I hadn’t planned on writing a weight loss post, at least not now. I wanted to wait until I lost 50 pounds, then I’d share a fabulous list of tips I used to get there. I’m down 40+ pounds since last spring. I’m SUPER passionate about this topic, because never in a million years did I ever think I could be writing this story, in this frame of mind.
I’m going to get to my list of tips to lose weight and chill, but first I have to get this off my chest…
Today I came across a video of a Melissa Harris-Perry, a news anchor, and her letter to Oprah about weight and dress size.
In case you haven’t heard, Oprah bought a stake in Weight Watchers and last week they launched a commercial with her speaking out about what it feels like to be overweight. I connected to her message, in fact, I’ve always felt connected to Oprah’s weight story because it mirrors mine. It mirrors a lot of ours. There is no amount of money, fame, talent, fear, humiliation, coaching, or friends in high places that can grant you practical eating habits.
It has to come from within. It has to come from our own brain making a decision every time we choose a bite of food to go into our body. It’s on a bite-by-bite basis!
Yes or no.
I’m one of those people who has made a lifetime of bad decisions in this area, and the consequences manifested on my body. There were two times when I lost a large amount of weight, but they were on horrible “diet” plans. I ended up gaining it all back and feeling deeper anger with myself.
When people ask, “How do you do it all, Kathy?” or like this anchor telling Oprah, “You have it all, people want to be you!” – I think a lot of people, when they have a big insecurity they can’t quite get a handle on, they may overcompensate with accomplishments, as if those extreme positives will balance out the negatives. I can’t speak on this for Oprah, but I can for myself. I can juggle a zillion jobs while writing a book and raising kids and cooking dinner, but ask me to go do a lap around the park, and laserbeams will shoot out of my eyes straight to your face.
I spent two decades accepting my size, and not giving it (or what I ate) a second thought. Refused. Even at the doctor, being 100+ overweight, I had perfect blood pressure, no issues at all. I took that as another reason not to worry about my health. It didn’t phase me getting fat-shamed, or made fun of. I expected it and ignored it. I felt that made me confident in my own skin, and it kinda did. But really, I blocked it out because I felt like there was no hope, so why get upset, it is what it is. I just couldn’t handle the thought of having one more thing to be accountable for, especially one that I had always failed at. Life went on and I even made light of it all the time.
Inside my heart though, I knew.
There is a part in the Oprah video where she says, “Inside every overweight woman, is a woman she knows she can be.” This is the part the news anchor criticizes.
She doesn’t get it, but I GET IT!
Oprah isn’t talking about having to be better, or achieve more, or fit in a certain dress size, or become skinny to be successful or to be your true self. I think what Oprah means by “Inside every overweight woman, is a woman she knows she can be” means:
You feel great that you can take the stairs without sweating or thinking you are going to have a heart attack.
You can plop down on a chair without worrying how sturdy the legs are.
You slide right into the booth at the restaurant without having to scoot the table forward.
You can walk right through the turnstiles at Disneyland rides without doing the sign of the cross. And being humiliated if you don’t fit, and having to make an exit.
You can pull up your foot on your lap at ease to remove a splinter!
You can sit in a plane seat without having to ask for an extender.
You don’t have to feel like you are living life always wearing the weight of a heavy, wet overcoat.
There are so many more, I don’t wish them on anyone, they suck! These are things that only losing weight can fix. And they seem like little dumb things, but they add up to stress on the brain and mess with your head. Sure, it’s easy to say, “I don’t care that’s how I am. Deal.” That’s what I used to say. But now that I’ve crossed off some of these items, life is so much easier. I feel like I can stretch my arms out again, I go to bed happy because I know I made a conscious effort.
Seriously, if I were a billionaire like Oprah and I struggled with my weight all my life, and found a program that worked for me, I would gladly invest and share it to help others too. I’m sure there are lots of other businesses she could invest into to get a huge return, but I like that she chose something that can help people see some light at the back of the fridge. I’m not a crazy obsessed Oprah fan, I’m just a big girl who appreciates others who are going through the struggle trying to do right. And I’d rather someone like Oprah (who truly knows the struggle is real) represent than some of the other celebs out there. That’s just my crafty chica perspective on that video.
But it prompted me to share my story today with all of you.
