Friday, December 19, 2014


Just over a month ago, I wrote about my renewed determination to do something about my stacking-ring physique. If you're curious, you can read that post HERE. When I first shared my intentions here at the blog, I thought, "Hmmm, I'll check back in after a month with an update, to see how this new strategy is working."

Well, December 12 came and went, and I did not post an update. I was preoccupied with welcoming my brand new granddaughter into the world!

But now, a week late, here is the update:

Drum roll...

Over the course of five weeks, I've lost 9 pounds, and the stacking rings have shrunk by a combined total of three inches. Yep, I'm pretty psyched!

I want to let y'all in on a few secrets I've learned...

I did not radically change my diet, just opted for smaller portions. Yes, I ate Helen's brownies, and Grammy's cornbread dressing (those five weeks included Thanksgiving weekend), and fried fish and onion rings at Boyette's.

I had "good" days, when I stuck to my smaller-portions strategy. I had "bad" days, when I became a human locust and mowed through more food than a teenage boy.

In the MyFitnessPal food diary for one particular evening, I recorded the following snacks: a bowl of Lay's potato chips, a bowl of ice cream, an apple, a bowl of Cheerios, two pieces of Dove dark chocolate... This was in addition to the substantial dinner I had just consumed. (Must've been the day before I started my period, huh?)

I'm sharing this because I want to encourage others who, like me, are struggling with maintaining a healthy weight. Guess what I've learned over the past five weeks? I don't have to, in the strictest sense of the word, be always on a diet. I don't have to ban carbs or desserts or greasy french fries. I don't have to feel like a failure because I ate my body weight in fried chicken and mashed potatoes at the family reunion. I overindulged last night - so what? Today is a new day, and today I can make healthier choices. Seeing the results of a few days of healthy choices has motivated me to make those healthy choices more consistently. And knowing that chocolate chip cookies are not on the taboo list has kept them from becoming a type of irresistible forbidden fruit.

So, what about exercise? I try to work out at the fitness studio in Troy four or five days a week. This is not CrossFit, people - it's a class of mostly middle-aged women, who have knee problems and back problems and balance problems. If I'm correct, all but three of the group are grandmas. I've learned that I don't have to do a Ninja workout to notice a difference in how I feel - I just need to do something, even if it's low-intensity - every day, if possible.

In the past five weeks, we've been through the Thanksgiving holidays. I missed several days at the studio, but I managed to take walks on the farm most (not all) of those days. I missed over a week of exercise at Caroline's when the baby came, but, again, I did get out for a few short walks in the fresh air. (Mind you, I was walking with an extremely pregnant daughter, so they were not power walks!)

Again, the point is, I've learned that I don't have to do something impossibly difficult or intense, just something that gets me moving.

What else have I learned?

Well, I've learned to not be discouraged by what I see in the mirror. I've lost nine pounds, but I still have a jelly roll around my belly and the waistband on my jeans is still snug. It would be tempting to think, "What's the point? This isn't making a difference!" But Caroline explained to me that we lose weight from the top down. You notice it first in your face and neck. Then in your arms and chest. Then in your middle.

Yes, I may still be lacking a waist, but the Octo-boob is in retreat. (You know, all those "extra" boobs that hang out the top and sides and back of your bra.) My neck is thinner, and a bra with only two cups is finally sufficient - I call that progress, folks, and I am encouraged!

I have learned the value of having a wonderful support team. Helen is my number one cheerleader, and Caroline is running close second. Neither of them nag or reprove me for occasionally pigging out or skipping exercise, but both consistently encourage me and celebrate every success. "Great workout this morning, Mom!" is SO much more motivating than, "You know, you really shouldn't eat that."

I've also learned that this is a slow process. Nine pounds in five weeks - that's less than two pounds a week, folks. You know those magazines in the check-out line at Wal-Mart, with covers that promise you can lose 20 pounds before Christmas, which is next week? Ummm, I don't think that is really possible, at least not without amputating a significant body part.

If the number on the bathroom scale doesn't change this week or next, that's not failure - that's a plateau. And with patience and perseverance, you can move past the plateau. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

I have learned a little bit about the importance of being honest with myself. That day when I personally cleaned out the kitchen pantry (nom, nom, nom)? When I sat down to fill in my food diary on MyFitnessPal that evening, I fudged the data. Yep. Pretty ridiculous. Two butter cookies...hmmm...well, they were actually both pretty small, so I'll just enter one. No one was going to see that entry but me, and I knew better. I was flat out lying to myself. What the heck was that about? I thought, as I corrected the entry. I decided that evening, whether my new strategy worked or not, I needed to at least be honest with myself.

Finally, I've learned that some of the people I most expected to care about and notice the changes I've made - haven't. Haven't noticed. Haven't cared. And that's okay. They are not the ones who have to cram their booties into my size 14 jeans or who have to walk around on my stiff knees. I am. And I have noticed a positive difference in how I feel and how my jeans fit, and that's enough for me.

Christmas is less than a week away. That means parties and food and missed exercise classes and lots of celebrating. I'll check back in after the holidays and let you know how the "One Egg" fitness plan is going!

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