myself rush to my goal. i just did what i had to do without worrying about how long it would take. i believe this is the smart way because it’s also the best way to keep the weight off.

    eating healthy is a true must for me because i have diabetes. i get my ideas from low glycemic recipes online. it’s helped me to stop craving for sweets and other junky food by changing my palette. i crave apples now over chocolate. i let myself eat 70-80% dark chocolate (no more than a couple of squares) once in awhile as a treat. it’s good to treat oneself in moderation. i think cutting out all guilty pleasures will eventually make us crash and binge.

    for fitness, i follow a muscle confusion type routine which means i switch up my weekly routine every 4 weeks. as well as seasonally. i learned this through p90x. basically, i make sure i cover cardio, resistance training, and core strengthening. flexibility is also covered through my yoga practice.

    but to start, i basically did the walk a mile dvd’s. it was a great and safe way to get me going. also great when the weather outside sucks.

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    • Congratulations, and thank you for sharing! There are so many quick fix weight solutions out there that is very important to keep the slow and steady message in mind. It’s reassuring to hear a slow and steady success story. πŸ™‚

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