Can I get a holla if you can relate? Last year at this time, I would not even given this topic a second of my thoughts. I was that closed off. But I did carry around that “Inside every overweight woman, is a woman she knows she can be.” I wouldn’t admit it to anyone, not even myself, but I knew I was shorting myself a better life experience.
Then I had that moment. I call it my Maya Angelou “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” moment.
I was a hosting an event on a stage in front of 1,000+ people. I bought comfy heels to wear on stage, to look nice. They fit at the store, but once I put them to walk, my weight was too heavy for the heels. This was in the big banquet hall, minutes before the event started. I had to quickly change back into my comfy sandals. At a time when I should have been most proud, I wanted to cry. I put my new shoes in a bag and abandoned them under one of the tables. Then I worried about taking the stage. It was high, and there was a skinny series of steps to climb. No hand rails. I couldn’t even see my feet over my stomach to see each step. I had to have someone hold my hand.
Then, a week later – the pictures were released.
I gulped when I saw it. So bloated. I broke down crying because I knew inside of that lady in that picture…someone in there…was woman she was meant to be. Yes, I felt beautiful and happy and shiny for being on stage, but because of the physical limitations that my weight put upon me, I missed out on other activities with the group. I GOT TIRED OF IT. Once and for all.
Planted in front of my computer, eating a bag of Ruffles, crying, still eating the Ruffles, thinking I was too-far gone, this is my life, I did this to myself, I suck, not knowing what to do, or where to start…I joined Weight Watchers.
Here’s how I made that decision (you are going to laugh or groan):
I’m too chicken for weight loss surgery.
I didn’t want to buy prepackaged foods.
I didn’t want to do juicing or cleanses or fasts.
I didn’t want to exercise (I know, I know!).
I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
I didn’t have time for meetings.
And…the commercial came on TV at the exact moment this all went down.
Tall order! So I joined, I went online and signed up. At first I spent $50 a month on the mobile app and a weekly phone coach. No meetings. My coach helped me recognize my habits and gave me ideas to change them. She gave me three assignments each week. I love assignments! These days I lowered it down to $20 a month for the mobile app and web site. To me, it’s worth it!
This is me now, so far!
But I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to join a fancy program or even join the gym. What I’ve learned is to adapt what I do for my business to my eating habits.
And what helps is this quote I read on the Weight Watchers site: “Losing weight is hard. Being overweight is hard. Choose your hard.” Yup, that did it for me, both are a challenge, might as well take the one with the benefits. Now, I’m not an official doctor or nutritionist, I’m just sharing what has been working for me.
This how I’ve learned to lose weight and chill:
Love where you are right now. Relax. Ditch the fear, self-hate, self-doubt – they are your enemies. CHILL. You can do this. Take it slow, one day at a time, meal-by-meal, bite-by-bite. And if you aren’t ready to make changes right now, that is totally fine. Love yourself. Have a healthy state-of-mind and enjoy each day, skip the guilt! You have to go into this with a good attitude. Partner up with your habits and become good friends, support each other. Look at it this way, you could always have more to lose than you do now. You are in a good place because you are going to take action from this day forward. The goal should be to make better eating choices. The rest will fall (off) in place. I don’t yearn to be skinny or a specific size, or wear sexy dresses, man, I just want to feel better physically!
Journal your intake. This is how I started. Log everything you eat and the time and situation. This is a good way to see your eating pattern. I logged everything for a week without changing any habits. Dang, once I reviewed at it all, I was like, “No wonder!” This will show if you are you eating when you’re bored or nervous, or you want a reward after a long work day. A LOT will be revealed, trust me.
Know that it is better to do it right, than to do it fast. I call it Chicano style – low and slow. Look at it like you are standing back looking at a big graph. It will have peaks and valleys, but as long as it goes in an overall downward motion, you are on track! Slowing it down will also allow you to enjoy more of your favorite foods. Less meltdowns, right?
Be purposeful. Make your food matter. It’s part of your life, give it respect and love. Like keeping your yarn stashed organized or following the directions on a recipe. In the long run, it will save you time and energy. Go for fresh whenever you can. Use your oven instead of the microwave.
