Ring the Bell! I’ve arrived. I can pat myself on the back and look at this 50-something woman in the mirror with a sense of accomplishment. Weeks of hard work, proper habit building, smarter food choices, and quality exercising habits have led me to reaching my goal weight and size-- 46 pounds gone!
So, What now? After all, this goal of mine was the ‘carrot on the end of the stick’ that was dangled in front of me for so long. This probably won’t come as a surprise, but it was much easier to push myself when I was working towards a goal than when I had already MET the goal. Fortunately, after reaching this first big milestone, I’ve found there are ways to stay in the realm of my goal weight, and, although a little slower, even lose a few more.
Overall, it’s by NOT growing complacent. I noticed that when I started fudging a bit too much (in more ways than one), taking too many days off from eating right, or simply getting in too few workouts, I just didn’t feel as well, but most importantly, I lost my edge. I found that when I ate refined sugar, my body craved it again a few hours later and energy levels were lower. And I had worked so hard to get rid of those sugar cravings.
Not to accept defeat, however, I got back on the ladder with passion and ambition. You, the reader, friends and family have been consistently encouraging. When I walk around Seaside, I am built up continually by those who tell me they’ve been inspired by this column. A friend I had not seen in a while that saw me at an event even stated, “My goodness, you’re tan and tiny!” That makes it all worth it!
So, now? I maintain my progress by doing a few simple things:
• Instead of thinking in terms of “before/after,” I think in terms of “before/now,” since I feel I am never truly done. I want to view my new situation as a “now” stage, not an “after” stage, which keeps me focused on one day at a time.
• When the numbers on the scale begin to rise, I go back to basics and challenge myself again. I make sure to review my food list and take a few days to be “pure” with it. I also try to increase exercise time by 10 to 20 minutes – either all at once or throughout my day. According to the American College of Sports medicine, exercise in 10-minute segments is just as effective as exercise for a full 30 minutes. With my demanding schedule, it is sometimes hard to fit in a block of exercise time. But I usually can find 10 minutes to move, dance, or jump around. Some days I simply take an extra walk on the beach. A little sunshine and fresh air combined with the walk can improve any mood!
• I don’t deprive myself. I simply sample two or three bites and I find that I’m satisfied. Studies show that the more deprived people feel, the more preoccupied they become with food. If I allow myself to have a few bites instead of depriving myself, I am less likely to eat more later.
• I continue my Raw & Juicy Green Goddess, my fresh salads from Modica Market, my freshly-caught seafood from The Shrimp Shack (Yum, Yum Royal Reds!) and Bud and Alley’s (my new favorite is the Mustard Glazed Salmon with Organic Spinach, Grilled Red Onion, and Cucumber/Dill Cream) and home-cooked veggies from Great Southern Cafe. My most recent fall favorite was created at Song airstream— the Apple and Fennel salad…one a day can’t hurt!
• I continue making progress in some area, such as trying a new physical activity. I don’t think it needs to be a big deal; it just needs to be enough to keep me moving forward consistently, improving and alleviating that stress. For me, improvement is addictive and I’ve found it works in my favor when it comes to living a healthier life. For example, I haven’t ridden a bike in quite some time. But I discovered that you never forget how! And, wow, what fun to ride around Seaside and view the town the way so many guests and locals do. Just challenging myself to do something different has made a world of difference in my self-esteem and simply the way I feel.
• I changed my attitude from “I want to lose more weight” to “I want to be healthy and age gracefully.” Instead of “I need to work out today,” it has become “I am going to try to pick up that weight that I couldn’t pick up last time.” Instead of “I hope I’ve lost weight,” it has become “I wonder if I can hold a plank for longer than 45 seconds.” Instead of “I’m eating this way to decrease my waistline,” it has become “I’m eating this way to help me stay focused at work and have the physical energy I need.”
• Other ideas to keep things exciting and keep us feeling good are to learn a new skill or sign up for a new challenge such as taking a vinyasana or boot camp class at Believe Studio, playing Petanque at the Petanque course next to Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar, or paddle boarding—all in Seaside. I am planning to take surfing lessons with Austin’s Surf School on the Seaside beach this coming spring. No matter what our age, it’s amazing how much further we can go, how much more confidence we develop, and how much happier we are when working toward that specific goal that coincides with learning something new.
• And I am continuing some of the basic things I’ve been doing all along such as not skipping meals, getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night, keeping healthy snacks on hand such as locally-grown apples or berries from the Seaside Farmers market and almonds/almond butter from Modica Market, and trying to remember to drink a lot of filtered or spring water. (I personally try to find PH balanced water.) Being consistent with these is the key. Though coffee is still a morning staple, I found I have been extremely satisfied without the coffee creamer and adding a little coconut oil (about half a teaspoon per cup) instead. I tried a little creamer one day when I purchased coffee and I truly did not like it. Woohoo!
By staying alert, I am maintaining balance, energy and a healthy weight. I am so thankful for the progress and you can do it, too.