Every week, along with my progress update, I’m sharing guest posts from friends who are making changes in their lives to live more healthily. This week’s guest poster is my friend, Bridget Ivey. I only met Bridget a few months ago when she picked me up at the airport and then served as one of my don’t-let-Sherry-get-lost-too-many-times people at BlissDom. I knew we were destined to be friends when she offered me crack within moments of getting in her car. The crack turned out to be some super yummy cracker-chocolate-butter-toffee goodness (which may be just as addictive as the street drug…I’m guessing.)
I don’t have a super fancy weight loss story like some. My story is typical, I think, of many people my age. My weight yo-yoed back and forth for years, especially the last 7 years during which I had 4 children. Whew! Keeping up with all four of them should be enough to make the pounds just melt off, right? That might have actually happened if I hadn’t eaten all of their leftovers from every meal. But I did and the pounds kept adding up and up and up. So many days felt like exercises in futility and I frequently fell into bed at night, worn-down and exhausted. Weight loss was the last thing on my mind. Exercise? Ha. If I heard about push-ups, I thought bra. Pull-ups? Potty training. No lie.
These days, however, my youngest has learned to walk and (somewhat) communicate and play happily with her siblings. The older kids are mature enough to keep an eye on the little ones and let me know if a problem comes up. And though messes and issues and interruptions are guaranteed through out the day, I am no longer a captive audience every minute of every day. I don’t have to be constantly aware of every.single.little.thing and I can trust them to get me if they need me. (I still keep my ears open for loud crashes and screaming matches.)
When I first realized that I could steal away little chunks of time, I used it to do things I had to do. I’d do dishes or laundry or write a post the was due or edit pictures for clients. I would get dinner started or clean out the junk drawer in the kitchen. I was getting lots of things accomplished, but I found myself frustrated that I had these moments that I’d been craving for years and I wasn’t allowing myself to use them like I’d dreamed of. So I started a book. I would read a chapter or two and peek in on them. If they were still okay, I’d catch one more chapter. And it felt so good. Reading for fun had almost entirely disappeared from my agenda, and I missed it dearly. In a few days’ time, I finished one book. The next week, another. I was cramming in sentences into every little break I could find, as if I’d been starving for words.
And then one afternoon, I finished my book and I didn’t have another one waiting. And so I sat. I just sat and looked out the window. It was a beautiful fall day. Leaves were swirling and the wind chimes were clanging happily. I almost expected a little birdy to start whistling a Disney song. I stepped out into the sunlight and stretched out like a cat. Doing that reminded me of my old Pilates video that I’d loved once upon a time and I did a few exercises right there on the back porch. The next day I pulled out the old video and pumped my arms and focused on my core and rolled like a ball. And I did it again the next day. And the next. When I got tired of that, I got out the Wii Fit. (That obstacle course is tough, yo!) And as I began to exercise regularly, I began to think more and more about my body and my lifestyle. It was then that I devised my own little plan that it worked for me. I lost 20 pounds at a decent pace and promised myself I would take a break after reaching that 20 pound goal. I did, and you know what? For the first time in my life, I got ‘off’ of a ‘diet’ and didn’t gain it all right back! As a matter of fact, I lost 2 more pounds and I wasn’t even trying. Which is CRAZY SPEAK, you hear me? Crazy. I had heard it before and I’m sure you have as well, but it feels important to point out: It worked because I wasn’t on a diet, I had changed my lifestyle.
So what exactly did I do to change my lifestyle? Three little things. Honestly. Little things.
- I drank more water. Cup after cup of ice water. It’s easy to do, really. You just have to remember to actually do it.
- I exercised. I like Pilates. I like how calm and relaxed it makes me feel. I like how lithe and limber I feel when I’m done. I like how the Wii games make me compete against myself and try to improve my score. Even still, I would not call myself an exercise lover. I have several friends who are very athletic and really enjoy breaking a sweat and pushing themselves to run farther, push harder. I? I am not those people. I’ve had folks promise me that if I’d get in a habit of running, I’d fall in love with it. I tried. I ran daily for about a month and I never, ever (not even once) felt invigorated by it. I had people tell me that P90X is the way to go, but after having 4 children…well, doing jumping jacks isn’t really in my best interest. I’ve tried stationary bike, row machine, tread mill, tae bo, and zumba (to name a few). Those things were all great, but they weren’t for me. I didn’t enjoy them and (I know myself) I wouldn’t keep up with it if I didn’t love it. My point is this: Don’t do what worked for your friend; find out what works for you! And then actually do it. Put it on your to do list. Pencil it into your daily schedule. Have a friend call and pester you until you’ve gotten it done. Whatever it takes.
- “One less”. This was my big life-changing plan, my motto. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it worked (for me). Whenever I was eating, I’d take one less bite than I wanted. (That meant eating more slowly and listening to my body.) During the day, I’d gotten accustomed to eating morning and afternoon snacks with the children, but with this new plan of mine I had to be more selective about which snack I wanted. Want dessert? Sure, go ahead and eat it, but eat one less bite than you really want AND make sure you eat one less high-calorie/fatty food at dinner to balance it out a little. Honestly, all my ‘plan’ did was force me to pay attention to my own hunger cues. It made me more aware of my choices and the effect they have on my body.
During my break (which has been really more of a maintenance-type phase), I’ve slacked off a little on all of these. There are weeks that go by and I haven’t exercised at all. And some days I make it to lunch and realize I haven’t had a sip of water yet. And, yep, there are times when I eat until I’m stuffed (see also: Sunday lunch). But the difference in today and one year ago today is that I recognize that I’m doing it and I know how to change it.
The children and I went on a hike early in the week, and a another short one the next day. I drank enough water yesterday to kill a horse! (With the temperatures rising, that’s probably a good habit to keep up!) And today my snack count was zero. I enjoyed the hiatus from my plan, but I’m finding that I am really enjoying getting back into it. Twenty more pounds before my next break. On your mark. Get set. Go.
Bridget Ivey is a photographer, mother to 4 amazing children, and wife to a Pediatrician (who sometimes gets paid in potatos). She lives in a small Southern town and you can read about her family’s adventures on her blog Ivey League Mama. You can also find Bridget on Twitter @IveyLeagueMama and sharing her awesome photos on Instagram @IveyLeagueMama. Go, find her, you will love her!
I’ve had a rough week…and I’m tired of that being my status update. So, I’m back on starting today! Seriously. Stop laughing.
- Weight…I didn’t weigh in this week. I am beyond frustrated with myself without seeing the number on the scale, so I gave myself a pass this week.
- Inches…See above.
- Everything was a challenge this week. I mean, I allowed everything to be a challenge this week. And I started my period, so there’s that.
So, how did you all do this week?
Past Posts on my fitness Journey…
- Week 12 & Finding Fitness Balance
- Week 11 & Getting Fit In Your 40s
- Week 10 & Tips for Staying on The Wagon
- Week Nine & Living With Extreme Food Allergies
- Week Eight & Run Over By The Wagon
- Week Seven & Greta Goes Gluten Free
- Week Six & Kim Borchert Inspires
- Week Five
- Week Four
- Week Three
- Week Two
- Week One
- I’m Fat, But That’s Changing