Compromise. You don’t have to give up all things decadent, just cut back. Half the amount of sour cream. One less teaspoon of sugar in your coffee. Order your salad dressing on the side, only eat one piece of bread on that sandwich. Go for chicken over beef. Go for grilled over fried. Light mayo on your sandwich. Share the donut. Squeeze lemon or lime on food instead of salt. These little things add up!
Eat smarter. I learned that if I’m craving sweets, I can nibble on a pear or raspberries. I used to laugh at the thought, but once I really broke it down, I noticed how much sugary sweets made me sleepy. (Note: fruits and veggies are zero points on WW, so you can have as much as you want!). This has encouraged me to try new fruits and veggies I used to skip. I also do a lot of bagged salads, I always have a few of them in the fridge and liven them up with turkey pepperoni or grilled chicken. And I only use half the bag of dressing.
But still indulge! You gotta indulge now and then. I give myself one meal a week to indulge. It feels great and because I’m eating smarter the rest of the time, it doesn’t mess anything up. It makes me really appreciate that meal, and gives me something to look forward to. I don’t plan it, I let it happen organically. In order to keep going like this, I need to know I can have whatever I want, I just have to account for it.
Know your ‘why’. WHY do you want to lose weight? Make a list and look at it. Drill down to the core of your feelings. Go beyond the number on the scale, being a role model, getting a date, a dress size, or looking like your 20-year-old self. Be honest. Work up from that place to take action on treating yourself better, and your light will shine.
Be creative. If you read this blog, you know what being creative is all about. Once when I was craving pizza, I got my gooey cheesy slice and cut it up into three pieces. There are a lot of creative videos for making yummy treats! Like this banana ice cream treat!
Balance your meals. If I have a waffle or chorizo for breakfast, I know I’m eating salads for lunch and dinner. If I want to have steak at dinner, I’ll eat small for breakfast. Balance it out. Use a calorie counting app if you want to really go there! I’m happy with the WW mobile app.
Prepare for success. Invest in yourself and plan ahead. I have an HP printer that I set up to automatically print out a healthy shopping list for me every Wednesday. And it has meals to make too. Planning is everything, so helpful! Like, I know I get the munchies late at night. I keep a jar of peanut butter in the kitchen and I’ll put a chocolate chip and bite of the peanut butter and it works! You can look on Google for all kinds of sites with healthy recipes. The tools are there more than they ever have been before.
Drink a lot of water! All day, every day. Add lemon to give it flavor.
Avoid eating plans with end dates. This is what my doctor told me. You never want to DREAD eating healthy, life is not about that. “Monday, I’m starting my diet, ugh.” STOP. I know with me, as soon as a cleanse or time period is over, I binge! I’m very emotional when it comes to eating. I have to keep it happy and doable or I’ll crash and burn, cry, and scarf a loaf of French bread.
Make every meal an event. You want to be excited to eat! I used to rush my meals while I worked, or gobbled down dinner so I could get back in the studio. Use a pretty plate, fancy silverware, a nice placemat and savor every bite. Be the queen that you are!
Stay calm if your alter ego emerges. Hey, it happens. Let it out, let it happen, then get back on track at the next meal.
Move more. I hate exercise, I hated feeling like a loser by not doing anything physical. You know what I do now for exercise? I park really far away when I go to the store, so I can get in walking. I also make myself take the stairs, I take the long way all the time. I often clock in thousands of steps without even realizing it. I say yes when friends invite me to the gym. In other words, I incorporate it into everyday life. And I don’t freak out if I skip a day or two.
Rainbow eating. Strive to have different colors of food (fruits and veggies) on your plate for your meals. Not only is is pretty and artful to look at, but it represents range!
Again, journal everything. Keep track of what you eat each day! This is the only way to be honest with yourself and see where you can change your habits. Even if it is a voice memo in your phone. WRITE IT ALL DOWN.
Wow, this is the longest post ever! Didn’t I tell you I was passionate about this topic? I promise I won’t become one of those crazy people who post about weight loss all the time! But I will come back and post when I reach that 50-pound mark. It will be a milestone I haven’t reached since I was 20-years-old!
And I still love my Chubby Girl Delight recipes, I just have to adjust them to be smaller portions, lol! Maybe i’ll starting doing Healthy Girl Delights…
Anyway, guys, thanks for reading through this!