By: Mary Pat Baldauf
I wrote this post in late January, but I wanted to share it with you. It was a personal victory of sorts for me, and it’s helped me better define success when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
This morning, I weighed myself for the first time in a while. The number was up. I am five pounds further away from my “goal weight” than I was a couple weeks before Christmas. (I’m trying not to obsess too much on the numbers, but the gain now puts me 32 lbs. away from what I’ve chosen as an ideal weight.)
My initial thought was to crawl up under the covers and have a huge pity party with two special guests, Ben and Jerry. And I must admit, I DID crawl back under the covers. I was up early for cardio, but the weigh-in created a paralyzing panic that could only be relieved by an extra hour and a half of sleep. But when I woke up, I took a deep breath and decided to re-boot. And on the way in, I even bought myself flowers to celebrate.
“Celebrate?” you might say. Yep, celebrate. Because while my weight is up from Christmas and my initial loss of nearly 100 lbs., I still have a lot of reasons to celebrate:
- My blood pressure is down. Significantly.
- My good cholesterol is up, and my bad cholesterol is down.
- I now choose stairs over elevators, and when I take them, I no longer nearly fall out at the top of them.
- I basically eat clean, whole and healthy foods. I have a few processed indulgences, including ice cream and chocolate, but I rarely shop the inside aisles of the grocery store.
- Whole grains and agave nectar have taken the place of white flour and sugar.
- I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been to a fast food joint.
- Some weeks are better than others, but I regularly work out. I strength train. I do cardio. And I am generally much more active.
- Except for an occasional pizza, ice cream or Greek yogurt, I am essentially dairy-free. I have totally switched over to almond and soy milk, and I rarely have cheese.
- I eat much, much less meat. And except for an occasional craving for a good steak, meat has become an addition to a meal, such as a soup, instead of the main course. And in most cases, I choose ground turkey breast over ground beef, and always buy the leanest cuts.
- I not only know how to pronounce quinoa, but I eat it on a regular basis.
- Cooking is no longer a chore that I dread, but almost enjoy. I usually cook for the week ahead on Sunday, so there are always quick, healthy options available. And I always get excited to add a great new recipe to the rotation.
- I plan ahead, consider obstacles and work around them. When traveling, I make arrangements to purchase healthy food and/or take my own. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes I feel like the odd woman out, but I still do it.
- When I first started working with a nutrition counselor, the only way I could get my water intake in was to add Crystal Light. Now I prefer my water plain and cold, or I add fruit for flavor.
- I have finally found a sweet spot for grocery shopping. I have healthy staples in the pantry, including nutritional yeast, and I have a set shopping list for the store.
- My spice rack is now quite extensive and well-stocked.
- I have actual muscle definition, and I’m especially proud of the strength and toning I see in my legs.
- I am now cooking dry beans instead of using those from a can. It’s healthier and less expensive.
- I can do all kinds of things in the gym that I couldn’t do before, but the one that stands out the most is the elliptical trainer. When I started three years ago, I couldn’t do more than two minutes at the lowest level. Now I regularly do 30 minutes, and the lower level is just a quick warm up.
Today, instead of berating myself for “failing,” I dusted myself off and prepared for a new day. I didn’t drown my sorrows in ice cream, but had some of my favorite healthy foods, including fresh pineapple and strawberries for lunch. And after finishing this post, I’m going to lay out my clothes for tomorrow’s strength training, turn in early and read.
And those 32 pounds? I hope they enjoyed today’s celebration, because tomorrow, they’re history. I may not be able to physically lose them overnight, but I’m not going to let them bring me down or define me. Instead, I’ll use them to re-energize me on my journey to good health, clean eating and physical fitness.