The Best of Identity, going back from 2009
2009 has arrived, and with it has come my usual weight loss movement. It’s the same thing every year. I pack on the pounds during the holidays and I vow to drop them (and then some) come January 2. I hit the gym hardcore, I eat spinach salad with nothing on it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and after dropping five, maybe 10 pounds, I go right back to my old ways and gain them right back. But not this year, no ma’am! This year is different! My annual weight loss movement is no longer a four-month crash diet. In 2009 I am committing to a lifestyle change.
In my old(er) age (I know, I know…I’m not old, I’m only 29), I’ve come to realize the value of happiness in life, and the negative effect of deprivation. Year after year I make myself miserable for four months practically starving myself and slaving away at the gym just so I can drop the couple of pounds I gained over the holidays. I deprive myself of the foods I love most, I tire myself out from my excessive workouts, and I turn into a cranky, bitchy monster who wishes death on the skinny girl eating the donut. I become a slave to the almighty scale. This year I had an epiphany, though. I’m sick of depriving myself. I’m sick of being miserable. I’m sick of yo-yo dieting. So when 2009 hit, I did a little soul-searching to really figure out what will make me change my ways for the better and stick with it for my lifetime.
In my search, I discovered that I feel best when I feel healthy on the inside. I’m capable of making healthy food choices for myself, and working out at a comfortable level. When I manage to do this I am happier, healthier, and more confident, and that reflects in my outward appearance. I’m happy when I’m not worried about the number on the scale. Great! I figured out what works and what makes me happy. Now, the only thing standing in my way is motivation…or lack thereof. Problem.
With our busy lives, we all know how easy it is to give in to convenience foods and plop down on the couch at night with a bag of chips after a hard day’s work. I mean, who wants to prepare food or get small tasks done after a long day at the office? Certainly not me! Herein is where my problem lies. On any given day, I get up early, hit the gym for an hour, head to work for 8 hours, spend one hour or more in my car driving home, eat dinner and clean up, and proceed to plop down on the couch with a snack for several hours of mindless TV before I pack my gym bag and head off to bed. Something had to change about this routine. I was convinced it was making me fat.
So I made a promise to myself to commit to a healthier lifestyle. I am doing so many other things right! I work out in the morning, I pack my own healthy lunch every day, and I get plenty of sleep. I have to pat myself on the back for all that. So why not make this healthy lifestyle all encompassing? The first thing I wanted to change was my diet. It wasn’t balanced enough because I was eating the same foods every day. I hopped on the Internet and looked up some recipes that had more protein and fiber and less carbs and sugar. Surely adding variety to my diet will help me stick to it. Check.
Next to change was my workout. I was a runner. I’ve been running since I was in high school and that’s all I’ve been doing since then. Surely my body was so used to the same workout that it wasn’t responding to it anymore. So I committed to incorporating different exercises into my workout. Now I vary my gym workouts between the elliptical trainer, the treadmill, the stationary bike, and strength training. I even count housework on the weekends as a workout. Going up and down the stairs all day with laundry and lugging a vacuum cleaner around the house counts as a workout, too. Check.
And last but not least to change was my motivation. This was the key. No more sitting on the couch at night after dinner. I’ve begun to fill my evenings with comfortable tasks to keep me moderately active. I take my free time in the evenings as an opportunity to prepare the healthy recipes I looked up on the Internet. I clean up after dinner and straighten up the kitchen a little bit. I prepare my lunch and my husband’s lunch for the next day. I take care of my cat and spend some time playing with her. I pack my gym bag. And if I still have some free time after all of this, I take some time to myself. I do a crossword, or I pamper myself with an at-home manicure or a facial.
Thanks to all of these changes I’ve made in my lifestyle, I’m happier. I feel so healthy on the inside because I know how well I’m taking care of myself on a physical and emotional level. I’m making smarter and healthier food choices and I’m not torturing myself at the gym. I no longer deprive myself either. If I go out to dinner with my husband or my friends on the weekends, I order what I want to order and I don’t think about how bad it is or how much I’ll have to work out to burn it off. I simply enjoy my meal and the people I am with. I am not a slave to the number on the scale anymore, and it’s so liberating.