Thursday, October 1, 2009

Health: Weighing your options

I know I'm not the only one who has struggled with their weight, even if I feel that way at times. I have some friends and family that also battle it. Recently one of those friends and I were talking about options for weight loss. In particular she was asking me what I thought of Medifast and others like it. Not that I am a nutritionist or dietitian...heck, I'm not even certified to teach fitness classes yet:) But, I do have an that comes from personal experience.

I think that the plans that offer their own food do serve a purpose. I think they are a great way for someone who knows they have little to no self control, no idea of portion control, feel too busy to think through their food for the day, etc. I also think that it is an "easy" way to start on the road to health because you really don't have to put a lot of thought into it. You just order your meals, eat the recommended amount, and possibly work in a little exercise to start out. Typically, this is also a good way to start because you'll see results and be encouraged to keep going.

Now, for those that have more self-control, know portion size, know what healthy eating requires, and/or have a little more time to devote to meal preparation I would say there are better ways. I've always been a big fan of Weight Watchers and programs like them that require you to eat "real" food, don't put anything off limits per say, make you track your food, and give you group support/accountability. And ultimately, I think it is important for those that start with the ready made meal programs to switch over to something more realistic. If you are serious about health and fitness, and changing your life, you're going to have to learn to do it in the "real world".

I've tried a lot of things in the past....programs that fit into both categories above. I've yo-yoed in my life. This time, though, I'm determined to terminate the yo-yoing. So, with that in mind I've come to realize things that you might hear all the time, but are solid truths that are helping me to tackle this more effectively....

1. It is a process (like anything), and you can't put a time limit on it. You are making a change that you want to last a lifetime. It will not happen overnight, and if it did, it probably wouldn't stick.
2. You need to be in it for the right reasons. Yes, you can want to look different, fit into your "skinny" clothes, etc...but ultimately you need to do it for something that is more be healthy, to be your best self, etc.
3. Not only is it a process in terms of the amount of time that it may take, but changing your habits (eating and exercise) are often going to stay with you more if you do them gradually. Now, I realize that with some people sudden and drastic changes are often necessary due to severe health issues, and with that I say go for broke. But, for those that are not that at have to work things in and out of your day with ease. For example, if you start up with a rigorous fitness routine you may get injured, burn out quickly, or even be so sore that you just simply don't want to do it the next time and that leads to the next time, and the next time, and so on and so forth. All of sudden you're back to where you began. The same is true with dietary changes.

Having said that, I did lose a lot of weight about 6 years ago. I actually reached my goal weight on the day that I found out I was preggers with sweet eWe! Ugh! That time I did W.W., but didn't exercise at all until I lost most of the weight. I did begin to run and walk, but that was about it. It felt great to be skinny me, but it didn't last due to pregnancy and I certainly wasn't fit.

Of course, once I had eWe I thought I'd get back on track. I started to lose some of the weight, but when eWe was 6 months old, I found out I was preggers with Lil' C. Here we go again. And honestly, from there the yo-yoing stopped....and not for the better. Post delivery I was up to my eyeballs in having 2 so close in age (at least that was my excuse). I opted for unhealthy convenience foods, and rarely found time for any real exercise. I had bouts of times where I'd try to start W.W. back up again, start walking or going to the gym, but nothing stuck. I was to tired and it took too much of me. In hindsight, this would have been a good time for me to do the mail-order food deals....wish I had thought of that then. Alas!

Anyway, once I cleared the baby stage I thought I'd really get back on track (yea right!), but then my mom got sick and I kind of used food as a comfort (or at least it seems). And with her death I turned to food even more. I have a picture of me from that time that I will one day post as my certain of that!

So, here I am today. I set out on this journey last September about this time and want to blog a little about it as I reflect on it. I figured it could help others, but at the very least it will be a way for me to review where I am and evaluate where I want to go next. So, look for that to come...

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