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The Woman in the Mirror One Year Later

Posted on Jul 01, 2016 in Aging Gracefully , Eating and exercising , July–August 2016

Eating clean and exercising in between pay off big time By Lori Leath Smith

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. –Albert Einstein

It has been more than a year since the first time I looked at myself differently in the mirror and determined that I wasn’t going to settle for less anymore in terms of being healthy. I realized at the time that repeating the same behavior that I had all those years and expecting different results on the scale was insanity and that I needed to shake it up and come at it from a new perspective. So I DID change things and I DID expect different results. That was for the initial goal of losing weight.

It was early March 2015. When that more-than-40 lbs.-heavier, 50-something-year-old woman was looking back at me in the mirror, I decided it was time to make a change. (See May/June 2015, The Seaside Times, In order to hold myself accountable to my desire to get healthy, fit and lose weight, as well as try to influence others, I went public with my goals. I have written about the changes I made extensively in subsequent issues of The Seaside Times.

The most important step in my plan was first to set a specific goal. Once I had decided I wanted to lose weight and become more fit, following the plan really was less effort than you would imagine. I knew where I wanted to go and, with the help and support of several Seaside merchants, friends and family, I learned all kinds of things that helped me get there. I also wanted it badly enough to follow through.

By July 2015, I had lost roughly 40 pounds and looked better, felt lighter both physically and mentally, and simply enjoyed the results of setting my mind to reaching a goal, while also, hopefully, inspiring others on this challenging journey.

One of the questions I now receive is, “Have I kept the weight off?” The answer is YES, mostly. But one day recently, my pants felt a little more snug than usual (more so than the past year) and the scale had risen roughly six pounds. Yikes! “I have just been too diligent to allow this to happen,” I told myself.

But, if I have to be honest with myself and with readers, after a year since my weight loss triumph, I’ve let my guard down a little, realizing I haven’t being as consistent as I once was. I’m sure many of you can identify with me if you’ve ever lost weight and worked to keep it off. And even though my routine has not changed drastically since I started, I realized I’ve slackened up a bit. Instead of a small bite of birthday cake when celebrating, I have had a little more, thinking it wouldn’t hurt. A couple of old habits are trying their best to reemerge. And, there are those unexpected life happenings that can interrupt exercise schedules, holidays and my new lifestyle. Even though there are times when you should give yourself a little leeway, adding a little here and a little there will also add to the waistline. Isolated times of “leeway” doesn’t mean forever, consistently.

Let’s face it — lifestyle changes are not always easy. And, since I’m five decades into my life, I’m learning that ALL the new lifestyle changes — from large to small — are not going to simply happen continually forever without my attention to them. Though some are ingrained into my being since being stringent with the initial plan, others I’m still working on.

So, what am I doing about it? I’m back in the game, ready to get ‘er done! I’m re-establishing the principles I began, repeating my initial behavior, and my body is already adjusting again to lose these few pounds.

Beachfit Studio’s fitness program, Raw & Juicy’s Green Goddess smoothie, the Seaside Farmers Market, Bud & Alley’s salmon entrée, the Shrimp Shack’s Royal Reds, Modica Market’s salads, and Beach Ready Spa’s de-stressing to the rescue — just a few of my favorites that have supported my weight loss! To expect the same thing in maintaining my weight, I must be purely consistent with those primary factors that allowed me to soar in the first place — eating clean, getting enough sleep, de-stressing and moving my body.

All in all during the past year, I have learned so much about myself, about weight loss, and about being healthy. The greatest lesson is there’s no pill, potion or plan that trumps motivation, support, diligence and perseverance. There are no quick fixes or overnight results. If you are committed daily — you can change your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

And, the best part? Receiving the comments about how much younger I look, the energy I exude and even how youthful and glowing my skin looks. Isn’t that worth it?

Benefits from weight loss this past year:

• I can fit into skinny jeans again. And look good in them, too!

• I can do pushups, and planks are my friend! They literally work muscles that you didn’t realize you had.

• My self-confidence and mental alertness are heightened.

• I took on a new challenge: I completed the Seaside Half Marathon! I am not a runner and it was the first time ever. (See The Seaside Times, March/April 2016,

• I gained self-control with food choices and quantity. I don’t overeat anymore, because I realize how miserable I feel if I do.

• I look better, have more energy, and am healthier!

What’s worked for me in keeping the weight off?

My new motto: Eat Clean —

Exercise In Between!

• I maintain consistency in eating the healthiest foods I can obtain every 2-3 hours to keep my metabolism active. Most days I use fresh veggies I purchased from the Seaside Farmers Market or Modica Market and create a work-of-art salad for lunch. My boss once said when she walked into our workplace kitchen, “You’re always cutting up something for lunch!” I laughed, but it’s true. I use apple cider vinegar and just a little vinaigrette dressing or lemon juice for flavor. It gets easier and easier to plan once you’ve done it ongoing.

• Eating less, waiting a few minutes for my food to digest before I went for second helpings, I became more aware of how much I was eating. When I could feel my stomach expanding, I’d stop eating. If I overate, I was miserable. Normally, if I wait a few minutes, I realize I’m not hungry at all once my food has settled.

• Eating whatever for dinner, but trying to get it in before 7 p.m. I focus on fewer carbs, and more lean or organic meat and veggies at night.

• Keeping almonds on hand in my desk or purse. I also eat an apple most days around 3 p.m.

• Drinking a lot of water. Though a continual challenge to get in enough, I definitely drink more than I used to.

• Consistently working out, 4-5 days a week for 30 minutes, whether working out in the weight room, doing yoga at BeachFit Studio in Seaside, walking a couple of miles along the beach or throwing the Frisbee on the Seaside lawn, trying to go longer than 2-3 days without exercising. My body literally lets me know now when it’s time to get moving! I can feel it. Just move!

• For long-term maintenance, making non-scale goals: Being able to wake up renewed each morning. Feeling more vibrant and energetic. Sleeping more soundly. Being able to comfortably fit into a pair of jeans. Looking good in a fitted shirt. Not having a bloated belly. Losing that double chin. Enjoying healthy nails. Exuding more stamina. Becoming stronger. Experiencing glowing and more youthful complexion. Watching muscles become firmer.

• Weighing myself occasionally just to keep in check. If the number has risen any, then I become extra cautious for a while until it decreases.

• Adding natural, nutritional supplements to my diet. I’ve learned that when my body is hungry, it lacks nutrients. Dr. Frank Lipman says, “The body will register a lack of nutrients as hunger no matter how much food is eaten.” I researched this and I’ve learned that there are many experts who feel that a lack of trace nutrients is a major reason for the American overeating and obesity epidemic.

• Using “tricks of the trade” such as coconut oil in my coffee each morning as opposed to cream or sugar, toting almonds for snacks, eating an apple in the afternoons, and using apple cider vinegar on my salads.

• Remembering why I want to be as healthy as possible. I’m doing this for myself. When I realized that I wanted to be healthier and I also wanted to look exceptional in my new, smaller size little black dress, it made a world of difference. c