What’s my secret?

As I reflect over the past year – I started my healthy living/lifestyle journey on November 19, 2008 – there are a couple of questions that stick in my mind that I am asked quite frequently, "So, what’s your secret?" and "What kind of diet are you on?" and "How did you do it?"

First off, I don’t have any secrets. As most of you who read this blog know, I am a tell-it-like-it-is kind of gal. I figured that if I am going to do this and if I am going to be successful, why not share it with the world. Why not talk about the struggles, the successes, the binges, the fears, the good and bad foods I eat, the issues that many, many women deal with on a regular basis? Heck, I am even share my weight on here, which is such a taboo for most women. When I started this journey, I weighed in at 190.2 pounds. Yesterday at my Weight Watchers meeting, I weighed in at 149.6 – a total weight loss of 40.6 pounds. I’m just a little proud of that. Really, truly, I am.

Second of all, and this is a biggie, I AM NOT ON A DIET. There is a no starting and stopping time frame. I simply am learning to eat regular foods. I am simply not on a diet of any kind. Period. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I don’t take any magic pills that are supposed to help control my appetite. I don’t buy prepackaged meals from some company. I don’t drink any shakes or what have you, in any type of containers – cans or bottles or cups. I eat real food. Real meals. I don’t eat special soups or salads designated to make me lose weight. I don’t follow a program of eating only this or that. I eat what I want. I am not restricted to no, low or high carbs or protein. Simply, I choose the foods I want to eat and in addition, I choose the amount or portion of the food I want to eat. Yes, most often, I choose healthier foods, but it is my choice. Yes, I am accountable for what I eat. Yes, I track everything I put in my mouth. Yes, I often weigh and measure out my foods. But the point is, it’s real food. It’s real life.

Thirdly and finally, how did I do it? Well, I will tell you in four simple words – determination, willpower, discipline and support. That is what it takes – plain and simple. There is no magic in any of this. It isn’t always easy. If fact, sometimes, it is down right hard and painful. But I like it. No, I am actually loving it.

When someone embarks on this journey, she or he has to have the willpower it takes to sometimes turn down a large piece of cake and only have a bite or half a piece of whatever it is they want so badly. You have to have the determination or drive it takes to make changes – lifestyle changes, food changes, permanent changes – not month-long or several weeks-long changes, LIFE-LONG changes (along with this you need the willingness to make changes). You have to have the discipline it takes to keep going and not give up because it is sometimes just too darn hard. And of course, you need the support. I am truly blessed to have support from my husband and my son and for the most part, everyone else around me. But there are also a few who like to sabotage me! But that’s life and you have to learn to deal with it.

For me, I was tired of being chubby. I was tired of not liking what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of not having any self esteem or self confidence. I was tired of looking at pictures and of seeing the person who was staring back at me. I didn’t like her. This time, I was more determined than ever to lose weight and to keep it off and to learn how to maintain it in a real world where there is ice cream and chips and restaurants and holidays and parties and girls night outs and wine and family gatherings and so much more.

As for willpower, I have it. Most of the time. I will admit, and as you have seen written here, I don’t have it all the time. But I sure the heck have more than I ever have in my life. If I fall off my healthy lifestyle horse, I jump right back on and pick up where I left off. I haven’t given up. I won’t give up. I am disciplined most of the time and I was willing to make the changes needed to live a healthier lifestyle.

I am thankful for the past year and I am thankful for the support from my family and friends. I am thankful for this blog and I am thankful for my readers. I am thankful that I am no longer on blood pressure pills and am I thankful that I have finally incorporated exercise into my healthy living lifestyle. I am thankful for Cold Stone Creamery and the fact that it is an hour away from me. I am thankful for the friends I have met at my Weight Watchers meetings. I am thankful for green beans and carrots and sweet potatoes and yogurt and chocolate and brown rice and fat-free feta cheese and all types of olives and pears and apples and blackberries and pasta and so much more. I am thankful for smaller clothes. And I am thankful for smaller portions of pork, chicken, steak and even turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Don’t gobble, gobble, gobble or you might just wobble, wobble, wobble.

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