Monday, August 31, 2009

Finding Myself

"Once you see how strong you are physically, it's gonna trascend into every other facet of your life" -Jillian Michaels.
I was never really one who had a lot of confidence or ever really felt good about myself. I wasn't outgoing, I tried to avoid drawing any attention to myself. I walked with my head down, well you get the picture, I am sure. I didn't know who I was. I wasn't comfortable.But I did know, somewhere inside me was a confident, happy girl, totally at peace with herself. I just didn't know how to find her. I was sad, I started doing things that were self-destructive, looking for attention in the wrong places. I didn't care about myself or have much self-respect, so I let others treat me that way. I look back on that now, and breathe a sigh of relief that I got myself out of that place. I learned that only I could make that choice. I started to look for other ways to get rid of frustration and stress, so I decided to start running, I'd never really tried it or liked it much when I did. I started out small, running around the block once and then it increased slowly. My dad had a treadmill, and I started to like that better because I could pace myself, and know exactly how far I had run. I started getting more confident and feeling better about myself. I think that running and learning to be self-disciplined, helped me to want to eat better and take better care of myself. Since running was working well, I decided to start trying some different diets. I tried a lot of them. I tried "Body for Life" and although it was definately a good starting point, with good healthy guidelines, it didn't work. I took Metabolife and Hydroxycut, those didn't work. All they did was make my stomach hurt, give me a headache and keep me up at night. I didn't really have a specific plan, or make the connection of why it wasn't working or what my real reasons were for doing it. I remember one summer, trying this "one day diet", where every other day, all you ate was fruit and took these things called "sun crystals tabs." It was ridiculous. I was absolutely miserable and wasn't seeing any results. I taught kindergarten for three years, and was still able to keep up some on the running, but not as much as I had been because I was so busy and tired all of the time.Then, during my pregnancy, I got gallstones, which kept me from exercising, and I had to stick to a specific diet to avoid attacks. So, my diet was very strict, not to mention bland. I guess in turn, it was a blessing, because I didn't gain as much baby weight. After I had my baby, we moved to Boston for my husband to attend law school. He got accepted to the night program there. Being in a new place, and not having friends or family closeby, I was at a loss as to what I was going to do. My husband got a job during the day doing paralegal work and went to school at night. So, I started going to the fitness center in our complex every day for an hour, trying to get back into exercising because I knew that was something I'd enjoy. I would take my baby with me, and lay her down on a blanket on the floor. As she got older, I brought toys and she would sit on the blanket and play. Before she woke up, I also started doing Jillian Michael's 30 day shred DVD, and alternated every other day with pilates.I exercised for a total of an hour and 20 minutes every day. For me, I always do better when I have a specific plan to follow. So,I decided to try counting calories. I started out with around 1200 per day, and had two of those meals be Special K, just to get used to this structure. It's great because you can go online and find out exactly how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, according to your height and activity level. Plus, it totally makes sense. You have to burn more calories than you consume. It didn't get any more specific than that. From there, I started finding different recipes to fit into my allowed calories for meals. I kept a daily food journal. I found fun,healthy recipes and slimmed down versions of my favorites. I learned, I could eat what I enjoyed in small amounts, and/or could have more options with healthier choices. It didn't have to be all or nothing. One evening my husband and I had our first date night in several months, and I was even able to include a Twix (my favorite candy bar) into my alloted calories for the day. At night, when my husband was gone, I'd look up recipes, and started putting together a binder of recipes, weight loss tips,and exercise routines. I'd get so wrapped up in that, I would forget about having an evening snack for comfort or just because I was bored. I printed out a calorie chart I found online to put in the binder to help me plan out my meals for the week. I really loved doing it, it was a challenge and it was fun. Then people I'd see in the fitness center or in my ward started saying, " you are just getting skinnier and skinnier." My clothes were getting loser. The whole time I had been doing this. I don't think I once even got on the scale. It became a passion of mine. So, one day I got on the scale, just for fun, and I had lost 25 pounds. It finally dawned on me, the reason nothing worked, is because I didn't enjoy what I was doing. So, therefore, I didn't have any reason to stick with it. I can remember my brother and sister-in-law coming to visit and her telling me how important it was to have something just for yourself, a hobby or a project to do outside of being a mom. I don't sew, I'm not really very crafty. This was it, my project, something just for me. I had finally found it. It was something I loved and weight loss, (yes, great too!) became secondary. I gained more confidence, I was happy and I was more myself than I had ever felt before. Running, learning that self disipline, was the starting point, and incorporating what I learned about good, overall nutrition, into what I enjoyed, brought it all together. Thinking about it now, takes me back to when I used to go with my mom to "He-Woman" aerobics. I was this little 4th grader,I wasn't trying to lose weight, it was just something I liked doing. I wore my cute purple leotard and just had fun. I think the ladies were impressed with my ability in aerobics routines! That was the connection-have fun with it and enjoy doing it, then all the reasons fall into place!
Some people I know have been getting into running marathons. Of course, I think that is a great thing. I started running almost 10 years ago, and I asked my husband if I should be running a marathon. He said, "no don't do it of you don't want to". I realized, that for me, a marathon would not be something I would enjoy. I know why people do it, and I understand the challenge of it, but that doesn't mean I need to do that. I just enjoy running, for myself. I think it would just stress me out to be in that situation. It isn't me, and that's ok. I mean, I could always change my opinion, but for now, doing what makes me happy is what is important.
So, my husband came up with the idea of starting this blog as a way for me to share my own accomplishments and successes. I know I'm not an expert, and I'm not always perfect at it, but I do know I've finally found something that works for me and that makes me happy! So, there you have it! I'm excited to start this blogging thing!