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What I’ve Been Doing Differently

by Meghann on January 16, 2012

Back in October I wrote about how unhappy I was with a recent weight gain I had experienced. My pants were tighter, the scale was up, and I just wasn’t a fan of how I felt about it.

This could have gone one or two ways. I could have kept doing what I was doing – letting my pants get tighter and tighter, and feeling sorry for myself along the way – OR I could do something about it. I could re-evaluate my diet, see where I was lacking in the exercise department, and make a few changes that would leave me feeling better about my body and myself.

I went with option #2. I’m a big believer that if you’re unhappy about something, then DO something about it.

First things first, i bought new pants!

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No sense being uncomfortable in jeans that no longer fit. I bought a size larger and could not have been happier with my new purchase. Not only did they feel better, but they LOOKED better too. It’s crazy how much of a difference slightly larger well-fitting jeans make over smaller, not-so-well fitting jeans. Yes, I could technically still fit in the smaller jeans, but they weren’t doing me any favors.

Next, I made some changes in my diet. No fad ‘diets’ here, just back to the basics.

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My hunger was out. of. control. while I was training for my half ironman and, well, I was training for a half ironman – I could eat anything I wanted, right? Wrong! Yes, I was burning calories, but not enough to justify those 2-3 times a week trips to self-serve frozen yogurt.

I was surviving on carbs during half ironman training. Empty carbs that tasted so good at the time, but weren’t helping with all the uncontrollable hunger I was experiencing. I had to get back to basics with real food and portion control.

Greek yogurt became a new staple in the morning and a higher protein count at breakfast became a focus instead of an after thought. I still enjoyed my big bowls of cereal, but only once a week. I traded my afternoon granola bars in for handfuls of nuts or fresh veggies and hummus. My extra-large dinners were brought down in size as I consumed my bulkier meals for breakfast, lunch, and my snack. My meals were full of vegetables again.

Eating at home became a priority. Derek and I limited our meals out to once or twice a week and when we did eat out I stuck with as real food as I could and cut back on the french fries I had made a habit of ordering regularly again. Fresh steamed veggies, side salads, and a lean protein were what I was after.

Dessert, oh dessert!, was not forgotten, but definitely brought in. Smaller portions were still enjoyed nightly and (sadly) self-serve yogurt has once again become a everyone-once-in-a-blue-moon treat instead of a weekly requirement (this was a biggie).

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And then there was the exercise.

As crazy as it sounds, I felt like I immediately dropped 5 pounds as soon as my half ironman was over. It was like my body was hanging on to all of the extra weight just to see me through that race. As soon as I cut back on cycling and swimming and re-shifted my main focus back to just running and weight lifting, it was as if the weight melted off. My out-of-control hunger stopped when I cut back as well. I’m sure that helped.

I started the New Rules of Lifting for Women program back in May and followed the program through my half ironman training, but it wasn’t until after my race that I saw the most dramatic results. It’s debatable whether that shift has more to do with diet changes (see above) or the plan itself, but when I was able to just focus on weights – and not worry about being sore for training – I began to feel more confident in the weight room and really push myself. You can see a break down of my results here.

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The little things really added up.

When I worked in an office I would take the three stories of stairs to get to my office every day, sometimes two to three times a day. I also lived in a second story apartment and was constantly taking those stairs up and down to take Maddie out, check the mail, take out the trash, etc. Up and down. Up and down.

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When I moved – and started working from home – i missed out on a lot of the little things. I would stay seated at my kitchen table and not move for hours at a time. Maddie would only get a quick walk to the mailbox and back and living in an attached home, meant there were no stairs to go up and down. Derek would come home from work and all I would want to to do would be to snuggle with him on the couch and not move an inch.

I wanted to re-introduce some of the little things back in my life. I couldn’t come up with stairs to go up and down, but I could extend Maddie’s walks. Instead of taking her halfway down the street to the mailbox, I started making a full 1/2 mile circle around the block. Walking that 1/2 mile circle three times a day added an extra 1.5 miles of movement to my daily routine. Maddie also got some extra play time and nightly dance parties in the kitchen while making dinner became the norm.

Those weren’t the only little things. Upping my water intake, finally establishing a routine of remembering to take my daily vitamins, and saying no to ‘free food’ (aka free samples) at the grocery store were little changes that added up.

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Here we are in January and the one-size-larger pants I bought back in October are now one size too big. The jeans that were growing tighter and tighter? Now fit just fine. On Friday night I wore an old pair of pants I hadn’t been able to wear in a year and felt great in them. I didn’t even need to unbutton them after our great meal was over!

This wasn’t a huge weight loss, there were no crazy inches lost and I wouldn’t consider myself overweight before or super tiny now, this was just me realizing my pants were getting tighter and wanting to make a change before it got too late. :)

If you’re unhappy with something, then DO something about it. Don’t sit back and hope everything works itself out. Take control and GO!

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