Former co-worker and fellow weight-loser Debbie Meyers introduced me to Misty, a Michigan-based journalist and blogger who’s dropped 100 pounds this year.
Since then I’ve returned to Misty’s Facebook blog several times to get a dose of her energy and enthusiasm. Case in point: She found time to answer these questions even as she was getting ready to depart on a potentially stressful trip to visit family in Kentucky.
Q. Why do you think you’re successful this time after struggling during past attempts?
A. It must be noted that “past attempts” to lose weight go back to my pre-teens. So, I’ve been training for this my entire life. Babe Ruth had 1,330 career strikeouts. Thomas Edison was said to have many failed attempts in creating the light bulb. His reported response? “I haven’t failed! I’ve simply discovered another way not to invent the light bulb!”
Those scenarios encompass how I feel about this journey. Simply, I’ve learned how to “fail” correctly. Some days, I fail miserably. But instead of letting those days turn into weeks or even months, I now know how to recover more quickly. I think that has been the key. That, and the fact that this time, I’m doing it for me. No other reason. It can sound very selfish and even ironic, but when I put myself first, everyone benefits.
Q. Do you follow a certain diet or are you just tracking calories or carbs or what?
A. I mainly eat lean meats, fruits and vegetables, mostly because I count calories, and those foods give me more nutritional bang for my buck. I use the LoseIt app on my iPhone to track my daily calorie allowance vs. calories burned.It’s a free app that customizes a plan for your height and weight, and determines how many calories you can eat per day to lose a maximum of 2 pounds per week.
It is so helpful because there are thousands of grocery and restaurant foods already programmed into it. It also takes into account your exercise and how that affects your daily calorie balance. If you don’t have an iPad or iPhone, you can still use the LoseIt service free at http://www.facebook.com/l/cAQGM5YFKAQH2VEBaT2y_OQYM4ISRMH_OfeUf6HQV-_TOZw/www.LoseIt.com.
Q. Do you ever feel deprived? If so, how do you handle that?
A. I guess I do feel deprived at times. It’s hard knowing that my body metabolizes food in a way that is different from many people’s. Watching some folks eat anything they want without any worry about weight can be discouraging. But, I just have to tell myself that this is MY reality.
Feeling deprived is usually something that happens when you worry too much about what other people get to do. So, I focus on myself. I try to tell myself that my reward for discipline will be so much greater than food, which is a temporary indulgence. Roller coaster rides with my son, sliding into a restaurant booth with plenty of room, bending over to tie my shoes without struggle … I don’t take these things for granted.
Q. Do you find that your tastes are changing?
A. Sure. I gave up all pop, even diet, about 18 months ago. If I take a swig of my husband’s now, it’s not nearly as good as I remember. Rich foods are incredibly rich to me now. And vegetables are amazing. I go in waves with my sweet tooth. I can train myself not to crave anything sweet for weeks on end. But when I reintroduce it, I start wanting it again. I have to be careful with that. I also never thought I’d enjoy coffee without all the foo-foo stuff in it, but I take it black now. Same with unsweet tea. You can train your tastebuds, but it takes great discipline.
Q. How do you handle restaurants?
A. If it’s somewhere I’ve never been, I always try to research the menu online beforehand, or search in LoseIt to see what entrees, etc., are listed and determine the calorie count. I usually ask for no bread (not because I’m anti-carb, but because it’s just too many calories) and no butter on my vegetables, etc. When all else fails, I can usually find a grilled chicken salad at just about every restaurant. It’s my go-to. And I always get the dressing on the side and dip my fork into it first, then the salad. I would never believe that is enough dressing if I didn’t try it myself, but it is. You save tons of calories with that technique alone.
Q. Are you finding that you enjoy running or do you just tolerate for the calorie-burning effects?
A. I started running in February 2012 with the aid of the Couch-to-5K running app on my iPhone. I had been an athlete all through my childhood and high school, but I hated running. So this was a huge personal challenge. The C25K program is supposed to be nine weeks — it took me 18. But I would recommend it to anyone trying to get into running. It builds your endurance at a reasonable pace.
Do I enjoy it? Hmm. I don’t hate it. And I don’t even dread it like I have been known to dread other exercise in the past. But I sure do love when each run is over. That feeling is among the best feelings in the world.
Q. Future fitness goals?
A. I currently run 3.5-5.5 miles three to four times per week. While my legs and rear are pretty fantastic (well, for me), my arms and stomach have been horribly neglected. When you lose 100 pounds, there are many floppy bits. And, I still have 54 pounds to lose to hit my goal weight of 150.
So, the week after Labor Day, I plan to start the P90X workout program. It’s a rather intense regimen that will be a more full-body workout. It will be six days a week for six weeks. To get this all in and still work full time while not neglecting my husband and child, I’m hoping to switch to a morning before-work routine, which will be a challenge in itself. This way, I can also still run two times per week in the evenings. It took me so long to build up this endurance in running that I am scared to lose it. I’m hoping a couple of times per week will preserve my running legs and lungs.
Q. Any words of advice?
A. Don’t give up. Realize that neither you nor anyone else is perfect. You will have bad days. But don’t let those bad days multiply. Get right back to healthy as soon as possible after an indulgence. And realize that indulgences are OK from time to time — just not every day. You are worth the time and effort it takes to lose weight. Put you and your health first. You are the only one who can do this for yourself.