Day Two Hundred Fifty-Three…

I begin today’s post to pay homage to all women who play an important role in the lives of others. There are so many different kinds of relationships that make an impact and that is how we build a better world.  I also want to remember my mother, Fran. My siblings and I were blessed to have a strong, smart, beautiful mom who loved us without limits.  She was loved, and is missed mightily, and is kept in my heart and mind – she made me and my sister the women we are today and we learned how to be moms from the best.

I woke up this morning to read a heartwarming Twitter message that I wanted to share with you here. She said I could share it here and I am so grateful for this beautiful gesture of generosity:

Hi Jen, my name is… and you are so inspiring! I fell upon your weight loss blog post that had to do with signs – it was a sign that I came across it! Although I haven’t read all of your days, I was wondering if you have gone off the diet/messed up yet. If not, how have you been able to stay the course? If so, what helped you get back on? I basically gave up trying to lose weight last year until a month ago, when I realized it’s blocking me from dating and finding love. I have started working out again on my elliptical- have done it 6 times now for 40 minutes! I eat well until the weekend. I’m a single mom, teacher, and going to college to get my ESOL endorsement. Life gets busy fast and I get behind. Thank you for any advice you have. Well done on your progress!!! Bravo!!!

This is an accomplished woman who is taking on huge life goals. She is working, going to school pursuing a very challenging endorsement process, and raising a child. Yes, she is taking on a lot, so how can there be room to include weight loss to the mix? This is something she really wants, so why shouldn’t she have this too?

Words of Wisdom

Here is what I am coming to know, day 253 into my journey. I don’t view this as a diet and I realize that it is a matter of semantics but I believe words have immense power to shape my reality. The word diet has a negative connotation for me. It implies something temporary and it makes this endeavor into a yes/no scenario. I’ve done diets and failed. The thing is, I understand that I will always have to be intentional about food. So since it’s for the rest of my life this is a lifestyle change, weight loss is an extension of that choice.

I became crystal clear about my why. I have written so often about my why because it is such an important part of this process.  I want to feel like me again. I want my energy back, I don’t want to be physically older than my age. I want to be more confident in my own skin. How could I make this happen? I decided to look at myself as I would one of my students. I want to learn how to change my lifestyle yet boatloads of data show that this is a difficult change to make.  How could I do it? I decided to reflect on what my strengths were… I have always been a good student. So I took that same energy that I applied to schooling and focused it on learning how to create healthy changes. I set small goals that worked towards achieving the long-term goal. All of these little victories helped me to experience success. Success leads to success.

There have been difficult days. I am still working on discerning the difference between hunger and emotions. I have had to tweak how much I eat to feel satisfied, not full, satisfied. Some days I have eaten a little too much; some days I have not eaten quite enough. I’m still learning. I always have to weigh, measure, and track my food. My husband thinks it’s funny but I call myself a “food pharmacist” because I’m that precise.  This is my truth, my process – this is just what is working for me. I need to be on this if I am going to be successful it may not be true in the same way for someone else.

Words of Wisdom

I needed to build a robust community of others that would support me and who I could help support in return. This is why, for me, Weight Watchers was my best option.  I wanted to do this in a healthy safe way, and they have the research to back up their program. If you follow the plan you will definitely lose weight; however, it’s the internal thought process that makes long-lasting change. My internal voice is a kind and generous one. When I turn kindness inward I get a sense of love and acceptance and I need that because it takes a lot of effort to make this happen. I don’t want you to think that it’s always hard because there are peaks and valleys to this process. It’s just that it helps to be kind to yourself along the way.

So here are my top ten tips

  1. Don’t think of this as a diet it’s a lifestyle change
  2. Understand your why
  3. Use your strengths to define the journey
  4. Set small goals because they will bring you to your ultimate goal
  5. Monitor your hunger (external/internal)
  6. Weigh, measure and track your food.
  7. Get in activity that you enjoy
  8. Find a weight loss plan that is proven to be safe (it’s a good idea to get a physical)
  9. Find a community that will support you and that you can support
  10. Always be kind and generous to yourself

My last words are to those of you who have reached out through social media. Thank you for trusting me with your stories, and thank you for letting me share mine. The stories we write for ourselves matter because they have the potential to become our reality. Please stay in touch, because I as much as I want this for myself I want it for you as well. Anyone who wants to change their lives for the better is a worthy cause and that is something I truly admire. More tomorrow…

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